We return in our study of the word of God to the gospel of Luke; gladly do we do that. Eagerly have I arrived again here after many months of missing it and what a joy it is to come into the 14th chapter. Chapters 14 and 15 of Luke's gospel are very significant chapters. There will be much material here familiar to you and yet you will see in it new insights, wondrous things to behold. At this particular time in the life of our Lord Jesus, it is only months until His death. He is moving, although not in a direct line, from town and village around the area of Judea, ultimately headed to that final Passover in Jerusalem.
On one such day in one unnamed town, He goes to a luncheon with a Pharisee and that's how chapter 14 begins. "It came about when He went into the house of one of the leaders of the Pharisee on the Sabbath to eat bread that they were watching Him closely. And there in front Him was a certain man suffering from dropsy. And Jesus answered and spoke to the lawyers and Pharisees saying, ‘Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath or not?’ But they kept silent. And He took hold of him and healed him and sent him away. And He said to them, ‘Which one of you shall have a son or an ox fall into a well and will not immediately pull him out on a Sabbath Day?’"
They could make no reply to this. Chapter 13 ends with a judgment pronunciation. Verse 34, Jesus says, "Oh Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those sent to her, how often I wanted to gather your children together just as a hen gathers her brood under her wings and you would not have it. Behold your house is left to you, desolate. And I say to you, you shall not see me until the time comes when you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.’" It's over for you, He says. I tried to gather you often. You would not. You are the city that kills the prophets, stones the messengers of God and, of course, they would kill Him as well.
I pronounce judgment. You are left to yourselves apart from God to face His judgment. That is a very defining, culminating statement at the end of the 13th chapter; this after years of the ministry of Jesus; this after uncounted miracles; this after teaching day in and day out; this after expressing His compassion and kindness every way imaginable; every demonstration of His deity having been made and made clearly, every profound lesson that came from His lips and right from the mind of God, Himself, rejected; and only a small group of people who have believed in Him.
And the question that arises here at the moment of this judgment and the pronunciation of this desolation and God abandoning them is: How did they ever get to that point? How could it have happened that He came unto His own people and His own received Him not? How could they be so blind? How could they be see...in such darkness? How could they not see it? And the answer comes in a pretty clear way: because they had been prepared in their religious viewpoints and convictions and beliefs by false teachers who were very effective.
They were, of course, sinful and they loved their sin. And they were in darkness and they chose their darkness, but they were confirmed in this condition by their religion, which made the bondage so strong. And the ones who wrapped them in this bondage were none other than their religious leaders. The Bible warns from front to back about false teachers and the deadly, eternally destructive impact they have on people. Satan, himself, is disguised as an angel of light, purveying false religion in order to capture men's souls. All his messengers are angels of light says the Bible. They come offering light; they bring only darkness and death.
Hosea put it this way, "Like people, like priest." People are like their leaders. The Jews had rejected the Messiah. They had rejected their Lord, their Redeemer, their Savior, the Son of God and consequently they forfeited salvation and they forfeited an entrance into the kingdom of heaven and they forfeited eternal life, missing forever what they had for centuries waited for. Now how did they get so deep into a religious system that they could come to the conclusion that their very Messiah, Redeemer and the Son of God was an agent of Satan meant to distract them away from the truth and thus they needed to eliminate Him.
How could they be so wrong? The answer is they were led astray by their trusted leaders, who had wrapped them up in the chains of a system of religion that doomed them to hell. And who were these leaders? Well, they're Pharisees. And we meet them in the beginning of chapter 14 and we shall be dealing with them through chapter 14 and chapter 15 in some of the most powerful teaching that our Lord ever gave. Jesus here confronts the influencers of Judaism, the purveyors of popular religion. By all Jewish standards, the Pharisees were the representatives of God.
They were good. They were moral. They were fastidious about God's law. They were religious, extremely religious, extremely moral, extremely on the outside righteous. The people were sure they were the favorites of God and knew the way to heaven. This is very informational historically, but it's much more than that. It's very applicational in terms of our world today because the assumption today is that it's the good people who can be sure they're going to heaven. You hear this all the time. The good people are going to go to heaven, particularly the good religious people. I mean, if you're good you'll probably get there, but if you're good and religious you're a shoe-in.
