Going Deeper 8-30-19

Luke 14:1, 7-14   On one occasion when Jesus was going to the house of a leader of the Pharisees to eat a meal on the sabbath, they were watching him closely. … When he noticed how the guests chose the places of honor, he told them a parable.  "When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not sit down at the place of honor, in case someone more distinguished than you has been invited by your host; and the host who invited both of you may come and say to you, 'Give this person your place,' and then in disgrace you would start to take the lowest place.  But when you are invited, go and sit down at the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher'; then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at the table with you.  For all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted."  He said also to the one who had invited him, "When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, in case they may invite you in return, and you would be repaid.  But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind.  And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you, for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous."


This theme continuously echoes throughout the life and the teachings of Jesus.  One might conclude that either it is something so important that it bears repeating, or Jesus’ followers are so slow to learn that they need to hear it over and over again.  Of course, I believe it to be both. 


Jesus not only taught this last-will-be-first-and-the-first-will-be-last concept, He modeled it.  Jesus modeled this to the extreme, setting aside His divine authority to become human; and not only human, but a servant/slave.  Instead of coming as a political and/or religious leader, Jesus came as a lowly carpenter and itinerant teacher.  Instead of amassing military power, Jesus allowed Himself to be crushed by it.  And this Lord and teacher even washed feet!


The calling to humble ourselves and to serve rather than to be served runs counter to both our broken sinful nature and the ways of the world in which we live.  That is why this vitally important teaching bears repeating… and repeating… and repeating.  This takes a lifetime to learn, and even the most mature of Jesus-followers will still struggle to fully practice humble service flowing from pure motives.  That reality is why we must continually seek the transforming power of the Holy Spirit.  Left to ourselves, we not only cannot practice this radical life-style, we won’t really want to.  We must seek the inspiring and empowering Spirit of God and open ourselves up to the Spirit’s work.


Finally, it is also important to understand that the foundation of all of this is love, and for us to love more and more like Jesus, we must continue to experience God’s love more and more profoundly in our own lives.  Never forget: loved people love people.


With You in His Love,


Mark Gabbert, Pastor

Zion Lutheran Church, Wellington, Colorado


“No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.”