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Bible Commentaries

Bell's Commentary on the Bible

Luke 14

Verses 1-24

  1. GAMES PEOPLE PLAY! (1-24)
    1. 1ST GAME – MOUSE TRAP! (1-6)
    2. Remember the game Mouse Trap? [Once the mousetrap has been completely constructed, players attempt to capture each others' mice in it by turning the crank, which activates the mousetrap. If the mousetrap doesn't malfunction, the mouse is captured and out of the game. The winner is the last mouse who avoids being trapped]
      1. Entrapment is one of the games human beings often play with one another. We set up a trap, into which we hope they will fall.
    3. It’s to be noted that Jesus never refused any man’s invitation of hospitality.
      1. We will never make our enemies our friends if we refuse to meet them and talk with them.
    4. Dropsy – “looking watery”, Edema(excess fluid) { hydrōpikos – hdro/water}. [Rena Verner – child went home & said that her teacher had “a-demon” in her arm, instead “e-dema”]
      1. A symptom of several serious disorders such as heart, kidney, or liver disease. (we’re not told which one this was)
    5. Took him & healed him – “took hold of him & healed him.”
    6. Let him go - Probably, dismissed him to get him away from these critics!
    7. He quoted their own law and practice to them.
      1. Open wells were quite common in Israel, and were frequently the cause of accidents. (Ex.21:33)
      2. It was perfectly allowable to rescue a beast which had fallen in.
      3. Jesus, with searing contempt, demands how, if it be right to help an animal on the Sabbath, it can be wrong to help a man.
    8. 2ND GAME – LOOK AT ME! (7-11)
    9. Every toddler knows how to play this, “daddy look at me, watch me daddy”; but what’s normal for a toddler is pretty embarrassing when adults are still playing it.
      1. The point in this game is to make sure that everyone sees and admires you.
      2. Jesus saw men competing for better seats at a banquet. 2.9.2.1. Seating in those days was ordered.
      3. How empty when we act from motives of “what will others think?”
    10. The seats closest to the host were the best seats, and the guests looking for recognition tried to secure them. (Warren Wiersbe; Outlines of the OT.)
      1. Nowadays, the gracious host uses place cards for seating guests rather than embarrass someone needlessly by moving them publicly to a more appropriate seat.
      2. If where we sit makes us important, then we are not very important!
      3. It is what we are, not where we sit that really counts.
      4. It is only the little man who is self-important!
      5. Jesus probably had Prov.25:6,7 in mind “Do not exalt yourself in the presence of the king, And do not stand in the place of the great; For it is better that he say to you, “Come up here,” Than that you should be put lower in the presence of the prince, Whom your eyes have seen.”
        1. Ex: Harold & I in Haiti this week in line for graduation.
    11. (11) This verse is a basic principle found in Scripture [Lk.18:14; Matt.23:12; Jam.4:6,10; 1 Pet.5:5; Prov.3:34]
      1. Humility – Or, Rising Downward!
      2. It not only draws others to us, but draws God to us.
      3. “Imagine a world where everyone competed to outserve the other.” (Irwin McManus; Uprising; pg.46.)
    12. 3RD GAME – GUESS WHO’S COMIN TO DINNER! (12-14)
    13. This host was self-seeking in his selection of guests.
    14. We should examine the motives behind all our generosity:
    15. [1] A man may give from a sense of duty.
    16. [2] A man may give purely from motives of self-interest.
      1. But not if he invites someone who can’t ever invite him to his next feast! {i.e. can’t reciprocate}
    17. [3] A man may give in order to feel superior.
      1. The Rabbis had a saying that the best kind of giving was when the giver did not know to whom he was giving, and when the receiver did not know from whom he was receiving.
    18. [4] A man may give because he cannot help it.
      1. That is the only real way to give.
      2. God gave because He so loved the world—and so must we.
    19. How much better to reach out in love to those who no one knows but God.
      1. You can be paid back in this life or the next!
    20. 4TH GAME – BALDERDASH! (15-24)
    21. A bluffing game in which you try to con your opponents into believing your made up answers.
    22. 1st The Invitation! (15-17)
    23. A pious platitude? – “We’ll all be happy when we all get to heaven!”
      1. “Are you sure you’re going to be there?”
    24. An invitation, but with an expected response.
    25. An R.S.V.P. = répondez s'il vous plaît (please respond) (To request a response)
    26. The Jews pictured their future kingdom as a great feast with the patriarchs as the honored guests(last ch. vs.28,29). [See Isa. 25:6]
      1. The originally invited guests stand for the Jews.
      2. As Bengel, the great commentator, put it, “both nature and grace abhor a vacuum,” and when the Jews refused God’s invitation and left his table empty, the invitation went out to the gentiles. (The Gospel of Luke. (W. Barclay, lecturer in the University of Glasgow, Ed.). The Daily study Bible series, Rev. ed. (186).)
