Keith Hunt - Bible Story, NT - Chapter Twenty-six: Humility -The Banquet - Cost of Discipleship - Wayward Son - Stewardship - Start of New Covenant   Restitution of All Things
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New Testament Bible
Story

Chapter Twenty-six:

Humility - The Banquet - Cost of Discipleship - Wayward Son - Stewardship - Start of New Covenant


MAN WITH DROPSY HEALED

     It was another weekly Sabbath, and Jesus was dining at a
house of a ruler who  belonged to the sect of the Pharisees. And
the members of that sect were once more watching Him. There was
present a man who had "dropsy." This does not mean he kept
dropping things. The word "dropsy" is an old English word, it is
not used today for the decease that this man had. The man had
arms and legs that were swollen all the time.
     Jesus said to the Pharisees and the experts of religious
law, "So, is it permitted in the law to heal people on the
Sabbath day, or not?"
     They refused to answer Him. Jesus seeing that they refused
to say a word in response to His question, touched the sick man
and healed him, then turning to the people said, "Which of you
does not work on the Sabbath? If your donkey or cow falls into a
pit, don't you proceed at once to get it out?" (Luke 14: 1-6).
     Again no one answered Him.

BEING HUMBLE

     When Jesus noticed that all who had been invited to the
dinner were trying to sit near the head of the table, He gave
this advice:

     "If you are invited to a wedding feast, don't always head
for the best seat. What if someone more respected and well-known
than you has been invited? The host will say, 'Let this person
sit here instead.' Then you will be embarrassed and will have to
take whatever seat is left at the foot of the table!  Do this
instead - sit at the foot of the table. Then when your host sees
you he will come and say, 'Friend, we have a better place for
you!' Then you will be honored in front of all the other guests.
For the proud will be humbled and the humble will be honored."
     Turning now to the host of this dinner, Jesus said, "When
you put on a luncheon or a dinner, don't just invite your
friends, brothers, relatives, and rich neighbors. For they
will repay you by inviting you to their dinners. Instead, invite
the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. Then at the
resurrection God will reward you for inviting those who could not
repay you" (Luke 14: 7-14). 

     Jesus was telling people that those who are "unknown" and
really "no-bodies" in the eyes of the world would be very wise to
stay humble in their dealings and practices with certain physical
meetings the world may sponsor. They should not try to be as we
say "pushy" - trying to put themselves into the lime-light or
notice of people attending such functions, because of some vanity
and self-important mindset. For it is better to be asked to "step
up" than be embarrassed by being publicly "put-down" a step or
two.

THE BANQUET IN THE KINGDOM

     A man spoke up and said, "What a privilege it would be to
eat and share a fellowship meal in the Kingdom of God."
     A privilege indeed, but one that many in that day who were
invited, will miss out on.  Jesus gave this parable in response
to the man's statement.

     "A man prepared a great feast meal and sent out many
invitations to people he knew and ones close to him. When all was
ready he sent his servants out to notify the guests that they
should come. But they all began to make excuses. One said he had
just bought a field and wanted to inspect it, so he asked to be
excused. Another said he had just bought five pair of oxen and
wanted to see how they worked together pulling his plow. Another
said he had just married and could not leave his wife.
     The servant returned and told his master what they had said.
The master was angry and said, 'Go quickly into the streets and
the alleys of the cities and towns and invite the poor, the
crippled, the lame, the blind.' 
     After the servant had done this, he reported to his master
that there was still room for more people to attend the feast.
So, his master told him, 'Go then into the country lanes and
behind the hedges and urge anyone to come, so that my house will
be full. For none of those I invited first will get even the
smallest taste of what I had prepared for them" (Luke 14: 15-24).