And then if you are not only good but religious and also worship the God of the Bible, you know, there's no question about the fact that you're headed for heaven. One very prominent TV evangelist who's on all the time has said that Jews, even today, do not need the gospel of Jesus Christ to go to heaven. They have their own way that God designed for them. Well, that's exactly what the Pharisees believed, exactly. In fact, they saw the gospel of Jesus Christ as an attack, as an assault and that is why you have probably the most well-known and notable Pharisee on the pages of Scripture, the man by the name of Saul of Tarsus, going around breathing out threatenings and slaughters against the Christians and thinking he was doing the will of God by killing Christians and slamming them in prisons.
These people were well intentioned. They were driven by their religious beliefs. And the Son of God came into conflict with them. They were the fastidious architects of popular Judaism, which dominated the thinking of the people at the time of Jesus and before and after. And when Jesus came and told them that the system was not of God and that it would not usher them into the kingdom of God, he became their archenemy. The truth of the matter is that those religious leaders, as zealous as they were, as passionate, as loyal to their system as they were, as careful as they were, were driving people away from the kingdom of God.
Now Jesus brings this to a focal point and Luke helps us to see it in these two chapters. And it all sort of begins with lunch at the house of a Pharisee. This is one incident going down through verse 24, one incident on one day at one lunch in the house of a Pharisee. And with this we begin to see judgment pronounced directly on these Pharisees. And when you ask the question: Why is that Jerusalem kills the prophets and has through its history? Why is it that they stoned the messengers of God? Why is it that they have rejected their Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ? Why is it that the pronouncement of judgment falls? It is because they have followed false teachers.
Now you say well didn't they have any discernment? You have to understand this was a very, very compelling system. Let me give you a little background. Pharisees were devout. They were religious. If you saw one in the street, you hailed him. They loved to be called father and teacher and rabbi and master. And they cultivated that. They cultivated it everywhere they went. They expected people to revere them and honor them. And they were easily identifiable, for they enlarged all the apparatus that they wore, whether it was the phylacteries on their arms or their heads or the tassels on their garments, they were clearly Pharisees and when people came across a Pharisee, they were expected to revere them.
And when there was an occasion to have a meal, they wanted the top seats. They put themselves in places of prominence and demanded that people recognize their devotion and their extreme righteousness. They are a classic illustration of how damning the most serious kind of religion can be, even Judaism. And they illustrate for us why our Lord Jesus turned from Israel to the Gentiles. Let me tell you a little about the Pharisees. They were born in a revolt, a spiritual revolt against the inroads of Greek and Roman culture.
As Greek and Roman culture began to seep into the land of Israel, they became concerned that the people were buying into these idolatrous fashions, these pagan superstitions, these ideas, these philosophies that were very seductive. And so at a time in the history of Judaism when the Jews were being most influenced by the Greeks, first of all, and then by the Romans, the Pharisees began to collect themselves. The term simply means separatists.
They were separatists. They wanted to separate from the culture, the world that was encroaching upon them and pull back into the purity of Judaism. They became especially prominent in the period between the Old and the New Testament around 160 B.C. that we know as Maccabean Period. This was at a time when the Greeks were dominating the land and Greek culture and Greek immorality and Greek thought and Greek religion was seeping in. It was at that time that this movement began. They were really a return to the...to the Old Testament. It was a back to the Bible movement. It was a fundamentalist movement. It was a restoration movement. It was a recovery. Perhaps the two most notable of them would be Rabbi Hillel and Rabbi Shammai. Both lived in the decades just prior to Christ. They had a great influence.
So that their particular legacy shows up in some of the discussions and debates that Jesus has. And when He's debating with some of these Pharisees, He knows that some of them are Hillelites and some of them are Shammaiites because of how they view the Old Testament. These men had an immense effect. So you have it about 160 B.C. right through the time of Christ. These two rabbis being the dominant ones and their influence continued in two schools of thought that lasted for a couple of centuries after Christ. But during the time of Jesus, these Pharisees were the recognized leaders of religion among the people. They were a middle class movement, and they were laymen.
They were not the priests. They were not those that ran the temple, the Sadducees. They were the religious liberals. They were the elite. They were the ones who denied angels, denied the resurrection, denied the spiritual realm. And so they had cut themselves off. They...the Sadducees were the religious elite, they compromised with Rome. They were the politicians. They went to bed with the Romans which caused them to be disrespected by the people. And they basically ran the temple operation, the ritual, the sacrifices, the great festivals that occurred there, but the Pharisees were a grass-roots movement. They were a middle class movement. They were lay people, they were not priests, and they had a strategy. If we want to bring the people back to the word of God, if we want to bring the people back to the law of God, if we want to separate from the world, the only way to do it is to have influence at every local point.