      3. Jesus used this picture to illustrate the importance of accepting God’s invitation to “salvation’s supper”.
      4. All we must do is: accept the invitation, come, and be filled!
      5. God loves the world - that's why He welcomes the world to His supper table.
    27. 2nd The Excuses! (18-20)
    28. Remember we’d call out “Apple, peaches, pumpkin pie, if you’re not ready holler I!” Well we have 3 people, representing the group, all yelling out “I”!
      1. Not ready…but maybe tomorrow! [maybe when I get my company where I want it; Maybe when I make enough; Maybe when I get the girl!]
    29. Double invitation 1st to convey the invitation, & to make preparations to accept; 2nd when the Feast was ready! {Like bulletin announcements: We tell U they’re comin, & then tell you when they’re here!}
      1. Remember, the guests in this story had already agreed to come; but then they backed out. Their action and excuses were a terrible breach of etiquette as well as an insult to the host.
    30. Billy Sunday called excuses, “the skin of a reason stuffed with a lie”.
    31. Excuse #1 Business –Umm, how could he examine his property in the dark? (supper)
    32. Excuse #2 Possessions – Anybody who buys 10 oxen without 1st testing them is a fool.
    33. Excuse #3 Family – Ok 1 year honeymoon (Deut.24:5 “When a man has taken a new wife, he shall not go out to war or be charged with any business; he shall be free at home 1 yr, and bring happiness to his wife whom he has taken”) So where does this include a feast?
      1. Though all family ties are important, may they never keep us from God, from fellowship, from service!
        1. Relationships at home are dearer & sweeter when the Lord is at the head! - Don’t be selfish w/your mates time, let them go, & when you can go w/them!
      2. So their excuses were no excuses!
      3. Q: Has your occupation, possessions, or domestic duties kept you from being concerned for your soul?
    34. Tragically, people of every age judge themselves too busy or too involved in their games to respond. But this will not keep God’s house from being filled.
    35. The invited guests made their excuses and men’s excuses don’t differ much today.
      1. They make them in such a plausible & polite manner!
    36. Note also these are excuses not reasons!
      1. There is nor “reason” for refusing the gifts of the Son of God.
    37. 5TH GAME – HIDE & GO SEEK! (21-24)
    38. After counting for a predetermined number the person that is “it” says, “Ready or not, here I come!” - The person “It” then begins a search for the hiding players.
      1. Going out to seek & save those that were lost!
    39. (22) Still there is room – There is room in the precious blood of Christ; There is room in the gospel feast; There is room in Heaven!
    40. (23) This 1 sentence has been sadly misused, “Go out into the highways & compel them to come in,”.
      1. Long ago Augustine used that text as a justification for religious persecution. It was taken as a command to coerce people into the Christian faith.
      2. It was used as a defense of the inquisition, the thumb-screw, the rack, the threat of death and imprisonment, the campaigns against the heretics, all those things which are the shame of Christianity. (ibid.)
      3. Beside it we should always set another text “The love of Christ compels us”(2 Cor.5:14) - In the kingdom of God there’s only one compulsion…the compulsion of love.
      4. Vincent, Word Studies – “Not to use force, but to constrain them against the reluctance which such poor creatures would feel at accepting the invitation of a great lord.” (Vincent, M. R. (2002). Word studies in the New Testament (1:381). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.)
        1. This invitation of God is like those of Royalty, they have force of command.
    41. (24) He shut the door on the excuse-making guests, and he got others to take their places at the feast.
      1. As there was “still room at God’s feast” in vs.22 – Unfortunately there is still room in hell for those desiring an eternal Fast.
      2. Miss this Great Supper & there is no midnight snack!
    42. There are 4 different Suppers in the Bible! [1] This Great Supper [2] The Lord’s Supper [3] The Marriage Supper of the Lamb, & [4] The Supper of the Great God!
      1. If you receive the Supper of Salvation, you may partake in the next supper…the Lord’s Supper. And await the Marriage Supper of the Lamb - And never face the Supper of the Great God!
      2. If you do not “Come to the Table” at the 1st Supper; the 2nd won’t mean anything to you; you’ll miss the 3rd; but be assured you not only will be at the 4th dinner…you will be the 4th dinner!
