Life-Study of Lukeby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Chapter fourteen of the Gospel of Luke begins with another incident that took place on the Sabbath. Verse 1 says, “And it came about, as He went into the house of one of the leaders of the Pharisees on a Sabbath to eat bread, that they were watching Him closely.” They were watching the Lord closely with an evil intention to accuse Him (Mark 3:2).
“And behold, a certain man suffering from dropsy was before Him.” Dropsy is a disease that causes the body to swell up because of fluid forming in the cavities and tissues. This may signify an inner abnormal function of life that causes spiritual death before God.
We do not know whether the man with dropsy came into the house on his own or if he was asked by the Pharisees to be there as a temptation to the Lord. In any case, it was sovereign of the Lord that this man was present. Those in the Pharisee’s house were watching to see what the Lord would do. He asked the lawyers and the Pharisees, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath, or not?” (v. 3). Then He took hold of the man suffering from dropsy, cured him, and sent him away (v. 4). Following this He said to them, “Which of you having a donkey or an ox that shall fall into a well, will not immediately pull it out on the Sabbath day? And they were not able to reply to these things” (vv. 5-6). In healing this man the Man-Savior once again broke the deformed sabbatical regulations.
In 14:1-6 we see that a Pharisee invited the Lord Jesus to eat in his home, and the Lord accepted this invitation. It is possible that the disciples may have received a wrong impression from this. They may have thought that the sabbatical regulations were right and that the religion of keeping the Sabbath was also right. Therefore, on this occasion the Lord took the opportunity to break the sabbatical regulations, that is, to break the Sabbath-keeping religion, in order to impress the disciples that He was going to Jerusalem, not to keep the religion there but to terminate it. This is the reason that chapter fourteen begins with a section concerning the breaking of religious regulations. The Lord did this purposely in order to show His disciples that He was not going to Jerusalem for the sake of the Sabbath-keeping religion.
While the Lord Jesus was in the house of the Pharisee, He observed the situation among the Pharisees and lawyers. “He noticed how they were choosing the places of honor” (v. 7), exalting themselves even in the matter of seating. Therefore, He told them a parable about not reclining in a place of honor when invited by anyone to a marriage feast, but instead sitting down in the last place (vv. 8-10). The Lord pointed out that if we take the place of honor, the one who invited us may come and say, “Give this one that place, and then you will begin with shame to occupy the last place” (v. 9). The Lord went on to say that if we sit in the last place, the one who invited us will say, “Friend, come up higher,” and then we shall have glory before all those reclining at the table with us (v. 10). The Lord concludes this parable by saying, “Because everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled, and he who humbles himself shall be exalted” (v. 11). The Lord’s teaching here is like that of a parent teaching his children how to behave.
In verses 12 through 14 the Lord said to the one who had invited Him, “When you make a meal or a dinner, do not call your friends, nor your brothers, nor your relatives, nor your rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return, and it becomes a repayment to you. But when you give a reception, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they do not have anything with which to repay you; for it will be repaid to you in the resurrection of the righteous.” Those mentioned in verse 13—the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind—are the people whom God invited to His salvation (v. 21). The resurrection of the righteous spoken of in verse 14 is the resurrection of life (John 5:29; Rev. 20:4-6), when God will reward the saints (Rev. 11:18) at the Lord’s return (1 Cor. 4:5).
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