February 29 – Devotion Sharing (Luke 14)

Submitted by: Christine C. from Gracepoint Davis Church

Luke 14:1-6 

  • The Pharisees and experts in the law use a man suffering from dropsy to scrutinize Jesus.  What does this reveal about them?  

The fact that the Pharisees and experts in the law used a man suffering from dropsy to scrutinize Jesus shows just how much they cared about proving Jesus wrong and instead of caring for this man stricken with dropsy. They should have led people to God. One would expect that the Pharisees and expert in the law would have pity on the man with dropsy and desire for him to get healed, but instead they used him in his plight as a way to trap Jesus. They lost sight of God heart for those who were considered “poor in spirit.” What they did care about was proving themselves right and finding some flaw with Jesus because they felt so threatened by Jesus.

  • What did the Pharisees and experts in the law maintain by not answering Jesus’ questions?  What did they forfeit through their silence?

The Pharisees and the experts in the law maintained their stance that they were right. By not answering Jesus, they didn’t have to face the truth that Jesus was pointing out in them. The didn’t want to face the truth that they cared more about the law and sticking to it, than the hurting person who was right in front of them. Jesus asked them whether it was lawful to heal on the Sabbath or not. But they remained silent. They knew that by answering either way they would be condemned for the attitude of their heart. By remaining silent, they forfeited reflecting over their own heart and acknowledging their own sinfulness. And without confession of sinfulness, they fail to experience Jesus’ grace and mercy and he offers to them. They miss out on confessing the what’s in their heart, and being fully known.

  • What do I remain silent about?  What am I trying to maintain through my silence?  What am I forfeiting through my silence? 

Some times I chose to remain silent with what I’m going through in terms of my emotions and fears. I think that perhaps I’ll just get over it. Other times I know my fears sound so outlandish and crazy that I don’t want to appear so fearful, and I just want to look composed. But by not voicing my emotions or fears, it ends up building up more and more until, my thoughts and emotions take me down paths of thinking which lead me further and further way from the truth.  To maintain my image through my silence is foolish. I forfeit receiving help from my leaders and friends whom God placed in my life to point me back to truth. I forfeit dispelling these crazy fears and emotions, and instead I end up fueling them even more.

Luke 14:7-11 

  • What authority does the “host” have over the guests?

The host has the authority to reseat guest in the order of importance that he chooses. As the host who is holding the banquet, so therefore he gets to decide which guests sit where.

  • Who does the “host” represent in this parable? 

The host of this parable represents God. God being our Creator, has the right to place man wherever He pleases. Instead of expecting God to see my actions as being worthy of some special place in God’s eyes, I need to remember that God is the One who placed me here.

  • How is the scene of the guests vying for the place of honor at the table a portrait of the world clawing for status?

The scene of the guests vying for the place of honor at the table depicts how people in today’s world fight to gain honor and status for themselves. I can imagine the people who pick the place of honor at the table want attention and respect from people around them. They want to appear important and worthy of such honor. In the same way people in the working world do just about anything to climb that corporate ladder and get that raise, or people work so hard pouring out years of their lives to gain significance in having a title of Ph.D. or MD or JD.

  • How much do I value status and reputation?  How is this manifested in the way I relate to people around me?

I don’t particularly value status and reputation in terms of how the world values it, but I do know that I do want to keep up an image that I am competent and seen as a reliable person. So I try to cover up my flaws and look responsible. And this is manifested in the way I relate to people by seeing people as people that I need to impress or hold up an image before. This stifles my relationship with my leaders, my peers, and the brothers and sisters at church because the only way to keep up an image is to hide and give excuses for my flaws. I become a person who is disconnected and person who does not receive truth well.     

Luke 14:12-14 

  • Contrast Jesus’ teaching to do good to those who cannot repay you with the “I scratch your back, and you scratch mine” mentality of the world. 

Jesus’ teaching to do good to those who cannot repay you goes directly against the world’s mentality of “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine.” The world teaches people to only expend energy where benefits are reaped. It teaches to not be a fool and give to yourself without receiving anything back because it will seem like a waste. It’s the whole mentality of the disciples that saw it as a waste when Jesus is anointed with pure nard. The disciple cared more about the money that the nard cost instead the reason behind giving this precious gift to Jesus. Jesus’ teaching to do good revolves around love. Giving to the poor and those who cannot repay you focuses more on the need of others instead of yourself. Jesus is teaching here that it is better to give what you have to others for you will be blessed.

  • Who are “the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind” that God is asking me to take care of without being repaid?

The poor, crippled, lame, and blind that God has placed in my midst are the people who are broken by sins and whom God has graciously placed in my care to love and care for them.  As I think about their backgrounds, some come from really broken families, others looking for purpose and meaning, while others are struggling with addictions that leave them battered along the road. I know by meeting up with them and pointing them to God, from the world’s worldview is foolishness because by the world’s standard, I don’t get repaid. But what Jesus promises is so true, when I give my time and energy to loving them, I experience being blessed to be able to see God work in their lives. I am reaffirmed of God’s love for me, when I see that indeed He is a God who is able to heal and bring reversals into people’s broken lives. 

