I actually will start with parables. Jesus brings many parables in His style of teaching. before discussing any parables in our Luke 14-18 chapters; we need to clarify that Parables have one central message or point. To try to make some significance to all the details of a parable takes away from the desired intent of the writer.
In Luke there is several parables of interest, especially in Luke 15, where we find a number of “Lost Parables.” I have preached on these a number of times, and each time I find something new. The context of Luke 15 is the tax collectors and sinners coming to Jesus. The Pharisees protest [grumble] that He should allow such. Jesus then enters into His three parables about lostness. The reader must be reminded that Jesus came to the sick, not the healthy. The point of lostness goes from 100-1, 10-1 and 2-1 odds. The point Jesus is trying to make is that in each case the return of the Lost was met with celebration and joy. The Pharisees, are appalled that sinners are allowed to come to Jesus. The Pharisees represent the “older brother ” of the Lost Son. While the Father [God] is rejoicing over the return of the son, the Pharisees are put off because they haven’t had a blow out celebration – and they have been there all the time [not really, just self-interest]. Jesus is interested in those that are the outcasts, the undesirables and the broken of life. Churches often take the attitude of the older brother, detesting any kind of celebration over a broken sinner – dirty as they are to be counted as part of the Family of God.
The Parables earlier in Luke 14, have to do with pride and people who think they are above the rest. The glaring and embarrassing wedding where a person was asked to step down from a prestigious place to give to another, reflects that we ought to be humble, not arrogant and thinking that because we are Believers – that we are all that and a bag of chips better than everyone else. Jesus continues to bring parable after parable about life situations – only problem is that the Apostles/disciples understand what Jesus is saying. There is an underlying theme within these chapters – the broken, blind, lame, diseased and crippled are the ones Jesus came to heal. The arrogance of the religious leaders is very prominent in these parables. Twice [Luke 14:11 & 81:14] Luke tells us that exalted will be humble and the humbled will be exalted.
In chapter 17, most of the time the Parousia is looked at, while the fact Jesus is coming back is real, it seems that in three cases life was normal. Instead of looking and preparing for the Return; life went on as usual. I find it interesting that so many are trying to declare that the conditions in America and the American churches are proof that we are on the imminent threshold of Jesus’ return, yet few are doing anything about it – so I doubt if they really care about the Lost that will be going to Hell. It’s almost like a “I got my ticket, forget everyone else.”
Two verses that are very interesting are verse 9 and 16. In verse 9 we find that there should not be expected praise for that which was normal obedience. Example – I never got praised for doing the assigned chores around the house, why should I be praised for doing what is expected – no glory seekers in Heaven allowed. Second is verse 16, the Ten Lepers healing, as we know only one returned; the identification of the one being a Samaritan – obviously the others were Jews, but only the outcast Samaritan returned. The Jews probably felt they deserved to be healed, whereas the Samaritan was overjoyed to be included in the healing.
The last part of this blog looks at the Prayer of the Pharisee and the Publican. Again we have the contrast between the two attitudes. The Pharisee actually gloated over his “self-righteousness” and expected God to be pleased with his performance. But the Publican [tax collector] couldn’t lift his head, for he knew what manner of man he was, and had no place to boast. I find the pharisee prayers in the church all the time, we pray, not out of need but as to tell God how good church members we are. One who is fully aware of their sin, will not approach Church or the presence of God is a flippant manner.
Statement for the week: The World is obviously broke; but that is nothing new. The Church is also broke, for it has forgotten its place and ministry; the problem isn’t the World – for it is acting out only what it is; but the Church has no excuse for acting the way it is with it often pompous arrogance. The Church is broke – but it needs to be Broken! Broken over self-righteousness and the lost dying and going into eternity without Christ.