And they did. They basically dominated the synagogues. There's one temple in Jerusalem. The Sadducees oversee that. That's ritual and ceremony, but in every city and village and town all throughout the land of Israel, there were synagogues. There were synagogues and in every community and neighborhood there was a synagogue, [???]synagogues, a gathering place. They were born really out of the Babylonian captivity when they didn't have a temple and they gathered and when they came back to the land, they still had that idea of gathering together in smaller groups. And so the Pharisees began to take over at the local level and to communicate their teachings at that level in every community. Some of them rose to very prominent positions and became members of the Sanhedrin, the ruling body of Israel.
In order to support their movement, they needed some scholars, because they basically were lay people and they needed some scholastics to come along and undergird the movement and those were the scribes, or lawyers, law experts. Just like we do today. You might say they were a Bible church movement, and they went out to the grassroots and planted their little Bible churches as it were. Their Bible synagogues everywhere they could or they took over the synagogues that were there with their teaching and they undergirded their teaching scholarship from the scribes, just like we do today. We have a church and we teach the word of God and we depend upon scholars to help us understand Scripture and theology.
They had absolutely no interest in politics. They never engaged in politics. They were basically indifferent to politics, even religious politics. They left all the religious politicking to the Sadducees and to the Zealots, which was another group. They were not like the Essenes, they were aesthetics. They didn't want to influence anybody. They just wanted to go out into a cave and contemplate their navel. And of course, they had a marginal influence.
But they knew that if they were going to pull the people back to the law, they had to get into the communities and influence there, and in the synagogues they began to teach and they were teaching and teaching during the time of Jesus. A synagogue, by the way, is a school. It's a place of religious education. Even on a Sabbath when you went there somebody would read the word of God and then explain it. It was basically modeled on what Ezra did in Nehemiah 8 to bring the revival to the restored people. When he took the book and read it and gave the meaning of it. That's what they did. It was expositional preaching.
As Jewish society had moved toward worldliness and secularism and paganism and materialism and idolatry, these were the fighting fundamentalists who called the people to be faithful to Scripture and in order to help them be faithful to Scripture, they created all kinds of additional laws and rules and regulations to put big fences and insulation around them. In other words, worrying that you might break a law that God gave, they made five other laws so you couldn't even get close to breaking that law.
But everything they taught centered on their revering the law of God. Synagogues, as I said, really invented religious education on a local level. They took Judaism to the people and the people bought it. They were the influencers of Judaism at the time of the Lord. They took Judaism out of the hands of the priests, who were just the ritualists in one sense. Although the scattered priests certainly did function in the synagogue, the Pharisees were the dominant force. They made the law accessible to the people. You know, they did in a sense what the Reformation did. They moved...They moved the religion from being sacerdotal, sacramental, ritual, and ceremony into the hands of the people.
They took the Scriptures to the people and taught and explained it. And they were against any corrupted form for Judaism such as Sadducees, and Zealots and even then Essenes. Summing it up, they were characterized by strong doctrine; strong doctrine. When they engaged in questions with Jesus, they were questions about doctrine. Which is the greatest commandment? Their questions were doctrinal questions. In fact, they were so committed to the teaching of the law of God and its doctrine, that in Matthew 23, where Jesus denounces them, He begins by saying, "The scribes and Pharisees have seated themselves in the chair of Moses."
They've taken the posture, the authoritative posture regarding the law; they are strong on the law. Therefore all they tell you do and observe. When they tell you what Moses said, when they tell you the law of Moses, you observe it. You do it. Their doctrine was strong and Jesus' theology was closer to theirs than anybody else's. Not only were they strong in doctrine, but committed to scriptural authority. They didn't equivocate on the inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture. In fact, every time a synagogue meeting occurred, somebody read the word of God. It was taken out, it was unrolled, it was handed to someone, it was read and then the teacher sat down, the rabbi sat down, and explained it. That's what they did. It was about the authority of the word of God. They were also committed to moral living. Strong doctrine, scriptural authority and moral living; they had a righteousness. They had a level of morality. Paul says according to his own life measuring it against the law of God, he was blameless, at least externally.