  • What does it mean to be “repaid at the resurrection of the righteous”? 

Being repaid at the resurrection of the righteous means that when that day comes where Jesus brings new order into our lives, I will see all the ways that my prayers and labors were not in vain. Many times I have tried loving people but faced rejection. I get discouraged when people turn away and reject truth, but who knows, one day perhaps all the prayers or gospels seeds that I sewed will not be in vain. God sees the labor of love of not only myself, but many others, and will use that to change lives for eternity. The joy of seeing a person coming to know Jesus does not compare to all the labor put into loving that person.

Submitted by Linda U from Gracepoint Davis Church

REFLECTION QUESTIONS

Luke 14:1-6 

  • The Pharisees and experts in the law use a man suffering from dropsy to scrutinize Jesus.  What does this reveal about them?  

This act by the Pharisees and experts in the law reveal that they were more interested in catching Jesus in some unlawful deed than in caring for the man suffering from dropsy.  The Pharisees and experts in the law, although knowledgeable in the law, were heartless people. Because they were more concerned with the technicalities of the written law, and whether or not someone would obey them to the “t,” they completely failed to understand the spirit and intention of these laws.  They are cold, heartless, and without compassion for those who are in true need.

  • What did the Pharisees and experts in the law maintain by not answering Jesus’ questions?  What did they forfeit through their silence?

By not answering Jesus’ questions, the Pharisees and experts in the law maintain their sense of self-righteousness. By answering “yes” or “no” to any of Jesus’ questions, they would have incriminated themselves because technically, the law prohibited the work of healing on the Sabbath, and the human conscience testifies that it’s only proper to heal a person, regardless of the day.  Through the lens of love and compassion, no one would hesitate to pull out his son or ox that falls into a well.  The Pharisees and teachers of the law really did not have to remain silent.  They could have asked Jesus questions to clarify their thinking, and in a dialogue with Jesus they could have come to understand the spirit behind the Sabbath laws. In their silence, however, they forfeited true and proper repentance, and they locked themselves further in the prison of their self-righteousness.

  • What do I remain silent about?  What am I trying to maintain through my silence?  What am I forfeiting through my silence? 

I find that I often remain silent during times when I could be asking more questions for clarification, and also when I could be asking for help.  For example, at certain times when I am given some instructions, whether they’re instructions for a task or how I should handle a situation, I sometimes sense a prompting inside of me to ask questions because I am unclear about the instructions.  I know the reason why I do this is because I fear looking or sounding stupid, and I don’t want to appear like I don’t know something that, in my mind, should have been obvious to me.  In this way, I am trying to maintain my image of “knowing something” through my silence, where in fact I actually do have questions because I don’t really know what I’m thinking I should know.  As lame as this really sounds, I know that when do this, I forfeit all opportunity for me to understand the spirit behind the instructions (if the instructions deal with relationships), I forfeit understanding of what’s expected of me, and I forfeit the ability to make the best decisions possible because I’m relying upon my own limited knowledge instead of the large sphere of knowledge that I would have gained, if only I humbled myself and asked more questions.

Similarly, I often remain silent about asking for help.   I am reluctant to ask for help because when I do, I feel like a weak and needy individual.  I hate admitting it, even though that is really what I am!  By remaining silent during these situations, I forfeit myself from receiving the real help that I need.  I forfeit any opportunity for peace and joy in working with others because in my refusal to act in humility, I dig a hole for myself to feel a similar kind of resentment that Martha felt when she was working hard in the kitchen to serve Jesus. I also forfeit the deepening of relationships and fellowship that I can experience if only I open up my life to receiving help from the people God placed in my life to help me.  I also forfeit the freedom and joy of co-laboring with others, the joy of serving when I don’t just carry the burdens of ministry alone, but with other like-minded people who are more than willing to do God’s work of ministry together with me.

  • What does it mean to be “repaid at the resurrection of the righteous”? 

…I am promised repayment at the resurrection of the righteous.  In my obedience, and trusting in Jesus, I can be deemed “righteous.”  And the promise of God’s words is that there would be resurrection for me.  To have resurrection means that I would have already died.  This makes sense because when God asks me to bear the burdens of others through prayer and ministry, I must die to my desire for comfort and selfishness.  But the promise is God is that I would be blessed (v.14) in the process of taking care of those who cannot repay me.  I’m reminded of the passage on the Good Samaritan in Luke 10, where the Good Samaritan (representing Jesus) entrusts the beaten up man to the innkeeper (representing those in the church, including myself), and I’m asked to look after “the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind” without any repayment.  And Jesus promises to reimburse me for any extra expense I may have incurred in this process, which is the cost of loving these people.  I am reminded that even though ministry feels costly at time because of my core problem of sin and selfishness, the life of obeying God and ministering to needy people is the blessed life.

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