AT the feast of dedication the Jews asked Jesus to declare plainly whether He was the Christ. He answered in effect: “I have told you and you do not believe. My works also prove who I am, but you do not believe because you are not My sheep. My sheep know Me; to those who believe, I am precious. I give them eternal life, and no man can pluck them out of My Father’s hand.” Here is the security of the believer for all time!
Our Lord then declared, “I and My Father are one.” Modernists have toned down this claim of Christ, but it was such a tremendous statement that the Jews tried to stone Him for it. They recognized what some do not see today, that Jesus was making Himself God. Our Lord used the Scriptures to show them that even judges were called gods in the Old Testament (Ex. 22:28; Ps. 82:6) and how much more is it the right of God’s Son!
Jesus attended the house of a chief Pharisee and healed a man of dropsy (Luke 14:1-6). It was on the Sabbath, and again our Lord put human welfare above prejudices that allowed assistance to an animal on the Sabbath but complained at the healing of a man.
At this dinner there was, no doubt, the usual scramble for preferred seats, and Jesus gave them a parable about the evil of taking the higher seats only to be sent lower (Luke 14:7-11). The core of it is in the final words: “Whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” There is still the scramble for preferred posts, even in the churches. The worlds philosophy is “Exalt yourself,” but our business as Christians is not self-expression but Christ-expression. We must decrease that He may increase. We are but the friends of the Bridegroom, whose joy should be in hearing the Bridegrooms voice.
Our Lord went on to advise His hosts to make a supper for those who could not repay them in kind (Luke 4:12-14). We usually give to those from whom we hope to receive; but so did the Pharisees, and if your righteousness is to exceed theirs we must go the second mile and give to the unthankful or to those who cannot give in return.
He next gave the parable of the great supper with the trivial excuses of the invited. Notice, even our Lord could give no sensible excuse for not being saved, for there is none. First the rulers, then the common people, and then the Gentiles seem to be implied in the three groups (Luke 14:16-24).
Great crowds followed Jesus (Luke 14:25-35), but He laid down severe terms of absolute surrender and advised them to count the cost. Most of them were superficial disciples, for at Pentecost we find only a hundred and twenty. He wants us to know what we are doing! He will have no glib acceptance based on momentary enthusiasm. There is much salt without savor today, empty profession without the needed possession.