      3. Your choice Eat or be Eaten!
    43. End: It is significant that Jesus thought of his kingdom in terms of A FEAST!
      1. The symbol of the kingdom was the happiest thing that human life could know.
      2. This is the final condemnation of the Christian who is afraid to enjoy himself.
      3. There has always been a type/brand of Christianity which has taken all the color out of life.
      4. Julian the Apostate(Emperor who rejected Christianity) spoke of those “pale-faced, flat-breasted Christians for whom the sun shone, and they never saw it.”
      5. A gloomy Christian is a contradiction in terms.
      6. Locke, the great philosopher, defined laughter as “a sudden glory.”
      7. A Christian is like a man who is forever at a wedding feast.
    44. Sometimes we speak of God as if His only use for people is to use them.
      1. But God created us for fellowship, not only with each other, but with Him. God enjoys us!
      2. Jesus wasn’t only the Savior of sinners, but the friend of sinners!
    45. Q: Are you still making excuses to God? - If so, they are as old as Adam!
      1. And remember each of these people who gave there excuse above, thought they got away with it. “He bought my excuse!” Nope! Vs.24.

Verses 25-35

  1. Intro:
    1. The Scene: Jesus left the house of the Pharisee/ruler(1); He leaves & walks away from the house(25a); then turns around to the crowd that’s following & challenges them w/some of the most solemn & searching words that ever fell from His lips.25b
      1. Understand the make up of this group: some hanging upon his every word; others interested in Him; others attracted by Him; some loved the association with his popularity; some enjoyed the miracles; some the occasional free lunch; they all felt they wanted to be with Him in some way.
      2. Jesus battles a thoughtless, hasty profession of faith.
      3. Q: What would you say if Jesus spun around this morning, pointed at you, & asked you, in front of everyone, “Why are you following Me?” - What would you say? [Oh, & you had to tell the truth!]
      4. The one who follows me is not on the way to worldly Power & Glory!
  2. WARNING THE SHALLOW! (25-35)
    1. CANDIDATES FOR DISCIPLESHIP! (25-27)
    2. Here are the terms of discipleship!
    3. (26) Comes – Strikingly different from the invitation to “come” in vs.17.
      1. This is a keynote passage on discipleship as opposed to thoughtless or hasty profession!
    4. Note the thrice-repeated phrase: vss.26,27,33 – “cannot be My disciple”.
      1. You cannot be My disciple if there is no…
    5. [1] SURRENDER TO CHRIST! (26) [Christ 1st in our Heart]
    6. Christ 1st! - He claims the highest place in every human breast!
    7. Christ 1st – APU gym GOD FIRST(motto) “it is the foremost thought of our every activity, the principal lesson of every class, & the utmost desire of every soul.”
    8. Family Ties!
      1. No interest, no love, not even family loyalties, nor my own life can be placed before him.
      2. St. Jerome said it this way, “If Christ should bid me go this way, & my mother did hang about my neck to draw me another; & my father were in my way, bowing at my knees with tears entreating me not to go; & my children plucking at my skirts should seek to pull me the other way, I must unclasp my mother, I must push to the very ground my father, & put aside my children, for I must follow Christ!” (Spurgeon At His Best; #6.415.)
    9. The stress in Matthews account(10:37) is on the priority of love: [Hate = to love less]
      1. “Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.”
      2. Nothing, not love for father or mother or even one’s own life, is to take precedence over loyalty to God and His Messiah.
    10. When there is a conflict between the highest earthly love & the call of Christ; then there is only 1 thing to be done, & that is to trample across our own hearts, & go after Him, w/o any compromise & any questions! (Morgan)
    11. Own Life!
    12. The key to unlock this warning is, of course, the phrase, “and his own life also.”
      1. Because, is there anything a man loves more than his own life?
        1. Jesus asked, “what shall a man give in exchange for his life?”
        2. Satan said, “all that a man has he will give for his life!”
      2. The theme of these verses then is not “alienation from one’s family”, but the cost of discipleship.
    13. In the 60’s everyone was trying to “Find Themselves”(people didn’t like what they found)
      In the 70’s it was “Improve Yourself”(Everyone got a gym membership, that didn’t work)
      In the 80’s it was “Serve Yourself”(we grew more/more materialistic, but that wasn’t fulfilling)
      In the 90’s it was “Love Yourself”(& we might be on this one awhile)
      In the New mill. maybe its “Protect Yourself”? (i.e. Terror Threat)
      1. But in every age it should be “Die to Self”!
    14. Maybe the best way we can understand vs.26 is if we pause & hear the footsteps, or the march, of our countries young men & women going off to war:
      1. Didn’t they love father? Mother? Didn’t they love their spouses? Their brother or sisters? Didn’t they love life???
      2. OF COURSE THEY DID! But an hour struck when something higher than the earthly calls they loved the best, appealed to them; & they went in loyalty to their countries call.
