Text: Luke 14:1-24 | Listen to Message
A Life Of Disinterested Goodness
It took Jesus all of one dinner to completely dismantle the self-absorption of the Pharisees. Everything they did, he pointed out, was calculated to massage their enormous egos and to enhance their status.
They were obsessed with rules – and suspect interpretations along with selective applications enabled them to feel superior to “sinners” who weren’t quite as good at their hoop-jumping and hair-splitting technicalities.
They were obsessed with reputation – and nothing was more important to them than being held in high regard by others.
They were obsessed with reciprocity – and no good deed would ever go wasted on someone who lacked the ability to compensate them for their effort.
Finally, they were obsessed with their own reality – and if Jesus wasn’t willing to fit himself into their priorities, agendas, and opinions, then clearly he wasn’t worthy of their worship.
The Pharisees were experts when it came to subtle hypocrisies and face-saving excuses, but Jesus saw right through them: their hearts were empty of humility, grace, and charity. They didn’t love God, God’s will, or God’s people; they loved themselves. And they weren’t too busy to respond to God’s invitation; they simply didn’t want to come to God if it meant coming in Jesus’ name.
In the end, Jesus warns, people like the Pharisees won’t be saved. Those who exalt themselves will never see the kingdom of God and dine at His table. They got their reward: the praise of men and the cheap benefits of this brief life.
Jesus offers a better way:
Jesus urges you to choose mercy over the rigid enforcement of your personal policies. If your extrabiblical rules function as a buffer between you and miserable people who need help, you can be sure your rules stink to God.
Jesus urges you to choose humility over self-advancement. Stop seeking recognition for every little thing you do. Stop placing a greater premium on how many “followers” and “likes” you get than on the approval of Christ. Take the low place and let others honor and exalt you.
Jesus urges you to choose charity over a life of calculated kickbacks. Do something good for someone – and then don’t tell anyone. Give to those who can’t repay you. Invite guests who have no place of their own to invite you back to. Love without any strings attached.
Finally, Jesus urges you to lose everything for the sake of gaining his generosity. Don’t stand outside and refuse his invitation to the party! Your possessions and property, your vocation and lifestyle, even your family, pale in comparison to the abundant and eternal treasure which is Jesus Christ.