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Reform Magazine | October 22, 2019

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Chapter & verse: Luke 14:1 and 7-14

Chapter & verse: Luke 14:1 and 7-14

Carlton Turner on why you might not want to invite Jesus over for dinner

Mining the context of Jesus’ sharp words in this text (‘For all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted,’) I can only come away with one radical conclusion: Jesus is not the person to invite into your house if you want ‘proper’ behaviour. Jesus will speak his mind, and it will not be comfortable.

This is the third time that Jesus has been invited by the Pharisees to eat as a guest of honour. The Pharisees were a sect of religious elites who were regarded as expert interpreters of the law and ancient traditions. Every time Jesus eats with the Pharisees, he disrupts the dinner and rails against the host. In Luke 7:36-50 we find Jesus being invited to a meal where a woman anoints his feet. Jesus tells the host, Simon, that the ‘sinful’ woman was much more righteous than Simon. Again, in Luke 11:37-43, after being reprimanded by the host for not washing before dinner, Jesus launches into a tirade: ‘Now you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. You fools! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also?’ He continues: ‘Woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and herbs of all kinds, and neglect justice and the love of God.’ Harsh words indeed to the person feeding you!

By the time we come to Jesus’ third invitation by a leader of the Pharisees, you would have thought they would have learned their lesson. It is the Sabbath, and Jesus heals a man while at the Pharisee’s house. This caused a stir. He pointed out the hypocrisy in their use of the law for trivial things but not for big matters such as health and wellbeing. In classic Jesus style, he observes their behaviour and decides to make a public declaration about their lack of humility. Jesus admonishes them to always choose the lower place – it would be embarrassing if they chose VIP seats, to only be demoted afterwards.

All this is understandable, but Jesus doesn’t stop there. He says something strange, something purposely against the Pharisees…

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This is an extract from an article that was published in the October 2019 edition of Reform

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