Jan. 26, 2021

Seven Significant Evaluations

In Luke 14 (NLT) Jesus makes Seven Significant Evaluations.

  1. In verses 2 thru 6 Jesus does a heart evaluation. Some of those present were more inclined to save an animal they owned than to see a suffering man healed of an uncomfortable and debilitating medical condition.

There was a man there whose arms and legs were swollen. Jesus asked the Pharisees and experts in religious law, “Is it permitted in the law to heal people on the Sabbath day, or not?” When they refused to answer, Jesus touched the sick man and healed him and sent him away. Then he turned to them and said, “Which of you doesn’t work on the Sabbath? If your son or your cow falls into a pit, don’t you rush to get him out?” Again they could not answer.

2. In the next set of verses, 7 thru 11, He measures humility and honor against assumption and arrogance.

When Jesus noticed that all who had come to the dinner were trying to sit in the seats of honor near the head of the table, he gave them this advice: “When you are invited to a wedding feast, don’t sit in the seat of honor. What if someone who is more distinguished than you has also been invited? The host will come and say, ‘Give this person your seat.’ Then you will be embarrassed, and you will have to take whatever seat is left at the foot of the table! 10 “Instead, take the lowest place at the foot of the table. Then when your host sees you, he will come and say, ‘Friend, we have a better place for you!’ Then you will be honored in front of all the other guests. 11 For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

 3. Jesus advised the host about who to invite to these dinners and why in verses 12 thru 14. Jesus is prodding the man to examine his motives and his guest list.

12 Then he turned to his host. “When you put on a luncheon or a banquet,” he said, “don’t invite your friends, brothers, relatives, and rich neighbors. For they will invite you back, and that will be your only reward. 13 Instead, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. 14 Then at the resurrection of the righteous, God will reward you for inviting those who could not repay you.”

 4. Verses 15 thru 24 share a parable that has at least two purposes. One purpose is to illustrate to the host the points that Jesus just explained to him. The second reason for the story is that it models some excuses for refusal and the ultimate cost of rejection. Many are invited to the Lord’s supper. He has made all the necessary provisions. Invitations have been issued. The invited guests have been summoned to respond to the call that the time has come for them to partake of what the Lord has provided. The story reveals that the initial invited guests have more interest in their property, their possessions and people in their lives than they have in what the Lord God has provided and prepared for them. They have refused His grace and His benevolence. Verse 24  ends the story with a sobering, irreversible statement, “For none of those I first invited will get even the smallest taste of my banquet.” Jesus evaluated priorities with this parable and exposed self-interests.

15 Hearing this, a man sitting at the table with Jesus exclaimed, “What a blessing it will be to attend a banquet[c] in the Kingdom of God!”

16 Jesus replied with this story: “A man prepared a great feast and sent out many invitations. 17 When the banquet was ready, he sent his servant to tell the guests, ‘Come, the banquet is ready.’ 18 But they all began making excuses. One said, ‘I have just bought a field and must inspect it. Please excuse me.’ 19 Another said, ‘I have just bought five pairs of oxen, and I want to try them out. Please excuse me.’ 20 Another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’ 21 “The servant returned and told his master what they had said. His master was furious and said, ‘Go quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and invite the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame.’ 22 After the servant had done this, he reported, ‘There is still room for more.’ 23 So his master said, ‘Go out into the country lanes and behind the hedges and urge anyone you find to come, so that the house will be full. 

 5. The next couple of verses, 26 and 27, detail and evaluate the qualifications of discipleship. The Lord Jesus must be first in your spirit, mind and heart… period.

26 “If you want to be my disciple, you must, by comparison, hate everyone else—your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple. 27 And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple.

6. Verses 28 thru 33 warn the hearers to consider what following the Lord requires and to be resolute about that decision. Don’t be naive about what the determination will require. Make a wise, informed, unrelenting choice. You must be willing to relinquish anything and everything in favor of living completely for the Lord. Those listening are urged to assess the value and costs of loyalty and commitment.

28 “But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it? 29 Otherwise, you might complete only the foundation before running out of money, and then everyone would laugh at you. 30 They would say, ‘There’s the person who started that building and couldn’t afford to finish it!’

31 “Or what king would go to war against another king without first sitting down with his counselors to discuss whether his army of 10,000 could defeat the 20,000 soldiers marching against him? 32 And if he can’t, he will send a delegation to discuss terms of peace while the enemy is still far away. 33 So you cannot become my disciple without giving up everything you own.

7. Verses 34 thru 35 discern and discuss spiritual significance.

34 “Salt is good for seasoning. But if it loses its flavor, how do you make it salty again? 35 Flavorless salt is good neither for the soil nor for the manure pile. It is thrown away. Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand!”

  This cannot be ‘taken away’. If a person no longer has spiritual significance, it is because they ‘let it go’. When this happens it is a very serious matter for at least four reasons.

a)   They cease to be usable in the Kingdom of God. Not being usable means the ability they had to make a difference is gone.

b)   Spiritual significance enables you to be useful in the Lord’s Kingdom. Once that influence is gone you no longer have the capacity to accomplish that for which you were created. You were designed to fulfill specific, God-ordained purposes.

c)    Letting go of your spiritual significance means you are no longer desirable. You are no longer wanted by those who need what you previously had to offer.

d)   The absence of spiritual significance means you are not necessary. With spiritual significance you are essential to the plan of God. Without it, you are in the way. Without it, there is no reason for you to be present. [Luke 13:6-7]

There is a television commercial where the person in the room isn’t noticeable because they are wearing the same pattern of clothing as the wallpaper they are standing in front of. The person appears bland, nearly undetected, camouflaged, they blend in with what is already there. Don’t blend in with the ways of the world. Identify your spiritual significance, develop and maintain it. Thank God for who He made you to be. Consider these Seven Significant Evaluations in your own life. Be wise. Be committed.

 Thank you for reading. Be Blessed!