Series Title: ‘The Gospel of Luke: Encountering Jesus’
Message: ‘Table Talk’ pt.1 Text: Luke 14:1-24
Introduction: I love to eat… I mean, really, I loved to eat. Good thing I also love to cook. And I love sitting around the table sharing a meal with friends:
- To get to know them better.
- To share life stories.
- To get caught up on where we all are on our journey of faith.
- To let them know that around my table, you’re loved, and prayed for.
- And, yes, to enjoy good food.
We did all that on Thursday night, when some here today, met for my Elder Shepherd Dinner 8. (By the way, if you were unable to make that one, don’t worry, I’ll be holding another one soon.)
So much of life’s most meaningful moments, are held around a table. Think about it.
- Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, Weddings, Anniversaries, Birthdays, Calvary Café, church potluck dinners, unplanned get togethers to share a meal with friends…
PP: Here are a few pictures of how CBC shares meals around the table: (7 slides)
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Calvary Café…That reminds me of a story about a conversation a pastor had with a young boy about why they had a fellowship time with coffee after the worship service on Sunday. The boy answered “I think, it’s to get the people awake before they drive home.”
Pretty insightful, but I know there’s more to our Calvary Café time than just that.
- I’ve seen people hugging, crying, praying, laughing, talking, making new friends, and yes, even eating around the tables at Calvary Café.
If you’re not in the habit of joining us downstairs after our Worship Celebration at Calvary Café, please… give it… and us, a try.
Background: Our text this morning is Luke 14:1-24. Once again it’s centered around a meal. Jesus is sitting around a table with many prominent Pharisees and other religious leaders. And as is His habit, He uses the table to talk about life in the Kingdom of God.
As an aside, I hope we’ll use the time at Calvary Café, as well as the hospitality we show in our homes around the table, to talk about life, together, in God’s Kingdom.
So, let’s open our Bibles to Luke 14:1 where we’ll see Jesus at a table of healing.
PP: 1. Luke 14:1-6 A table of healing
One Sabbath, when He went to dine at the house of a ruler of the Pharisees, they were watching Him carefully. And behold, there was a man before Him who had dropsy. And Jesus responded to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath, or not?” But they remained silent. Then He took him and healed him and sent him away. And He said to them, “Which of you, having a son or an ox that has fallen into a well on a Sabbath day, will not immediately pull him out?” And they could not reply to these things. (Luke 14:1–6, ESV)
OK, the scene has changed from chapter 13. It’s the Sabbath and Jesus was once again invited to a meal at a prominent Pharisee’s home.
- Only this time, the Pharisees had more than just hospitality in mind for Jesus.
How do I know? Notice Luke says they were watching Him carefully.
Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, in front of the Pharisee, many times. They were watching Jesus carefully to catch Him in some violation of their Sabbath laws.
- They believed and taught that to heal someone was work and therefore not permitted on the Sabbath.
Think about who’s around the table… the text says Lawyers and Pharisees… plural. So get this picture in your head…There was Jesus, all the religious leaders… and one badly disfigured man.
The religious leaders also believed and taught that if you were physically disfigured or suffered greatly from some illness, God was punishing you for some great sin.
So tell me.
- Considering the great pride of the religious leaders.
- Considering the way they separated themselves from common people, especially those who were badly ill.
- Do you think the man with dropsy was a regular at that Pharisee’ table?
Absolutely not! More than likely, they planted this poor man to trap Jesus.
The phrase watching Him carefully implies intense scrutiny, with evil intent.
So, under false pretenses, the Pharisee invites this man to his home for a meal, but never intends for him to eat. Notice, it doesn’t even say he was seated at the table, the self-righteous Pharisee would never have allowed that.
- By the way, Jesus will address his host about that later.
PP: Sidebar: Dropsy, now called edema, is a condition in which a person soft tissue is swollen with excess body fluids. The religious leaders thought it was the result of some great uncleanness and immorality.
- Today edema is understood not as a disease but as a symptom of a disease and is often associated with congestive heart failure.
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Jesus, knowing it was yet another trap, knowing that the Law of Moses did not forbit healing on the Sabbath, asked the religious leaders at the table, Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath, or not?
- This isn’t the 1st time they put Jesus in this situation on the Sabbath. Each time, Jesus healed whoever was placed before Him.
It’s almost as if Jesus is saying
- Look, enough is enough. Answer me, take a position.
- Right here in front of everyone, give Me your final answer.
- According to your law, is it OK to heal on the Sabbath.
And like we’ve been hearing outside our bedroom windows at night lately… all Jesus heard was the sound of crickets…
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At that time:
- Under rules of debate, by being silenced and unable to reply, they would be presumed wrong or at best, too ignorant of the law to defend their position.