      3. And this VETERANS DAY Weekend, we honor especially those soldiers who didn’t march home! (KIA “Killed in Action”)
        1. American Revolutionary War (4,435); WWI (53,402); WWII (291,557); Korean War (33,741); Vietnam War (47,424); Afghanistan (Operation Enduring Freedom) (189);Persian Gulf War (Operation Desert Storm) (147);Iraq War/Invasion & Occupation (2003-Present) ( 2,284).
        2. Pray for Veterans – Those who have served, or are presently serving in our Armed Forces.
      4. That is just what Jesus wants! - That is what he demands!
        1. Those that will march in loyalty to His call, that supersedes any other earthly call!
        2. He calls for much; He calls for everything; He calls for the march that may have no return, & can have no compromise!
    15. Garibaldi, the great Italian Patriot [Led 1,000 volunteers in the capture of Sicily & Naples (1860)] appealed for recruits in these terms, “I offer neither pay, nor quarters, nor provisions; I offer hunger, thirst, forced marches, battles & death. Let him who loves his country in his heart, & not w/his lips only, follow me.” (Barclay; pg.201)
      1. Jesus didn’t come to make life easy but to make men great!
    16. [2] SUFFERING FOR CHRIST! (27) [Christ 1st in our Life]
    17. Ready to be, or do, or suffer whatever may be God’s will for us.
      1. This interprets the above verses. The Cross demands this loyalty!
      2. Because He goes that way, His disciples must go that way also!
      3. Today we commemorate the Persecuted Church around the world.
        1. Read about Calvary Chapel Pastor in Lanka.
    18. The picture is of the condemned criminal carrying his cross through the jeering crowds to execution. (Stibbs)
    19. When the Roman Empire crucified a criminal or captive, the victim was often forced to carry his cross part of the way to the crucifixion site.
      1. Carrying his cross through the heart of the city was the admission that Rome was right and you were wrong.
      2. So when Jesus enjoined His followers to carry their crosses and follow Him, He was referring to a public display before others that Jesus was right and that the disciples were following Him even to their deaths. (Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1983-c1985). The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of thescriptures (2:243). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.)
    20. So, what Cross?
      1. Now this has been really messed up!
      2. Some think any suffering (physical disability, loss of material things) is their cross. They say “that’s my cross to bear!”
      3. Others think their temper, or battle with worry is their cross to bear …No, these aren’t crosses, but sins!
      4. As long as suffering is egocentric(centered on your self); as long as it belongs to me personally; it is suffering!…but that is not the cross!
      5. Until we suffer vicariously(substitute); until my suffering is in sympathy w/others; & strength is being poured out to help others…that is the Cross! {We must look to Jesus’ cross to understand ours; because others died on crosses}
        1. “He emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant”(Phil.2:7)
        2. Ex: Kelly & others over Alfred’s all week (laundry/food/cleaning)
          1. If I’m going after Him…I must empty or deny myself!
          2. If you’re serious about following Jesus…you must take the same path…it’s a Cross-walk!!!
      6. So, Discipleship doesn’t mean just the salvation of the soul, but fellowship with Him in sufferings, & then joy in the triumphs!
      7. Salvation is God’s gift to us because Jesus died for us on the cross. Discipleship is our gift to Him as we take up our cross, die to self, & follow the Lord in everything.
    21. “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Gal.2:20
      1. Abraham – followed God’s leading w/o knowing where.
      2. Hannah – waited for God’s perfect timing w/o knowing when.
      3. Mary – experienced a miracle w/o knowing how.
      4. Joseph – trusted God’s purpose w/o knowing why everything happened the way it did.
    22. So, it is easy to be in the crowd but not so easy to carry the cross.
      1. After we “come in” and find salvation (23); We must “come to” Him for our cross(26); & then “come after” Him in obedience to His will (27) (Warren Wiersbe; Outlines of the NT.)
    23. [3] SUBSTANCE FOR CHRIST! (33) [Christ 1st in our Possessions]
    24. Not only all we are, but all we have is to be His.
      1. True discipleship must be ready to forsake all – relinquish everything!
    25. THE BUILDER & THE WARRIOR! (28-33)
    26. Parable of the Tower!
    27. A man desiring to Build – Risk was of non-completion. He must count the cost.
    28. Parable of the King Contemplating War!
    29. A king going to Battle - Risk was of defeat. Consider the chances of success before you send your soldiers into battle.