He was zealous for the traditions. He was a Pharisee of the Pharisees. He was loyal. Jesus even commented on their righteousness. He says there is a righteousness of the Pharisees, but if you're going to be in my kingdom, your righteousness has to exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees. They prayed, they prayed daily, they prayed routinely through the day many times. They were engaged in evangelism: According to Matthew 23:15, they went across land and across sea to find one convert. In the end they made him more a son of hell than themselves. But they were aggressive in evangelism. They were fasting as the one in Luke 18 claims. They were charitable. That same Pharisee said he gives a tithe of everything he possesses away. So here you have the good people; the good religious people; the good, religious people worshiping the true God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the creator God of Israel. They are rejecting paganism. They are rejecting superstition. They are rejecting false religion, immorality. They're strong on the family. They are the guardians of the faith. They see themselves as the protectors of the truth.
And this gets very visceral. I mean this gets right down into your soul. When you see yourself as a protector of the truth and along comes someone assaulting what you think is the truth. That's why, like the apostle Paul, you go out and you catch these Christians who you think are assaulting your truth and you throw them in prison and you kill them if need be to protect the honor of God and the law of God and the true religion.
Some of them, we have to say, were complimentary of Jesus. I mean, they're not all exactly the same, but some of them — and this is the exception not the rule — some of them had some objectivity about Jesus. In John 9:16 after Jesus healed the man born blind some of the Pharisees were saying this man is not from God because He doesn't keep the Sabbath. That was so obvious indicating their bias. They'd just seen a man born blind be given eyes. And the obvious response would be wow, that's a divine act. Their thing was He can't be from God because He did it on the Sabbath.
That shows you how steeped they are in their law. But others of them were saying, “How can a man who is a sinner perform such signs?” That even sort of sounds Jewish doesn't it? So, some of them had some measure of objectivity. And there was that debate that Paul launched in the 23rd chapter of Acts where he got the Pharisees and the Sadducees kind of going at each other there. And some in the Pharisaic party, Acts 23:9, stood up and began to argue saying we find nothing wrong with this man. Some of the Pharisees actually couldn't find anything wrong with Paul or his testimony. Some actually became believers by the way. Some became believers.
So here and there on occasion there was some objectivity, there was some interest, there was some reasonableness and there was some who believed. Nicodemus, Nicodemus was a Pharisee and he came to Jesus to find out about the new birth. Joseph of Arimathea, who took Jesus body to be buried in his grave. And there were others. Acts 15:5 says some of the Pharisees believed. And then there was Saul who, one of the Pharisees, became Paul.
But these were the exceptions. For the most part, they despised Jesus. Back in chapter 11 of Luke and verse 53, when He left there the scribes and the Pharisees — scribes again are their scholars who undermine their system — the scribes and the Pharisees began to be very hostile and to question Him closely on many subjects plotting against Him, to catch Him in something He might say. They were hostile, they were hateful, and they were after Him. Jesus called them blind, Matthew 23. He called them snakes. He called them sons of hell and He calls them hypocrites. But they were religious and devout and zealous and moral and studious and serious and vigilant and protecting Scripture. They were charitable. They were righteous. All those things; and it meant absolutely nothing, absolutely nothing.
All the religion there is and all the goodness humanly speaking there is, is meaningless if you reject Jesus Christ, if you reject Jesus Christ. They shut themselves off from the kingdom and they shut the people they influenced off from the kingdom. Now let's go to lunch, verse 1, this lunch. Not yours. Verse 1, "It came about when He went into the house of one of the leaders of the Pharisees on the Sabbath to eat bread." We'll stop right there for a moment. He went into the house of one of the leaders of the Pharisees. We don't exactly who this man was. We don't know where this took place and “it came about” is pretty vague; somewhere, sometime in the last months on His travels before His final entry into Jerusalem.
The word “leader” or “ruler” means a prominent Pharisee, maybe the ruler of a synagogue maybe even more prominent than that, higher than that, maybe a member of the Sanhedrin, we don't know. But they loved to have meals. They loved to have dinners and that was a part of life in the ancient Near East and they did it all the time and they were times of hospitality and times of fellowship and of course, for these guys it was a time for them to get with their cronies and to re-enforce and reaffirm themselves in the eyes of the people. So they would only invite those people that would elevate them. So this would be a meeting of the rich and the elite scribes and Pharisees.