- The Pharisees can’t answer because it would reveal their swollen hypocrisy which has puffed them up more than a man with edema. (Steve Brooks)
How’s that for a visual picture of what pride and hypocrisy does to a person?
What Jesus does next, is nothing short of an amazing display of great compassion for the man with dropsy. Listen again to the brief but powerful text.
PP: He took him and healed him and sent him away.
The man knew why he was at the house of the Pharisee and it was not to eat a meal at his table.
- He knew the religious leaders didn’t care about him or his condition.
- He knew he was an expendable pawn in their religious chess match against Jesus.
- He was embarrassed by how he looked and shamed by the great sin everyone the religious leaders thought he had committed.
- He didn’t want to be there.
- All he wanted to do was make his way home and be left alone in his misery.
But, in a very gracious and compassionate way, he would leave much different than how he had arrived.
- He had experienced the healing touch of Jesus.
- He left a new man. He left vindicated, he left joyful.
- He left not to go home in shame but to go home in peace.
Jesus… took him and healed him and sent him away.
Jesus, knowing why the man had been invited to the Pharisees home, quietly excuses him, I believe for two reasons:
- First, so as not to expose him to any hurtful or discouraging comments from the religious leaders.
- Second, so that he would not be among those Jesus will rebuke in the following verses.
Can you see the compassion in what Jesus did?
So, after then man leaves, Jesus turns His attention to those remaining and asks them a rhetorical question.
PP: And He said to them, “Which of you, having a son or an ox that has fallen into a well on a Sabbath day, will not immediately pull him out?” (Luke 14:5, ESV)
This is basically the same question Jesus asked the religious leaders in chapter 13 when He had healed a woman extremely bent over, in the Synagogue, on the Sabbath.
In the same way as in chapter 13, crickets… all you hear are crickets…They couldn’t answer, because they were caught in their own hypocrisy.
The religious leaders put unbearable standards of conduct on the common people; traditions they added to the Law of Moses, yet, they made loopholes for when they did similar things.
- Each Lawyer and Pharisee around that table knew that if on a Sabbath, their son or ox fell into a well, they would immediately pull them out, and tend to any wounds.
The text says And they could not reply to these things. Folks, that’s why the people were amazed at Jesus’ teachings…
- It confounded the religious leaders.
- Because Jesus taught with an authority like no one else.
And listen, Jesus’ words still have that same power, that same authority today. That’s why you should be join me in reading all 4 Gospels at least twice a year.
- In them are the very words of Jesus.
- In them, are the very words that lead to life, abundant and eternal.
One chapter a day will do it. If you start tomorrow, you’ll get through all 4 Gospel at least once before the end of the year.
PP: Remember Peters famous words of truth in
John’s Gospel. Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (John 6:68, ESV)
A lot has happened at the table that Sabbath. And Jesus has a lot more to say. But we’ll get to that in next week. I want to end with a few words about being around the table.
PP: The book The Table Talks is about conversations around the table in the home of Martin Luther, the Protestant reformer, theologian and pastor. (3 Slides)
The book answers questions those who admire Luther want to know.
- What was conversation like around the dining table in Martin and Katie Luther’s home? What was talked about? Was it always theology?
- In The Table Talks we’re given a glimpse into the table conversations and everyday life in Luther’s home, as well as a bit of Martin Luther’s personality.
- The Table Talks consist of transcriptions of some of Luther’s discussions while at table, written down by various regular guests at his home. (Lutheranreformation.org)
One of the excerpts from the book goes like this:
- In Luther’s household the day began at sunrise, and the principal meal of the day was eaten about ten o’clock in the morning.
- About five o’clock in the afternoon supper was served, and this meal was often shared by exiled clergymen, escaped nuns, government officials, visitors from abroad, and colleagues of Luther in the university who frequently stopped in, men like Philip Melanchthon, John Bugenhagen, and Justus Jonas.
- The relaxed atmosphere of the hospitable home was conducive to spirited conversation…
And here are the questions I want all of us to ask ourselves as we head to our homes today, as we share a table with our friends and family this Labor Day weekend:
- Is the atmosphere in our home relaxed and hospitable?
- Is it conducive to spirited conversation?
- Are we regularly inviting people to share a seat around our table?
Martin Luther said this about God’s Word, which was usually the topic of conversation around his table.
PP: The Bible is alive. It speaks to me; it has feet, it runs after me; it has hands, it lays hold of me. (Christianity Today)
Is God’s Word, even a topic of conversation around your table?
And does it have the same effect, the same power in your life as it did Martin Luther?
- Is the Bible alive for you?
- Does it speak regularly to you?
- Does it run after you?
- Has it laid hold of your heart?
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