Good morning chosen ones,
Praise the Lord!
We are over half way through Luke, following the life of our great God and Savior, while here on Earth. Have you noticed some themes, and patterns. For instance, today's reading will be the sixth time Jesus is at a dinner. God likes to eat - I am definitely made in His image :) Eating together is a great way to know people on a deeper level. This was a major part of the early church - sharing meals together. It is still one the best ways to fellowship, share ideas, and build deeper relationships. Yesterday after church, a few of us gathered in the park to share a meal together (we all brought our own). It was a great time of getting to know each other, discussing issues and of course, eating.
You never know what will happen when sharing a meal with a group of people. Opportunities arise to demonstrate the kingdom (14:1-6), and to teach some life lessons (14:7-14). What stands out the most in these "meal" stories is Jesus' desire to minister love and mercy to people. Our passage starts with His heart cry for Jerusalem, and His desire to gather "the children" under His "wings" - a picture of God's loving care and protection. Then we see Jesus healing a man while at a prominent Pharisee's house for dinner. We are not told who the man is, just that he had dropsy (edema). Jesus takes him and heals him, putting the man before the religious rules of the day. Jesus put people first; and His desire was to bring healing and freedom to them. He had mercy on the afflicted, took time to minister to them, despite what people thought of Him. He was not interested in looking good, following protocol, or being honored at social gatherings. He put people and their needs before His own - that is humility, in contrast to the pride of the religious leaders.
He seizes the opportunity to teach on humility with a couple of examples (14:7-14). First, "never think of yourself more highly than you ought to" by taking the most important seat at a gathering. Humble yourself and take the worst seat, and let someone else give you the better seat. The message: the humble will be exalted, and the proud will be humbled. Don't go to a party to be noticed, go to serve others, and God will "lift you up" (James 4:10; 1Peter 5:6).
Second, to be like Jesus, we need to include the outcast and the lowly in our fellowship, not just the ones from whom we benefit. The heart of Jesus was always for the forgotten and downtrodden. He had a way of making people feel included and important - like the man who had dropsy. Do we avoid those "high needs" people? Do we want to fellowship only with the people we like and are compatible? There seems to be a reward for befriending and ministering to the "outcasts" (14:14).
Friends, if you are like me, you will be convicted by today's reading. Let's ask God to remove our pride, and humble ourselves to serve even the least. I am sure there will be a blessing in it for us - we will develop the heart of Jesus.
Have a great week!