And verse 3 says, "Jesus spoke to the lawyers and Pharisees." So while it was at the house of one of the leaders there were many other Pharisees and scribes who were there. So it was a gathering of the elite. They always fought to find the status among the people and yet at the same time they kept themselves distant from the people, they feeling themselves superior to the people. They wanted to make sure they kept away from the outcasts and the rejects; very exclusive, very separatistic, which does raise the question of how Jesus got there.
But apparently it had happened before. He had been invited to lunch with the Pharisees. Now He is invited again. It says He went into the house of one of the leaders of the Pharisees on the Sabbath to eat bread. He went there to eat bread because we assume He was invited there. That, in itself, might be shocking since they felt that He was possessed of a demon and therefore would be the unclean of the unclean. The meal was subject by the way on the Sabbath to more restrictions than any other meal and all their meals were subject to the restrictions, but this one to more restrictions. It says “to eat bread” and the reason they ate bread on the Sabbath is because you couldn't cook anything and so the bread would have to be made the day before. Couldn't do any work on the Sabbath. That meant you couldn't cook anything and they would probably have something you could dip the bread in and it was pretty much what the meal was all about.
The Sabbath was filled with so many, many restrictions. So Jesus is there and we can ask the question why? If this is...this is by the way after the synagogue meeting in the morning. On a Sabbath they would go to the synagogue, they would have their service at the synagogue and then they would do what you do, they would go to lunch and here's this lunch which would last for a long time. It's about to be dominated by Jesus all the way down to verse 24 as we'll see in the coming weeks, but it starts by Him arriving to join them on a Sabbath to eat bread. Why was He there?
Answer, they were watching Him closely. There's something insidious about that verb. It means to watch lurkingly. It means to watch with suspicion. It means to spy in an insidious fashion. They had Him there because they wanted to set Him up. The Sabbath was the high point of their week in terms of law keeping. Therefore it was the potential high point of their week for law breaking. Law breaking or law keeping reached its apex on the Sabbath when an endless array of regulations made the effort to comply exhausting so that it became anything but a day of rest. They wanted Jesus to violate the Sabbath to give proof that He was not from God.
They had done this before. Look back at chapter 6 for a moment. In chapter 6, very similar occasion had taken place in verse 6. It was on a Sabbath. He entered the synagogue. He was teaching. There was a man whose right hand was withered, paralyzed in some fashion, and the scribes and Pharisees were watching Him closely. There's that same word. They were watching Him closely to see if He healed on the Sabbath. You can transport that right over to chapter 14. "They were watching Him closely to see if He was going to violate the Sabbath in order that they might find reason to accuse Him." There it is in verse 7. That's the plan. That's the set up. That's what they're after.
But He knew what they were thinking, of course. "Then He said to the man with the withered hand, rise and come forward, he rose and came forward. Jesus said to him, I ask you is it," to them, "is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save a life or to destroy it?" And after looking around at them all, He said to him, "Stretch out your hand and he did so and his hand was restored." Here's their reaction, verse 11. "They themselves were filled with rage and discussed together what they might do to Jesus." Why? Because He did it on the Sabbath. They were so entrenched in their religion they missed the fact that He gave the man a new hand. "You talk about straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel." Their sense of proportion is ridiculous.
Chapter 13, verse 10, "He was teaching in one of the synagogues on a Sabbath. Behold there was a woman who for eighteen years,” eighteen years, had had sickness caused by a demon. She was bent over double, couldn't straighten up at all and when Jesus saw her, He called her over and said to her woman you're freed from your sickness. He laid hands on her, immediately she was made erect again. Began glorifying God. Wow. And the synagogue official indignant, a Pharisee, because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath.
He's mad. He's furious. And this is what he says. "There are six days in which work should be done, therefore come during them and get healed." I mean, it just escapes him that she got healed. People didn't get healed like that. Don't get healed on the Sabbath day. So we know their view of the Sabbath. We know that healing is against their law. You see the Bible never said that. There's nothing in the Bible about you can't go to the doctor, you can't get well on a Sabbath. There's nothing in the Old Testament that says you can't be doctored, you can't be cured, you can't be cared for in any sense. Nothing at all, but they had said, well, we don't want anybody to work on the Sabbath and they might slip over the line and work a little bit, so let's make more rules and more rules and more rules and more rules so they don't even get near to breaking the Sabbath.
