Healing Again on the Sabbath
1 Now one Sabbath when Jesus went to dine at the house of a leader of the Pharisees, they were watching him closely. 2 There right in front of him was a man suffering from dropsy. 3 So Jesus asked the experts in religious law and the Pharisees, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath or not?” 4 But they remained silent. So Jesus took hold of the man, healed him, and sent him away. 5 Then he said to them, “Which of you, if you have a son or an ox that has fallen into a well on a Sabbath day, will not immediately pull him out?” 6 But they could not reply to this.
On Seeking Seats of Honour
7 Then when Jesus noticed how the guests chose the places of honour, he told them a parable. He said to them, 8 “When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honour, because a person more distinguished than you may have been invited by your host. 9 So the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, ‘Give this man your place.’ Then, ashamed, you will begin to move to the least important place. 10 But when you are invited, go and take the least important place, so that when your host approaches he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up here to a better place.’ Then you will be honoured in the presence of all who share the meal with you. 11 For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
12 He said also to the man who had invited him, “When you host a dinner or a banquet, don’t invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbours so you can be invited by them in return and get repaid. 13 But when you host an elaborate meal, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. 14 Then you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you, for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”
The Parable of the Great Banquet
15 When one of those at the meal with Jesus heard this, he said to him, “Blessed is everyone who will feast in the kingdom of God!” 16 But Jesus said to him, “A man once gave a great banquet and invited many guests. 17 At the time for the banquet he sent his slave to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, because everything is now ready.’ 18 But one after another they all began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it. Please excuse me.’ 19 Another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going out to examine them. Please excuse me.’ 20 Another said, ‘I just got married, and I cannot come.’ 21 So the slave came back and reported this to his master. Then the master of the household was furious and said to his slave, ‘Go out quickly to the streets and alleys of the city, and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame.’ 22 Then the slave said, ‘Sir, what you instructed has been done, and there is still room.’ 23 So the master said to his slave, ‘Go out to the highways and country roads and urge people to come in, so that my house will be filled. 24 For I tell you, not one of those individuals who were invited will taste my banquet!’”
Counting the Cost
25 Now large crowds were accompanying Jesus, and turning to them he said, 26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother, and wife and children, and brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. 27 Whoever does not carry his own cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. 28 For which of you, wanting to build a tower, doesn’t sit down first and compute the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? 29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish the tower, all who see it will begin to make fun of him. 30 They will say, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish!’ 31 Or what king, going out to confront another king in battle, will not sit down first and determine whether he is able with ten thousand to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? 32 If he cannot succeed, he will send a representative while the other is still a long way off and ask for terms of peace. 33 In the same way therefore not one of you can be my disciple if he does not renounce all his own possessions.
34 “Salt is good, but if salt loses its flavour, how can its flavour be restored? 35 It is of no value for the soil or for the manure pile; it is to be thrown out. The one who has ears to hear had better listen!”
C H Spurgeon
Luke 14:1-6. And it came to pass, as he went into the house of one of the chief Pharisees to eat bread on the sabbath day, that they watched him. And, behold, there was a certain man before him which had the dropsy. And Jesus answering spake unto the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath day? And they held their peace. And he took him, and healed him, and let him go; and answered them, saying, Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fallen into a pit, and will not straightway pull him out on the sabbath day? And they could not answer him again to these things.
Christ’s question was unanswerable unless they wished to condemn themselves. Now I want you kindly to turn to the next evangelist, in whose Gospel you will find the record of the fifth miracle which our Saviour wrought on the Sabbath-day. (See John 5:1-9)
Luke 14:7. And he put forth a parable to those which were bidden, when he marked how they chose out the chief rooms; —
This parable was by far the best part of the entertainment of the day: —
Luke 14:7-9. Saying unto them, When thou art bidden of any man to a wedding, sit not down in the highest room; lest a more honourable man than thou be hidden of him; and he that bade thee and him come and say to thee, Give this man place; and thou begin with shame to take the lowest room.
For, of course, the next room is full, and the next, and the only vacant seat, when the feast has begun, will probably be in the very lowest room of the house.
Luke 14:10. But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room, that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee.
Note that our Saviour was not just then talking to his disciples, or else he would have given more spiritual reasons for his advice; but, speaking to the people who were gathered as guests at the Pharisee’s house, he appealed to them with an argument suitable to themselves. We may, however, extract the marrow from this bone. Let us not covet the highest place; let us not desire honour among men. In the Church of God the way upward is downward. He that will do the lowest work shall have the highest honour. Our Master washed his disciples’ feet, and we are never more honoured than when we are permitted to imitate his example.
