Jesus Heals on the Sabbath
1One Sabbath, Jesus was on his way to dine with a prominent Jewish religious leader for a festive meal. Everyone was watching him to see if he would heal anyone on the Sabbath. 2Just then, standing right in front of him was a man with his limbs suffering from edema.
3Jesus asked the experts of the law and the Pharisees who were present, “Does the law permit a man to heal on the Sabbath day? Is it right or wrong?” 4No one dared answer, so Jesus turned to the sick man, released healing to him, and sent him on his way.
5Jesus said to them all, “If one of your children or one of your animals fell into a well, wouldn’t you do all you could to rescue them even on the Sabbath?”
6There was nothing they could say—all were silenced.
Humility and Hospitality
7When Jesus noticed how the guests for the meal were all vying for the seats of honor, he shared this story with the guests around the table:
8“When you are invited to an important social function, don’t be quick to sit near the head of the table, choosing for yourself a seat of honor. What will happen to you when someone arrives who is more distinguished than you? 9The host will bring him over to where you are sitting and ask for your seat, saying in front of all the guests, ‘You’re in the wrong place. Please give this person your seat.’ Disgraced, you will have to take whatever seat is left. 10Instead, when you’re invited to a banquet, you should choose to sit in the lowest place. # 14:10 See Prov. 25:6–7. When your host comes and sees you there, he may say, ‘My friend, come with me and let me seat you in a better place.’ Then, in front of all the other guests at the banquet, he will honor you by seating you in the place of highest respect.
11“Remember this: everyone with a lofty opinion of who he is and who seeks to raise himself up will be publicly humbled. And everyone with a modest opinion of who he is and chooses to humble himself will be raised up before all.”
12Then Jesus turned to his host and said, “When you throw a banquet, don’t just invite your friends, relatives, or rich neighbors—for it is likely they will return the favor. 13-14It is better to invite those who never get an invitation. If you invite the poor to your banquet, along with the outcast, the handicapped, and the blind—those who could never repay you the favor, then you will experience a great blessing in this life, and at the resurrection of the godly you will receive a full reward.”
15When they heard this, one of the dinner guests said to Jesus, “Someday God will have a kingdom feast, # 14:15 The guest at the dinner assumed God’s kingdom was coming one day, but Jesus’ parable explained that it had already begun with the invitation to come to him, the King. and how happy and privileged will be the ones who get to share in that joy!”
16Jesus replied with this parable:
“A man invited many to join him in a great feast. 17When the day for the feast arrived, the host instructed his servant to notify all the invited guests and tell them, ‘Come, for everything is now ready for you!’ 18But one by one they all made excuses. One said, ‘I can’t come. I just bought some property and I have to go and look it over.’ 19Another said, ‘Please accept my regrets, for I just purchased five teams of oxen # 14:19 This implies he was a wealthy man who foolishly chose possessions over Christ. and I need to make sure they can pull the plow.’ 20Another one said, ‘I can’t come because I just got married.’
21“The servant reported back to the host and told him of all their excuses. The master became angry and said to his servant, ‘Go at once throughout the city and invite anyone you find—the poor, the blind, the disabled, the hurting, and the lonely. Invite them to my banquet.’
22“When the servant returned to his master, he said, ‘Sir, I have done what you asked, but there’s still room for more.’
23“So the master told him, ‘All right. Go out again, and this time bring them all back with you. Persuade the beggars on the streets, the outcasts, even the homeless. Insist that they come in and enjoy the feast so that my house will be full.’
24“I say to you all, no one who receives an invitation to feast with me and makes excuses will ever enjoy my banquet.”
The Cost of Following Jesus
25As massive crowds followed Jesus, he turned to them and said, 26“When you follow me as my disciple, you must put aside # 14:26 Or “hate.” This is an Aramaic and Hebraic metaphor for putting Jesus above every other relationship. The Aramaic word sna has several meanings and can mean “hate” or “put aside.” In this case, Jesus, the King of love is not saying to hate but to put aside every other relationship into second place. The meaning becomes quite clear in the Aramaic language. your father, your mother, your wife, your sisters, your brothers; it will even seem as though you hate your own life. This is the price you’ll pay to be considered one of my followers. 27Anyone who comes to me must be willing to share my cross and experience it as his own, or he cannot be considered to be my disciple. 28So don’t follow me without considering what it will cost you. For who would construct a house # 14:28 Or “tower.” before first sitting down to estimate the cost to complete it? 29Otherwise he may lay the foundation and not be able to finish. The neighbors will ridicule him, saying, 30‘Look at him! He started to build but couldn’t complete it!’
31“Have you ever heard of a commander # 14:31 Or “king.” who goes out to war without first sitting down with strategic planning to determine the strength of his army to win the war # 14:31 The Greek text states, “With ten thousand he will be able to go up against twenty thousand.” against a stronger opponent? 32If he knows he doesn’t stand a chance of winning the war, the wise commander will send out delegates to ask for the terms of peace. 33Likewise, unless you surrender all to me, giving up all you possess, you cannot be one of my disciples.
34“Salt is good for seasoning. But if salt were to lose its flavor, # 14:34 Or “become foolish.” Both Greek and Aramaic use a word that can mean “foolish.” If salt that has lost its flavor is foolish, then the salt that keeps its flavor is equal to wisdom. Rabbinical literature equates salt with wisdom. (Eduard Schweizer, The Good News According to Matthew, Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1975.) After speaking of salt, Jesus, in Matthew 5:13–15, goes on to refer to lighting a lamp. It was a common practice in the time of Jesus to put salt on the wick of a lamp to increase its brightness. The “salt” of wisdom will make our light shine even brighter. (W. A. Elwell and P.W. Comfort, Tyndale Bible Dictionary, Tyndale reference library, Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House, 2001, 797–798.) how could it ever be restored? 35It will never be useful again, not even fit for the soil or the manure pile! # 14:35 Followers of Jesus who are unwilling to pay the price of discipleship are like worthless salt, unable to affect anything or anyone. If you have ears opened by the Spirit, then hear the meaning of what I have said and apply it to yourselves.”