     God first gave the invitation to come into His Kingdom to
the Israelites, and specifically in the time Jesus was teaching
and preaching, to the people of the House of Judah (who consisted
of those from the tribes of Judah, Levi, and Benjamin, with a few
from some of the other tribes who had escaped the Assyrian
captivity and deportation from 745 to 718 B.C. and had fled to
the House of Judah in the south).
     In the main, those people to whom the invitation was first
given, REJECTED the invitation, made excuse after excuse, and
just would not listen and turned away from entering the Kingdom
of God. Many were invited that were educated and experts in the
law of God, they were the ones who should have been the closest
to God, knowing His word, but they also rejected the true way
into the feast dinner of the Kingdom of God.
     So, the invitation to enter was sent out and given to the
lowly and often uneducated of the land, to the poor, to the
crippled, to the blind. The invitation would also go to those
outside the fold of Judah, into the countries of other nations.
God will make sure His banquet feast at the coming of His
Kingdom, will be full. But those to whom the invitation was first
given would be left outside at that time.

     We need to be careful NOT to turn down our invitation to be
in God's Kingdom when Jesus Christ returns to this earth to
establish it as the world ruling government for all nations.

COUNT THE COST OF BEING A DISCIPLE OF CHRIST

     Great crowds were following Him around, looking like they
wanted to be His disciples, but they really did not understand
what it meant to be a follower of His way, so He turned and said
to them, "If you really want to be my follower you must LOVE me
MORE than your own father, or mother, wife, children, brothers or
sisters - yes, more even than your own life. Otherwise you cannot
be my disciples. And you cannot be my disciples if you will not
carry your own cross, particular problems, trials, tests, that
come in being my disciple.
     But you better not begin until you COUNT THE COST. For who
would begin to construct a building  without first getting
estimates and then checking to see if there is enough money to
pay the bills as they would come in? Otherwise you might complete
the foundation only, and then find you have not enough money to
finish the project. How everyone would then laugh at you. They
would say, 'There's the person who started that building and ran
out of money before they could finish it!'
     Or, what king would ever dream of going to war without first
sitting down with his counsellors and military leaders to discuss
whether his army of ten thousand is strong enough to defeat the
twenty thousand soldiers who are marching to fight against him?
If he is not able, then while the enemy is still a long way off,
he will send a delegation of people from his government to
discuss terms of peace. 
     So no one can become my disciple without giving up
everything for me and knowing what it will cost them.
     Salt is good for seasoning. But if it looses its flavor, how
do you make it salty again? Flavorless salt is good neither for
the soil nor for fertilizer. It is just thrown away. 
     Anyone who is willing to hear, should indeed listen and
understand!" (Luke 14: 25-35).

     Yes, you do not become a follower and disciple of Christ's
JUST on an emotional breakdown. Some form of emotion should be
felt in full REPENTANCE towards being saved and entering the
Kingdom through Christ, but it should never stand alone. There
should be also a practical no nonsense, serious contemplation,
meditation, and mental thought on what it will mean to be a true
"Christian."  For wanting to be a real disciple of Jesus means HE
comes FIRST. His way of life, and His practices, must be first in
your life, above any other person, or any other thing. There is a
price dag on having God's grace and salvation, not that you can
ever earn it by any of your works, but you must be wanting to
have it more than anything else in your entire life.
     As Jesus taught us in His sermon on the mount, we must first
of all seek God's Kingdom and His righteousness, if we want to be
in it on the resurrection day, when Jesus returns in glory.

STORY OF THE LOST SHEEP

     The hated tax collectors and other notorious sinners from
the other side of the tracks, from the parts of towns most people
did not enter, often came to listen to Jesus teach. This made the
Pharisees and the "experts in religious law" complain that He was
associating with the sum of the earth and the lowest of the
"despicable people."
     So Jesus used again an illustration like He had done before:


     "If you had 100 sheep, and one of them strayed away, and got
lost in the wilderness, would you not leave the 99 others and go
searching for the one that was lost? Yes, you would. And when you
found it you would carry it home on your shoulders. When you
arrived home you would call your friends and your neighbors to
come and rejoice with you because the sheep that was lost is now
found. In the say way, heaven will be happier over the one sinner
that repents and turns to God, than over 99 others who are
righteousness and haven't strayed away and got lost!" (Luke 15:
1-7).