So the basic rabbinical rule was that you could only be doctored, you could only be cared for, you could only be cured or ministered to if you're going to die immediately on the Sabbath. But if it's not death imminent, wait till the Sabbath is over. So they...but they know Jesus has no regard for that silliness, that lack of compassion, that folly, that legalism. They also know He declared Himself to be the Lord of the Sabbath, which was the most extreme statement in their minds that He ever made, because the Sabbath was the purest representation of the dominant law of God. It all came into its pinnacle there. And for Him to say He's Lord of the Sabbath that was unmistakably a claim to be God.
And so the further set-up in verse 2, they put in front of Him a certain man suffering from dropsy. Dropsy, [???]hudropikos, first part is hydro, water. Dropsy is edema. Dropsy was water retention. Accumulation of serous fluids in a tissue and in the body cavity, bloating. In itself it's not a disease, but a symptom of a disease. It could be a number of things, serious compromises in the liver or the kidneys or the heart or all three. It's kind of a bloating, indicates perhaps congestive heart failure. It could be liver disease. Alcoholism was a reality in ancient days and alcoholism can fill the abdomen with gallons of fluid. When pumped out they will return.
But the point I think you need to know is that in Jewish rabbinical view somebody who had this condition was seen as a vile sinner and they thought that this was related to sexual sin, that this betrayed the judgment of God upon a person for their immorality, or that it was a serious uncleanness because it was related to the body's failure to eliminate. In either case, this is either a wicked, immoral man or a very unclean man. Serious uncleanness related to this condition.
In any case that man would not be invited to lunch for sure unless he was there for some purpose. It's pretty clear what the set-up was. Drop him right in front of Jesus. Why? So Jesus could heal him. Isn't it amazing? Do a miracle so we can for sure not believe in you. This is like counter intuitive. This is like backwards. But there he is right in front of Jesus. They know exactly how Jesus feels about their ridiculous laws. They know exactly what He is capable of doing and they want Him to break their law. Therein lies something of their duplicity and hypocrisy. They're supposed to try to keep people from breaking the law. They want Jesus to break the law by healing the man.
Jesus speaks, verse 3. "He answered and spoke to the lawyers and Pharisees saying, ‘Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath or not?’" Come on give me your law. He knew the answer. The answer was: It is not lawful. That was their view. That was their perspective, chapter 13, that's exactly what the man said. There are six days for this kind of stuff. You don't do this on the Sabbath. This edema is not immediately terminal; wait till the Sabbath is over. But they didn't want to answer. You say, why did they keep silent? Verse 4: "They kept silent." Why?
It doesn't tell us why, but my...my sense of it is this, that they wanted Him to do the healing, so they didn't want to put any prohibition in His way. If they had made a case: It's wrong, don't do it on the Sabbath, the man is not terminal, they might have stopped Jesus from doing it. And then they would have lost their moment, so they don't say anything. They had an answer. It is not lawful. But they don't want to say that because they want Jesus to heal him. And that's what He does. I love this.
Verse 4: "He took hold of him and healed him and sent him away." That verb took hold of him really strong, very, very strong verb, [???] epilombano. It's used in Acts, I think it's chapter 19 or chapter 16, verse 19 and in that particular passage it says, "They seized Paul and Silas and dragged them to jail." Very strong word, it's used in the gospels of Jesus taking hold of a child and setting them in the midst. He literally wrapped this man up, this bloated man with sick organs manifest in this edemic condition. Why did He do that? He did it without hesitation. He did it forcefully. He did it unmistakably. He did it defiantly. Instead of keeping His distance in healing the man out of compassion in such a way as it might not be clear what had happened, He just grabs the man, seizes him, crushes him in His arms as if to squeeze the fluid out and gives him a new heart, and a new liver, and a new anything else he needed, and creates in the man a whole new set of internal organs.
And then He says, "You can go." That's an interesting little note. “And sent him away.” We know that if He sent him away, He knew he wasn’t supposed to be there. He wasn't one of the guests. The purpose for which you came is done, now go home. And truthfully that was the kind thing to do, right? Because if He said, “Stay for lunch,” the guy's going to be sitting there saying I need to tell my wife what happened. Can I get out of here? Right? I've got to tell my family what happened. I don't want any lunch, let me out of here. So it's as if Jesus says I understand you want to go. Go.
And that's betraying the fact that the man was never a guest for any purpose other than this. And so He healed him, instantly, completely. Miracles, by the way, are rare in this section of Luke. Jesus spends most of His time teaching and preaching. There's just a few...Just a couple of miracles really from here on out. The simplicity of the text is staggering. The ease with which He creates, no effort, no fanfare, this is the power of God. And at that moment Pharisees had what they wanted, they thought. A healing violating the Sabbath, forget the healing idea, He violated the Sabbath. And He did it to an unclean, sinful man under divine judgment. What a law breaker He is. What a law breaker.
