March 20: Luke 14
Jesus Heals on the Sabbath
14 One day Jesus was on his way to dine with a prominent Jewish religious leader for a Sabbath meal. Everyone was watching him to see if he would heal anyone on the Sabbath. 2 Just then, standing right in front of him was a man suffering with his limbs swollen with fluid.
3 Jesus asked the experts of the law and the Pharisees who were present, “Is it permitted within the law to heal a man on the Sabbath day? Is it right or wrong?”4 No one dared to answer. So Jesus turned to the sick man, took hold of him, and released healing to him, then sent him on his way.
5 Jesus said to them all, “If one of your children or one of your animals fell into a well, wouldn’t you do all you could to rescue them even if it was a Sabbath day?”
6 There was nothing they could say—all were silenced.
Humility and Hospitality
7 When Jesus noticed how the guests for the meal were all vying for the seats of honor, he shared this story with the guests around the table:
8 “When you are invited to an important social function, don’t be quick to sit near the head of the table, choosing the seat of honor. What will happen when someone more distinguished than you arrives? 9 The host will then bring him over to where you are sitting and ask for your seat, saying in front of all the guests, ‘You’re in the wrong place. Please give this person your seat.’ Disgraced, you will have to take whatever seat is left. 10 Instead, when you’re invited to a banquet, you should choose to sit in the lowest place[a] so that when your host comes and sees you there, he may say, ‘My friend, come with me and let me seat you in a better place.’ Then, in front of all the other guests at the banquet, you will be honored and seated in the place of highest respect.
11 “Remember this: everyone with a lofty opinion of who he is and who seeks to raise himself up will be humbled before all. And everyone with a modest opinion of who he is and chooses to humble himself will be raised up before all.”
12 Then Jesus turned to his host and said, “When you throw a banquet, don’t just invite your friends, relatives, or rich neighbors—for it is likely they will return the favor. 13–14 It is better to invite those who never get an invitation. Invite the poor to your banquet, along with the outcast, the handicapped, and the blind—those who could never repay you the favor. Then you will experience a great blessing in this life, and at the resurrection of the godly you will receive a full reward.”
15 When they heard this, one of the dinner guests said to Jesus, “Someday God will have a kingdom feast,[b] and how happy and privileged will be the ones who get to share in that joy!”
16 Jesus replied with this parable:
“There was a man who invited many to join him in a great feast. 17 When the day for the feast arrived, the host instructed his servant to notify all the invited guests and tell them, ‘Come, for everything is now ready for you!’ 18 But one by one they all made excuses. One said, ‘I can’t come. I just bought some property and I’m obligated to go and look it over.’ 19 Another said, ‘Please accept my regrets, for I just purchased five teams of oxen[c] and I need to make sure they can pull the plow.’ 20 Another one said, ‘I can’t come because I just got married.’
21 “The servant reported back to the host and told him of all their excuses. So the master became angry and said to his servant, ‘Go at once throughout the city and invite anyone you find—the poor, the blind, the disabled, the hurting, and the lonely—and invite them to my banquet.’
22 “When the servant returned to his master, he said, ‘Sir, I have done what you’ve asked, but there’s still room for more.’
23 “So the master told him, ‘All right. Go out again, and this time bring them all back with you. Persuade the beggars on the streets, the outcasts, even the homeless. Urgently insist that they come in and enjoy the feast so that my house will be full.’
24 “I say to you all, the one who receives an invitation to feast with me and makes excuses will never enjoy my banquet.”
The Cost of Following Jesus
25 As massive crowds followed Jesus, he turned to them and said, 26 “When you follow me as my disciple, you must put aside[d] your father, your mother, your wife, your sisters, your brothers—yes, you will even seem as though you hate your own life. This is the price you’ll pay to be considered one of my followers. 27 And anyone who comes to me must be willing to share my cross and experience it as his own, or he cannot be considered to be my disciple. 28 So don’t follow me without considering what it will cost you. For who would construct a house[e]before first sitting down to estimate the cost to complete it? 29 Otherwise he may lay the foundation and not be able to finish. The neighbors will ridicule him, saying,30 ‘Look at him! He started to build but couldn’t complete it!’
31 “Have you ever heard of a commander[f] who goes out to war without first sitting down with strategic planning to determine the strength of his army to win the war[g]against a stronger opponent? 32 If he knows he doesn’t stand a chance of winning the war, the wise commander will send out delegates to ask for the terms of peace. 33 Likewise, unless you surrender all to me, giving up all you possess, you cannot be one of my disciples.
34 “Salt is good for seasoning. But if salt were to lose its flavor,[h] how could it ever be restored? 35 It will never be useful again, not even fit for the soil or the manure pile![i] If you have ears opened by the Spirit, then hear the meaning of what I have said and apply it to yourselves.”