Luke: Jesus and the Pharisees Again

Read: Luke 14:1-24

Once again we see Jesus addressing the Pharisees. After rolling my eyes and a deep sigh, I jumped into the passage with the expectation of reading a lesson for the ancient religious leaders and its relevance to today’s church. While that is evident – something not to miss – this morning I was drawn to the fact that Jesus is still interacting with the Pharisees. Why is that?

Look at the beginning words:

One Sabbath, when Jesus went to eat in the house of a prominent Pharisee, Luke 14:1

This passage involves a Sabbath and a prominent Pharisee. Jesus was apparently invited by this Pharisee and He accepted the invitation. Let’s stop there and learn something from the implication. At this point we’ve read about several interactions with this small, but significant group or religious leaders. Luke includes the Pharisees in each of the last three chapters, a total of 28 times in the gospel.

Here’s the thought: Jesus cares about the Pharisees. If Jesus cared about them, so should I.

While the Pharisees don’t exist as a group today, legalistic leaders certainly do. It’s also very likely that we wear the robe of a Pharisee with our own set of rules, most of which we are not aware of. You see, we are a privileged people who are proud of choices.  We choose what to watch, what to wear, when to come, and when to go. All that’s well and good, but we also choose who to do all the above with. We select friends that are compatible with us, who watch things we watch and wear things we wear. We’ve become biased. We’ve become Pharisees.

Unless we make an intentional effort to seek those who are not like us, we will no longer be salt.

Lord Jesus, You healed another person on the Sabbath and the Pharisees watched in silence, unable to respond to your questions. You invite those to Your banquet who cannot possibly repay the lavish generosity, while the privileged list excuses why they cannot attend. Yet You invite us anyway.

May we get excited about this idea:

‘Sir,’ the servant said, ‘what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.’ Luke 14:22

There is still room.

There is still room, so let this be the day we make friends with someone who doesn’t look like us, one who doesn’t fit in with our crowd. There is still room for the most unlikely.

Jesus knew He would only spend a thousand or so days preaching during His time on earth. If Jesus would take time to give one of those days to the Pharisees, perhaps the song we sang last night should encourage us: So Will I.

Thoughts about serving others

This link includes a list of posts about Serving the Least, the Lost, and the Lonely.

My prayer is for you to join me on this journey. Subscribe to this blog below to get an email when a new post is available.

Let the Word evoke words. May your life encourage lives.

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