THE SILVER COIN LOST

     Jesus also illustrated the same with this story:

     "Or suppose a woman has ten valuable silver coins and looses
one. Will she not light a lamp and look in every corner of the
house, and sweep ever nook and cranny and corner until she finds
it? Yes, she will! And when she finds it, she will call in her
friends and neighbors to rejoice with her because she has found
the coin she lost. In the same way, there is joy in the presence
of God's angels over even one sinner that repents" (Luke 15:
8-10)

STORY OF THE LOST SON

     And with one more further illustration and story, Jesus
brought home the importance of one sinner repenting:

     "There was a man who had two sons; and the younger of them
said to his father one day, 'Father, give me my share of my
inheritance now, not later.' And the father did so, dividing his
working profit between the two sons. Not long afterwards the
younger son packed his belongings, gathered all he had together,
and departed into a far away country, and there he squandered
away his inheritance in loose living. After spending everything
he had, there came a great famine in the land he was living in,
and he began to be in physical need to keep himself from
starving. So he went out and found a citizen who needed someone
to feed his pigs. He was so desperate because no one would give
him anything, he fed on the pods that he was feeding to the
swine.
     He finally thought to himself, 'How many of my father's
servants are starving to death, like I am? I will arise and go to
my father and say to him, father, I have sinned against heaven
and before you also; I am no longer worthy to be called your son;
treat me at one of your hired servants.' And so he arose and came
to his father. But while still a long way off his father saw him
and felt compassion towards him. The father ran and embraced him,
and kissed him. And the son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned
against heaven and against you, I am no longer worthy to be
called your son.' 
     But the father said to his servants, 'Bring quickly the best
set of clothes, and put them on him; and put a ring on his
finger, and shoes on his feet; and bring out the fatted calf and
kill it, and let us eat and be joyful; for this my son who was as
good as dead, is alive; he was lost, but now is found.' And they
all began to have a party of rejoicing.
     Now his elder son was in the field; and as he approached
near to the house, he heard music and dancing and merriment. He
called one of the servants and asked what was going on and what
all this happy noise was all about. 'Oh, your brother has come
home,' the servant replied, 'and your father has killed the
fatted calf, because he has him back safe and sound.'  But the
elder brother was angry and refused to go into the house.
His father came out and tried to entreat him, but he answered his
father, 'All these years I have served you, and never did
anything against your wishes and desires; yet you never gave me a
kid that I might have a party with my friends. But when this son
of yours comes back, who has thrown away and foolishly spent your
money you gave him, on prostitutes and lavish living, you turn
right around and kill the fatted calf and put on a celebration
for him. I just do not understand what you are thinking!'
     And the father said, 'Son, you are always with me, and all
that I have is yours all the time. It was fitting to have this
celebration party and to rejoice, for this your brother who was
as good as dead, is alive; he was lost, but now he is found'
(Luke 15: 11-32)

     Indeed, it is a time to greatly rejoice over even one sinner
who truly REPENTS and accepts Jesus as personal Savior and who
will love God the Father with all his heart and life and mind. We
who have been with the heaven Father for some time, who have His
love and all the blessing He gives to us each day, we who know
His ways, and have walked in them, and have so been able to
receive the blessing from so doing, each and every day,  we need
to be able to greatly rejoice over even one sinner who has been
lost in sin, but who has now found the way to our Father in
heaven.

     Jesus was trying to get through to certain ones of His time
that were so self-righteous in their approach to "religion" that
they could not see where it was all at, what the bottom line was
that God was doing with mankind on this earth. They could not see
that God was wanting sinners to REPENT and to become His literal
sons and daughters. They could not see that God and the angels in
heaven were greatly rejoicing over just one single sinner that
found the way to salvation.

