Lament, Healing and Humility
The section of Luke’s Gospel for today is broken into 3 parts:
1. Jesus’ Lament over Jerusalem
2. Jesus’ Healing of a Man on the Sabbath
3. The Parables of the Wedding Feast and Great Banquet.
The Pharisees are seen here warning Jesus about Herod wanting to kill Him. A definite case of ‘my enemy’s enemy is my friend’. The Pharisees and Herod were not exactly friends; the Herodians were of Edomite descent and Edom and Israel were always in conflict. The warning may have been a ruse to get Jesus back into Judea closer to the Pharisees’ allies. Herod Antipas is the ruler mentioned here, tetrarch (a client ruler for Rome) over Galilee and Perea and who Jesus will finally meet in Luke 23:7 when sent by Pilate for trial. His father Herod the Great was the person responsible for the slaughter of the innocents in Matthew chapter 2, so Jesus knew the family history well. Jesus’ response “Go tell that fox” shows he knows Herod’s schemes and cunning but they pale into insignificance when compared to the mission of Jesus, from which he will not be shaken! The phrase “and the third day I finish my course” shows that Jesus had set his face towards Jerusalem and his crucifixion. Nothing was going to alter God’s plan.
There follows an interesting but difficult passage, with Jesus talking of prophets and Jerusalem – I know that Herod can do me no harm, not only because my time is not yet come, but because the place appointed for my death is Jerusalem, which is not within his jurisdiction: “It cannot be that a prophet perish away from Jerusalem,” that is, anywhere but at Jerusalem. If a true prophet was to be put to death, he was prosecuted as a false prophet. Now no one would undertake to try prophets, and to judge them, except the great Sanhedrin, which always sat at Jerusalem; it was a cause which the inferior courts would not take responsibility for, and therefore, if a prophet was put to death, it must be at Jerusalem. Jesus, as we will see eventually stands before the Sanhedrin in Luke 22 v 66.
Jesus’ lament over Jerusalem v. 34 – 35
Since the time of King David, Jerusalem had been the centre of the worship of God. Jerusalem was now more dangerous to a true prophet of God than any of Herod’s schemes. Israel, the chosen people of God had rejected their Messiah (‘Behold your house is forsaken’) and Jesus knew the judgement and destruction that was coming upon Jerusalem and the temple, which was fulfilled in A.D.70. ‘As a hen covers her brood with her wings’ is a picture of Jesus’ love for His people, His lament is over the fact that God’s chosen people had rejected him as the redeeming Son of God. “And I tell you, you will not see me until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!'” Telling words from Jesus: words that a true believer, to whom the Holy Spirit has revealed Jesus, will cry upon the Lord’s return. These are words for all believers both Jew and Gentile not just the words of the fickle crowd on Palm Sunday.
So all this shows God at work despite authorities, powers and the scheming of man. The encouragement for us is shown in Philippians 1:6 “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”
Healing of a Man on the Sabbath
Jesus, on the Sabbath, is invited to dine at the home of a Pharisee, who was only out to trick him; they were watching him carefully it states. So be aware and encouraged that when people know what you believe they will be watching you closely, especially looking for mistakes; but know this, it also gives you the opportunity to reveal Jesus. Jesus reveals himself by healing a man of dropsy, which is an inflammation of the body which causes fluid retention and swelling. When he asked the Pharisees if it was lawful to heal on the Sabbath, they could not answer the question. God’s grace cuts across all religion and self-pride, bringing about healing, even when we make mistakes.
The Parables of the Wedding Feast and the Great Banquet
Jesus carries on his teaching at the dinner party regarding the subjects of pride and humility. When I was in the Royal Air Force; there was an unwritten, spoken rule number 1 which was ‘never volunteer for anything!’. Jesus was teaching here an important lesson in putting others first: he was the Servant King, the perfect role model. Sometimes I believe that a false humility creeps into our church lifestyle where we will not do anything due to a fear of pride and not being seen as humble.
I read this recently and found it very helpful on this teaching about humility:
Kris Vallotton writes – I want to define what true humility is. No one can stand to be around people who are stuck on themselves. It’s sickening to be in the presence of a person who is self-centred or believes themselves to be self-made. When we feel bad about ourselves, we have also made ourselves the centre of attention. This is every bit as arrogant as the person who walks around telling people how much better he is than anyone else. Humility isn’t thinking less of ourselves but thinking of ourselves less. True humility is born out of an awareness of God’s greatness, grows in a heart full of gratitude, and matures in the awe of His passionate love for us. True humility understands its need for the Father. Humility also has eyes to see the awesome work our God has accomplished in the lives of others. We humble ourselves by helping others “have their day in the Son” while loving them with the same love we have for ourselves.
A lot to take in today but I pray that God will bless you through this word and give you revelation. Amen.