But before they could say anything, before they could level their accusation, He said to them, verse 5. He knew what they were thinking, just as in the earlier text. "Which one of you shall have a son," and some texts, I think the New King James says a donkey, but the better reading, the original better reading is son. "Which one of you shall have a son or an ox fall into a well and will not immediately pull him out on a Sabbath day?" Don't kid me. You...He could have said you hypocrites. If your ox falls in, you're going to get him out. Remember back in chapter 13, verse 15, that's what He said. "You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the stall and lead him away to water him?" Who are you kidding?
You hypocrites! Wells by the way were everywhere in Israel and people fell into them. So did animals. You can read about that in Exodus 21. But the answer to Jesus' question is obvious. "Which one of you shall have a son," your own son, "your own ox fall into a well and you're not going to get them out on a Sabbath day." You're not going to let them drown. A beautiful picture here because the drowning of animal and the drowning of a son is similar to a man drowning in his own fluid. "I reached out to this one drowning in his own fluid. You would do the same for a son of yours or an ox." They would do it for an ox for sure.
Why? Because you have to buy another ox if one drowns. And in Luke 16:14, "Now the Pharisees," Jesus...or Luke says, "Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money," that says it doesn't it? They would do it because of the economics of it. Self interest if not animal rights. They were very good at maintaining self interest and even their tradition did allow for helping an animal in such a situation, if not on the Sabbath, but if it was your ox and it would cost you your money, you'd be out there getting your ox out of the well. And if it was your son, common sense says you'd be over there getting your son out of that well. So He unmasks them as so inconsistent.
And verse 6, "They could make no reply to this." Their silence continued. They had nothing to say, nothing. Why? Same thing as back in 13:17 in that similar situation, after He said this, all His opponents were being humiliated. They were just humiliated. They just sat there in humiliation with nothing to say. He had shown the hypocrisy that was in their hearts. Everybody knew that they would rescue their own son and their own ox even on the Sabbath. The point was this: There are some things that transcend these silly rules. Over in chapter 20 of Luke in verse 26, they were unable to catch Him in anything He said. Marveling...Marveling at His answer, they became silent.
Nothing to say. Well, that's how lunch began. I don't think it was what they had planned. It's what they got. And it doesn't get any better. Doesn't get any better. While they're having lunch over in verse 15, the statement is made, "Blessed is everyone who shall eat bread in the kingdom of God." But down in verse 24, Jesus says, "I tell you none of those men who were invited shall taste of my dinner." By the time this lunch is over, they've been told they aren’t coming to the big banquet in the kingdom of God. You can be devout, you can be dutiful, you can be outwardly good, you can be serious about God, you can be a defender of your religion, you can be a fundamentalist. You can be a protector of God's will. You can be the best of the best of people and you can reject Jesus Christ and your life is a blasphemy to God. It is a slander to His name and you are left in spiritual death and eternal judgment.
And they are the great illustration of that. They had no signs of the life of God in them. They lacked compassion. They lacked mercy. They lacked kindness. They loved money. They were spiritually proud. They were hypocrites. They were self-righteous. And they sought to kill the very Son of the living God. Folks, there's only one way to heaven and that's through faith in Jesus Christ. No other religion will get you there, but they will all keep you from getting there. Reject Jesus Christ and there never will be a place for you among the forgiven in God's eternal heaven. We're going to see next week how He then takes over lunch.
Father, again, we come to You this morning so grateful for this time of worship. We ask that You would lift our hearts to incessant and unbroken praise to You, not just here, but throughout the days and hours of our lives. Thank You for Your glorious word, for the glory of Christ, again His majesty on display. And we thank You for bringing us to the knowledge of the gospel which saves us. We thank You for showing us Christ in all His glory and we pray that we would not allow ourselves to be seduced and trapped and held in the damning bondage of a false religious system as so many are. We know these systems can be so overwhelming, so binding, so deep and so well thought out as to keep people embedded and away from the truth. We ask Lord that You'd be gracious and bring understanding of the glorious gospel to those who are captive. Free the prisoners who are bound in the dungeons and the tombs of false religion. Bring them Christ we pray for His glory. Amen.