     We need to always be of the mindset of our heavenly Father,
and our brother Christ Jesus, in that we also rejoice with them
over the lost sinner coming to repentance and salvation.

THE FAITHFUL STEWARD BEING WISE 

     Jesus thought it was needed that His disciples be taught
that it was fine to be wise in physical ways with the world,
which might someday pay off when needing some help, so He said:

     "There was a rich man who had a servant, and charges were
brought to him that the servant was wasting his goods. And he
called him and said to him, 'What is this that I am hearing about
you? Turn in the account of your stewardship, for you can no
longer be a servant in charge of my goods.' And the servant said
to himself, 'What shall I do, since my master is taking this
stewardship away from me? I am not strong enough to dig ditches
and I'm ashamed to beg. Ah, I know what I'll do, so that people
may receive me into their favor and houses when I'm put out of my
stewardship with this rich man.' 
     So, summoning his master's debtors to come to him, one by
one, he said to the first, 'How much do you owe my master?' The
man replied, 'I owe a hundred jars of oil.' And the servant said,
"Alright, take your account and write down that you owe 50 jars
of oil.' Then he said to another, 'And how much do you owe my
master?' The man answered, 'It owe a hundred sacks of wheat.' The
servant said to him, 'Take your bill and write that you owe
eighty sacks.' 
     The master found out what the servant had done, but actually
commended the dishonest servant because of his prudence,
discerning rational and farsighted thoughts. 
     The sons of this world are sometimes wiser than the sons of
light. So, I tell you, make friends for yourselves in the
physical substance of material dealings with people, use your
worldly resources to benefit others and make friends, so that
when the physical things of money and goods fail you, you will
have friends to help you on your way in this life as you move
forward to eternal life" (Luke 16: 1-9).

     Jesus was not endorsing that His disciples be dishonest or
cheats. That was not the main point of the parable. The main
point was that Jesus said it was wise, to be wise in the use of
your material resources, gifts, talents etc. so you could have
friends who were not disciples of Jesus. In so doing, there might
come a time when those friends would help you in physical ways,
if you run into hard times in this life. 
     Very interesting and revealing indeed, for Jesus was
teaching that sometimes friends outside of the Church of God, are
fine to have, and that they may be the ones to help you better
and faster than your friends in "the church" when hard physical
times come your way.

BEING FAITHFUL WITH WHAT YOU HAVE

     Jesus continued with more instructions of being a wise and
faithful steward of what God gives you:

     "He who is faithful in very little is also faithful in much;
and he who is unfaithful in very little is unfaithful in much. If
you have not been faithful with the physical material goods and
money you have, who is going to entrust to you greater riches?
And if you have not been faithful in that which is another's, who
will give you that which is your own?"

     God expects us to be good stewards of all the physical goods
we have, to use them wisely and in the service of others. If we
do that then He will give us more to use and be faithful in,
especially so in the Kingdom. If you are not faithful and wise in
using material goods here and now, then people will not entrust
you to have more responsibility. We certainly find this in the
working sector of society. A boss is not going to entrust you
with great responsibilities if you cannot handle wisely the
little responsibilities you have now. And often if you have not
handled correctly duties and material goods that you do
not naturally or shall we say, "fall into sink with" (taking more
effort and work on your part) immediately, then even that which
does come easy to you, and that you are naturally talented with,
will be with-held from you. Life and work is not always doing
what comes natural or easy to us, sometimes we must do and be
faithful in things that task our body and mind. But we shall be
rewarded, often in this life time, but certainly in the next one
in God's Kingdom.

