Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Jesus Will Mess You Up

Luke 14 is full of unrest for any disciple or church who wants to take Jesus seriously.
Check it out:
Luke 14 begins with a story about Jesus at a Pharisee's home for a meal on the Sabbath.
The four words "Jesus" "Pharisee" "meal" and "Sabbath" are never a good combination. This is a sure recipe for a theological and social explosion.
To make things worse, 14:2 tells us that a man with dropsy appears at the table. Add an "unclean" person to an-already-prescription for disaster, and now we can hear the bell ring for Round 1.
To understand chapter 14 of Luke, one must understand 14:1-6, which means we must understand "dropsy."
Contrary to belief, dropsy is not a disease of dropping things. (Preacher humor)
Dropsy is an abnormal accumulation of fluid underneath the skin. It is an anomalous swelling of fluid in the body’s tissues.
With dropsy, there is an irregular “puffing up” that noticeably takes place on one’s body.
Understand what is happening here: all of the sudden, in front of Jesus, there is a man who is abnormally “puffed up,” and the Pharisees are focused on Jesus to see if he is willing to break the Sabbath in order to “un-puff” this guy.
Get your mind around that before going on.
Jesus "unpuffs" the man, but the question that drives this story is this, "Who are really the people in the story who are puffed up?
The man with dropsy is showing physical signs of swelling, but the other people at the table:
1. The people who have outwardly cleaned their hands before eating but are carefully watching Jesus to see if he will break the Sabbath law
2. The people who have chosen to be religious with their heads only; not with their hearts
3. The people who refuse to do good on the Sabbath, but are determined to become Sabbath-judges and rule-watchers
…THESE are the people in the story who are puffed up.

Jesus heals the man who is abnormally "puffed" up, and now he is going to tell 3 stories to "unpuff" the people sitting with him at the table.
14:7-11--Jesus "unpuffs" their desire for recognition and honor.
14:12-14--Jesus "unpuffs" their desire to throw parties with strings attached. (What would it look like if a group of Christians, or even better--a church, threw a party like the one Jesus talks about here?)
14:15-24--Jesus "unpuffs" the unwillingness to RSVP to the invite to Kingdom-banquets

Jesus left the house having done serious damage.
From healing a man with dropsy, to telling stories to “un-puff” the religious leaders with egos, Jesus left the people in a place where they could not remain the same.
1. Either they would spit on Jesus words and use his stories to fuel their anger.
2. They would allow his words to transform their lives…in essence…making them followers of Jesus himself
If you want to take Jesus seriously, I'm warning you, Luke 14 will mess you up!


Rick Ross said...

I love the analogy.

By the way, doesn't T. O. have dropsy?

phil said...

“Jesus left the people in a place where they could not remain the same.”
Do you think preachers should aim for this goal every Sunday? Why or why not?

Jeff said...

Just a thought...maybe I am messed up when I'm not living Luke 14 and living it will "un-mess" me.

As my eyes are opening to God's will for me, I'm realizing what a mess I have been and still am but as I go through some spiritual battles, I'm finding God unpuffing me as I lean on Him more and more.

Ryan Fowler said...

I've enjoyed reading through your posts - Looking forward to more.

My wife and I were out at Iglesia de Cristo for the last 3 years and we would occasionally sneak over to a Syc. View worship. We've always been encouraged by our times there.