“One Sabbath, when Jesus went to eat in the house of a prominent Pharisee, He was being carefully watched.”
As I reflect upon the Gospel of Luke it becomes increasingly clear to me that Luke is writing a carefully researched, well organized Gospel with the intention of convincing his readers that the LORD Jesus Christ is in fact the promised Messiah who has come in fulfillment of the Scriptures. In the centre of his Gospel, running from Luke 9:51 to 19:46, Luke carefully crafts a travel narrative, the longest in the gospels, in which Jesus leads His disciples on the road to Jerusalem and the cross. Here we are shown just what real discipleship is all about. We also see clearly that the LORD Jesus Christ is in control of the whole process. Along the way we are confronted with powerful descriptions of just what a life of Discipleship is all about. This is shown us not only as it impacts our personal lives as individuals but also how it shapes the life of the local church.
In looking at the first few verses of the fourteenth chapter of Luke we discover just what true Christian discipleship is all about. As Jesus carries on His ministry, faithfully leading His disciples to the cross at Jerusalem He is invited to a banquet at a prominent Pharisee’s house. This is to be a testing time for Jesus, as He is being carefully watched. It is also however a testing time for the Pharisees. They have been examined by God and found wanting. Now their wickedness will be exposed. It will be exposed however in a way that shows us just what the Christian life is all about.
Here we are shown what it is to develop a Christ centred ministry in our world. The Kingdom of God is advancing in our world as we, empowered by the Holy Spirit are brought to fully follow Jesus from the heart in a life of Christian service. This is characterized in the following way.
1) We are to be following Jesus to the cross. It is a crucified life that we are to be called to. The Apostle Paul describes this as he writes his joyful letter to the Philippians from prison.
“I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:20-21)
This is the life, under the power of the Holy Spirit that we are called to follow Jesus into.
2) This life is to be characterized by our compassionate care for one another, and especially for those who are in need. Jesus heals the man with dropsy, even though it will bring even greater hostility down upon Him. This needy man would have been considered unclean in his day. His disease was thought to be a well deserved curse from God. We Disciples of Christ must be known for the same courageous compassion in our world today.
3) The Kingdom of God was to be known for its genuine humility. True disciples always humble themselves. They rightly understand to reality of their sin and the debt we owe to the mercy of the LORD Jesus Christ. This humility must spill over into our relationships with one another.
4) Finally life in the Kingdom of God is always a giving life. We don’t live for what can be done for us. We are not self-centred. We give ourselves in service to others. Is this the reality of the life you are living?