NOT ALLOWING THE PHYSICAL TO DOMINATE

     Jesus did not want anyone to misunderstand what He was
teaching. Some listening would no doubt have thought He was
saying that we needed to be consumed, as on a drug, with the
material things of this life, making what we do with goods and
money and our talents, the number one priority in life, and sad
to say, many, from morning to night, are doing just that.
      I was talking to a lady who has a daughter, unmarried, but
works at two jobs, one an office job, all day, and then goes to
work in a Casino till 2 a.m. in the morning. She has bought a
house but must have two others living there also as roommates.
She has to do all this just to make ends meet. 
     Then of course there are others who do such things as the
daughter above simply to get more and more money in the bank.
Their "god" is money and material goods. 
     Jesus was not wanting anyone to think He was teaching that
people should be all consumed with the material things in life,
so He said, "No servant can serve two masters, for either he will
hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one
and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and the physical
world."

     Jesus wants us to do our faithful part while in this
physical world with the material things we have responsibility
over, but not to the point it becomes our every breath of life.
He wants us to make sure God and His way come first, but not to
let slip our physical obligations with what has been given to us
either by God or man or both.

     The Pharisees, who loved "money" heard all this and just
laughed and scoffed at Him. Jesus said to them, "You are those
who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts; for
what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God"
(Luke 16: 10-15).

     The Pharisees, to uphold their life style, their greed for
money, their love of being noticed on the street and at banquets,
would justified all they did as easy as blinking an eye. They had
all kinds of ways to justify, make it sound correct and
righteous, how they lived and acted to gain more and more. Jesus
told them they were only fooling themselves and maybe some people
walking the streets or in the market place, but they were not
fooling God, for He knew what was in their hearts. And what was
in their hearts was an abomination to God.

NEW TESTAMENT TEACHING SINCE JOHN

     Jesus wanted to also make it very clear that the New
Testament or New Covenant had arrived and was being taught FROM
the days of John the Baptist. He said, "The law and the prophets
were until John; since then the good news of the Kingdom of God
is preached, and every one enters it by striving forcefully with
great determination. But it is easier for heaven and earth to
pass away, than for one dot of the law to become void"
(Luke 16: 16-17).

     These few verses are very important verses, not understood
by many. There is much argument today over the Old and the New
Covenants, and exactly WHEN the New one took effect, was it when
Jesus died, or when He was resurrected, was it on the day
of Pentecost? 
     The truth of the matter is that the New Covenant took effect
at the coming and preaching and ministry of John the Baptist.
Then it was no longer JUST the law and the prophets, the Old
Testament books, but the "spirit" of the New Covenant that was
now in effect. Jesus and John were teaching and preaching the New
Covenant, this of course we can see plainly from Jesus' "sermon
on the mount." And those who wanted into the New Covenant, into
the Kingdom of God, had to strive hard, be determined in their
mind, to walk the straight and narrow path to eternal life, as
Jesus had already before taught and instructed.
     Then He was also making it clear that just because the New
Covenant and the Kingdom of God had arrived to be preached and
entered, did not mean the old books of the Old Testament or
Covenant were done away with. On the contrary, He said, it would
be easier for heaven to roll away than for one word of those
books to perish. 
     Jesus was saying once more what He plainly taught in Matthew
4: 4, that people are to live by EVERY WORD OF GOD, all that is
contained in the Old and the New Testaments, what today we know
as the whole Bible from Genesis to Revelation.
     
MARRIAGE BOND TIGHTENED UP

     Jesus was still hammering at the Pharisees, it was they who
were laughing at Him for what He was teaching, so they needed to
be hit a little more. Jesus knew that the main school of the
Pharisees taught that people could get divorced for just about
any little reason, sometimes out and out silly and trivial, like
divorcing your wife because she didn't iron your clothes with the
pleats in just the right place. Jesus here recorded by Luke does
not go into details, but the Pharisees would have known exactly
what He was aiming at, He said, "Every one who divorces his wife
and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries a woman
divorced from her husband commits adultery."

     Later, Jesus gets into this subject once again with the
Pharisees and goes into more detail on the matter. We shall see
this when we come to chapter 19 of the Gospel of Matthew.

                .............................

Written November 2002


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