Luke 14:11. For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
There is a conspiracy of heaven and earth and hell to put down proud men, neither good nor bad, the highest nor the lowest, can endure those who are self-exalted; but if you are willing to take your right place, which is probably the lowest, you shall soon find honour in the midst of your brethren.
Luke 14:12. Then said he also to him that bade him, When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbour; lest they also bid thee again, and a recompense be made thee.
Our Saviour, you see, keeps to one line of instruction. It was a feast, so he used the feast to teach another lesson. It is always well, when men’s minds are running in a certain direction, to make use of that particular current. When a feast is uppermost in the minds of men, it is no use starting another subject. So the Saviour rides upon the back of the banquet, making it to be his steed. Note his advice to his host: “Try to avoid doing that for which you will be recompensed. If you are rewarded for it the transaction is over; but if not, then it stands recorded in the book of God, and it will be recompensed to you in the great day of account.”
Luke 14:13-14. But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: and thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.
It should be your ambition to have something set down to your credit “at the resurrection of the just.” If you do someone a kindness with a view to gaining gratitude, you will probably be disappointed; and even if you should succeed, what is the gratitude worth? You have burned your firework, you have seen the brief blaze, and there is an end of it. But if you get no present return for your holy charity, so much the better for you.
Luke 14:15-16. And when one of them that sat at meat with him heard these things, he said unto him, Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God. Then said he unto him, —
As if to prove what a privilege it is to be permitted to “eat bread” there, and that the persons who appear most likely to do so will never taste of it and that the most unlikely persons will be brought into it, Jesus “said unto him,” —
Luke 14:16-17. A certain man made a great supper, and bade many: and sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready.
They had accepted the invitation, so they were pledged to be present but, in the meantime, they had changed their minds with regard to their intended host, and they were unwilling to grace his feast.
Luke 14:18. And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused.
Yet it was supper time, and people do not generally go to see pieces of ground at night; and if the man had bought the land he ought to have seen it before he bought it. People do not generally buy land without looking at it. A bad excuse is worse than none; and this is one of those excuses which will not hold water for a minute.
Luke 14:19. And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused.
He pretended that he had bought five yoke of oxen without proving them, and that he wanted to prove them after he had bought them, when, of course, he could not cancel the bargain: a likely story! But, when men want to make an excuse, and they have no truth to raw as the raw material, they can always make one out of a lie.
Luke 14:20. And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.
This man did not ask to be excused; he had married a wife, so that settled the matter, of course he could not go to the feast.
Luke 14:21. So that servant came, and shewed his lord these things.
Every true servant of Christ should go to his Lord, and tell him what reception his Master’s message has had. After service, we sometimes have an enquirers’ meeting; but after every sermon there ought to be a meeting of the servant with his Lord to tell the result of the errand on which he has been sent. Sometimes, as in this case, it will be a very painful meeting, as the servant tells how his Master’s message has been despised, and his invitation rejected.
Luke 14:21. When the master of the house being angry —
Notice what the Lord does even when he is angry, he just invents some new way of showing mercy to men: “The master of the house being angry” —
Luke 14:21. Said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind.
Happy anger that explodes in blessing! The justly angry master turns away from the bidden ones who had insulted him, and sends for those who had not hitherto been bidden, that they might come to the feast.
Luke 14:22. And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room.
They fetched in all the poor people, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind whom they could find, it was a great gathering, and a strange gathering, yet there was still room for more guests at the banquet.
Luke 14:23. And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.
“Bring in highway-men and hedge-birds, those that have no place whereon to lay their heads; fetch them in by force if necessary, ‘that my house may be filled.’”
Luke 14:24. For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper.
They were invited, yet they would not come; but others shall come, and fill the tables, and the great feast shall be furnished with guests. No provisions of mercy will ever be wasted. If you who are the sons and daughters of godly parents, or you who are the regular hearers of the Word, will not have Christ, then others shall. If you hear, but hear in vain, then the rank outsiders shall be brought in, and they shall feed upon the blessed provisions of the infinite mercy of God, and God shall be glorified; but terrible will be your doom when the great Giver of the gospel feast says concerning you and those like you, “None of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper.”
Luke 14:25. And there went great multitudes with him:
During at least a part of his earthly ministry, Christ was very popular. The people crowded to his feet, and they were willing to make him a king; but you must have observed that he was always faithful in speaking to the populace, he did not flatter them. He dealt in the same fashion also with those who professed to be his followers. He winnowed the heap that was laid upon the floor, and drove away the chaff from the midst of the wheat.
