I lingered a little longer over my coffee this morning…. As I sipped and studied Luke Chapter 14, I was so intrigued by Jesus’ interaction with his host and the other invited guests. Do you know that much of this entire chapter centers around hospitality and social etiquette? It’s interesting to note that in verses 1-14, Jesus did not disrupt the social order of guests’ seating positions. He even told his listeners to “take the lowly place” in order to not be embarassed if the host later asked them to move and give up their chairs for a more preferred guest.
Yet, we see the passion of Jesus rising up when it came to the hurting. He broke the societal norm by healing a man suffering from dropsy on the Sabbath day. (God forbid!) Jesus definitely didn’t mind “upsetting the apple cart” and he had no qualms about alleviating one’s suffering. The master storyteller also used this occasion to launch into the Parable of the Great Supper. In verses 15-24 he tells of a rich man who invited certain folks to his feast. At the last minute when the feast was all ready, each one gave a feeble excuse as to why he couldn’t come. (Those excuses could be expounded upon in an entirely different study.) Not only was this a warning towards those who could miss the greatest feast of all, but he made it clear that everyone who responded to the invitation would be included in this great and final marriage supper of the Lamb. I wonder how many of the guests sitting near Jesus asked him afterwards how they could be a part of this great feast to come.
Verse 23: “Then the master said to the servant, “Compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.” Compel is an interesting word. Some synonyms of compel are to urge forcefully, to constrain, and to plead. We must ask ourselves (as Christians) if this invitation is as important to us as it is to Jesus. Do we feel a sense of urgency for others’ souls? Do we compel them to be a part of this great feast? Our Lord draws two parallels here: the suffering of mankind (healing the man with dropsy) and his remedy for the suffering of the soul (the Parable of the Great Supper.) Isn’t it beautiful that He cares both about our present needs and, even more so, our eternal state?
Jesus sees the downtrodden. I am daily reminded by messages and e-mails from our friends in Haiti of their plight.
”My wife is pregnant and we have no food in the house. She’s already going into her second month and we haven’t seen a doctor yet.”
Another says, ”We had to move from our home to a smaller one because we can’t pay the rent. How I wish there were jobs available.”
Still another is in dire need of an eye doctor. He can hardly focus on a printed page for long due to the scales that are forming over his eyes.
It’s an endless list and the downtrodden are ever before us, whether we are present in Haiti or we see them in our mind’s eye. These are just a few of countless others who are suffering from hunger and sickness with little hope that things will get better while living in a volatile country.
We don’t often see Jesus frequenting the homes of others as an invited guest. We see Jesus teaching and preaching in the streets and ministering to those who were afflicted from all sorts of maladies. Jesus walked among lepers and those who were demon possessed. I guess we could say Jesus was always “in the thick of things.” He was burdened for the downtrodden, for he is “near to the brokenhearted“. (Psalm 34.18) But, even as he was seated at someone else’s table as an invited guest, his mind was fixed on GREATER THINGS and he wasn’t reluctant to alleviate the suffering of one at the table or invite his host to the greater feast that was to come.
We thank those of you who have chosen to partner with Rehoboth Ministries. If you are reading this post and you would like to join us in alleviating the suffering of those who are so much less fortunate than we are, we invite you to partner with us today.
dropsy: old word for edema, which is a condition where there is accumulation of fluid in the body (beneath the skin, body cavities, interstitial spaces) leading to its swelling.
Rehoboth Ministries is… Changing Lives and Impacting a Nation
Links for Giving:
Send Checks to: The Lord’s Table / PO Box 11049 / Goldsboro, NC 27532 / (919) 751-8188 & please earmark your gift for Haiti.
Pritchard: firstname.lastname@example.org/ 910 703 3098 / Haiti: 011 509 4160 4096
Dana: email@example.com / 910 916 7229 / Haiti: 011 509 4037 5341
John: firstname.lastname@example.org / 910 581 0390 / Haiti: 011 509 3253 0595
Pritchard & Dana ADAMS
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Jacksonville, NC 28540