    30. It’s as if Jesus said, “I’m in the world for Building & Battling”. Therefore, I’m looking for quality work men & able soldiers.
      1. Q: Who do you want working on your house?
        Q: Who do you want going into battle with you?
      2. At Caesarea Philippi He said, “on this rock I will build my church.” And then He adds, “& the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.”
      3. He is into both Construction & Destruction! (upstairs offices)
    31. This is the whole Biblical Revelation:
      1. It all started in a Garden, & will end with a City! (That’s Building)
      2. On the way in this building process, because of sin, the Lord is…a Man of War!
    32. We also have this identical picture of Building & Battling in Nehemiah 4! {The Sword & the Trowel}
      1. Read 4:7-9 & 17,18. - Show the Sword & Trowel.
      2. Sword - you will learn to wield the Word of God by using it often.
      3. Trowel What is your part of the wall to build for His kingdom?
        1. Q: What instrument, tool, or weapon are your hands very comfortable with? {Guitar, needle & thread, gun, hammer, computer}
        2. Q: How did we get comfortable w/these? (Using them often)
      4. “Our hands must be familiar with the sword against the attack of our spiritual enemies; & familiar with the trowel to contribute our bit of work toward God’s building.” (F. B. Meyer)
      5. Jesus wants men/women who will stand by Him, laying brick on brick, though the bullets fly. (G. Cambell Morgan; The Gospel According to Luke; pg.179.)
        1. This is why His terms are severe!
    33. The Story of Gideon comes to mind also!
      1. God can do more with 300 men who lap, than with 32,000 of a mixed-allegiance.
      2. He is looking for quality not quantity!
      3. “I want men & women with me who will stand by Me until the building is done, & the battle is won!”
    34. The Lord never said it would be easy to be a Christian, never once! (G. Cambell Morgan; The Gospel According to Luke; pg.175.)
      1. We do a great injustice to the kingdom of God to promote Christianity as the secret of having a good time!
      2. No…It’s a Crusade!
        1. Problem w/the Crusade’s is that they set down their spiritual sword, & took physical swords upon the heathen!
        2. Crusade = from Latin crux “cross.” {The Cross underlies it beg to end}
        3. 1 definition of Crusade is: “a vigorous concerted action to promote or eliminate something.” [A Cross-ade!]
        4. Jesus’ Crusade then is to promote his love & eliminate sin.
    35. THE TANG! (34,35) [Tang = a sharp strong taste]
    36. Parable of the Savorless Salt! (34,35)
    37. Salt/Tang, the quality of discipleship - Risk was of insipidity(dull, bland, w/o flavor).
      1. The Christian by his courage, his hope, his cheerfulness, & his kindness, brings a new flavor into life.
        1. Q: If Christianity was an Ice Cream flavor what flavor would yours be? – Vanilla? (Rocky Road?)
    38. He is looking for those with “salty character” who will help Him influence this decaying world!
    39. Salt a.k.a. Sodium Chloride - Sodium is an extremely active element found naturally only in combined form; it always links itself to another element. Chlorine, on the other hand, is the poisonous gas that gives bleach it offensive odor. When sodium and chlorine are combined, the result is sodium chloridecommon table salt—the substance we use to preserve meat and bring out its flavor. (Galaxie Software. (2002; 2002). 10,000 Sermon Illustrations. Biblical Studies Press.)
      1. In forming the bond, sodium becomes a positively charged ion, by “giving up” its valence electron to chlorine, which then becomes a negatively charged ion.
      2. For Sodium to become Sodium-Chloride it must give part of itself up!
    40. (34) “Salt is good, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored?” (ESV)
      1. Salt is good only as long as it contains the characteristics of saltiness.
      2. Q: What do you do with gum that loses its taste? (it goes rt under the Pew!)
      3. When a thing loses its essential quality, & fails to perform its essential duty, it is fit for nothing but to be thrown away.
    41. (35) Let him hear – Did anyone hear? – If so who did?
      1. Wouldn’t you love to know the result of this warning?…Who hung around?...Who departed? (Look at 15:1,2)
      2. Some have humble ears to hear; some are deafened by their pride!
    42. Salvation is free, but it is not cheap!
      1. It involves repentance, commitment, & renunciation of anything that stands in the way of the abundant life to which Christ calls His disciples. (Shepherd’s Notes; pg.55)
Copyright Statement
These files are the property of Brian Bell.
Text Courtesy of Calvary Chapel of Murrieta. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on Luke 14". "Bell's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cbb/luke-14.html. 2017.