Luke 14:25-26. And he turned, and said unto them, If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.
Do not misunderstand this passage. Our Lord does not use the word “hate” in our common acceptation of the term, for no man would hate his own life; but he means that the love of all these must be secondary to the love we bear to him. Compared with our love to our Lord, all lower love must be more like hate. We must be willing to give up everything — to give up even ourselves — our entire selves — to him, for Christ will have all or nothing. He will never divide the human heart with any rival. If we profess to serve him, we must have him for our only Master, and not attempt to serve two masters. I fear that this truth greatly needs to be enforced nowadays, for we have numbers of so-called Christians, who are worldlings first, and then Christians afterwards. We have a great many professors who might be accurately described by the words of a little girl concerning her father. When someone asked her, “Is your father a Christian?” she replied, “Yes, but he has not worked much at it lately.” There are plenty of that sort. Christianity is their trade, their business, their profession; but they have not worked much at it lately, they carry it on very slightly indeed. Let it not be so with us; if we would be followers of Christ, our whole hearts must be his.
Luke 14:27. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.
If there is any cross-bearing involved in Christianity, — such as the cross of holy living, or the cross of believing old-fashioned doctrines, and not being “abreast of the times,” — if there is any sort of cross which is involved in the conscientious discharge of our duty as followers of Christ, we must bear it, or else we cannot be his disciples. Our Lord’s words are very clear and explicit: “ ‘And whosoever doth not bear his cross,’ — be he who he may, whatever pretensions or professions he may make, — if he does not bear his cross, ‘and come after me, cannot be my disciple.’ “
Luke 14:28-30. For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and count the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest happily, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish.
Do you not think that there are a great many towers of that kind about in our day? I mean, unfinished Christian characters, persons who profess to be followers of Christ, but are not. They just exhibit to you their own shortcomings; they are people with good intentions, who did make some attempt to follow Jesus; but, since it involved too much self-denial, they were not able to go that length, so they turned back, and walked no more with him. They began to build a tower, but never finished it. May God, in his mercy, prevent you and me becoming a laughing-stock to all eternity! I believe that, in the last great day, and forever, those persons, who knew enough about the gospel to wish to be Christians, and who were somewhat actuated by right motives, but yet who never went so far as to give up their hearts to Christ, will stand forth as monuments of their own folly and even the demons in hell will point at them, and say, “These men began to build, and were not able to finish.” Such persons will be unable to answer that contemptuous sneer. If you have conscience enough to begin to follow Christ, even reason itself requires you to go the whole length. If you know that it is right for you to do so, why do you not go through with it? If you are sufficiently convinced of its rightness to go as far as you do, why not go still farther? God grant that you may! Better never begin to build than to commence without having counted the cost, and then to find that you have not sufficient to finish.
Luke 14:31-32. Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consult whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassador, and desireth conditions of peace.
If you cannot fight the world, the flesh, and the devil, — if there is no power that can help you to do it, or if you are not willing to be helped by the only power that can help you, — if you will not surrender yourself to Christ that he may baffle all the hosts of the adversary, then it is of no use for you to begin the war.
Luke 14:33. So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.
In Christ’s days, and afterwards, discipleship usually involved the absolute giving up of everything that his followers had, for those were times of persecution; and if such seasons should come to us, we must have such love to Christ that, for his sake, we could forsake all that we have; otherwise we cannot be his disciples.
Luke 14:34. Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be seasoned?
Christianity is good; but if the very life has gone out of it, what can you do with it? A dead professor is the most corrupt thing under heaven. Some there are who think that God’s salt can lose its savour, and yet get it back again. I remember one who told me that he knew a person who had been born again four times. That doctrine of re-re-re-regeneration is one that I have never found in the Word of God. I believe that true regeneration never fails to take effect, and that it never loses that effect. It begets within the soul a life that cannot die; but, if that life could die, it could never be brought back again. The apostle Paul puts this matter beyond dispute in Hebrews 6:4-6 : “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.”
Luke 14:35. It is neither fit for the land, nor yet for the dunghill; but men cast it out.
A dead profession of religion is utterly useless; and if it could be possible that a man should be really quickened by the Spirit of God, and yet that the new life should depart from him, he would be in a hopeless case indeed.
Luke 14:35. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
Let all of us give good heed to this injunction, for our Lord Jesus Christ’s sake! Amen.