Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Wednesday, September 17th

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is 1 Thessalonians 5; Proverbs 16; Isaiah 37-38
Today's scripture focus is Luke 14:1-6

Luke 14:1-6

English Standard Version (ESV)

Healing of a Man on the Sabbath

14 One Sabbath, when he went to dine at the house of a ruler of the Pharisees, they were watching him carefully. And behold, there was a man before him who had dropsy. And Jesus responded to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath, or not?” But they remained silent. Then he took him and healed him and sent him away.And he said to them, “Which of you, having a son or an ox that has fallen into a well on a Sabbath day, will not immediately pull him out?” And they could not reply to these things.

Accompanying John MacArthur sermon: The Healing Savior vs the Hypocritical System
Accompanying Mark Driscoll sermon: Jesus Heals on the Sabbath
Accompanying Matt Chandler sermon: After the Heart

I really appreciated Matt Chandler's thought on this passage.....

Jesus is after the heart. And right action without a transformed heart lacks joy and it lacks worship. You were created for ever increasing joy and worship. So right action without a transformed heart still has you outside what God created you to be.

So what I want to do in Luke 14 is to show you how aggressively God goes after the heart, how aggressively Jesus goes
after the heart, and I want to show you a pretty common response to it. 

Starting in verse 1, “One Sabbath, when he went to dine at the house of a ruler of the Pharisees,...” So not just a Pharisee but the ruler of the Pharisees. “...he went to dine at the house of a ruler of the Pharisees, they were watching him carefully.” That’s a little awkward lunch, isn’t it? If you’re at lunch and everyone at the table is watching you carefully, that’s awkward. Now let me show you why they’re watching Him carefully. 

Look at verse 2. “And behold, there was a man before him who had dropsy.” Dropsy is a disorder where either your heart or liver is malfunctioning in such a way that your body begins to take on fluid and you begin to swell until you’re disfigured. It was a disease that would have been marked as unclean. He would have been considered outside the will of God, prohibited from the temple, prohibited from the teaching of the Torah. And yet this guy with dropsy, a guy who is viewed as culturally unclean just happens to show up at lunch at a ruling Pharisee’s house who would have considered him unclean? Something reeks in all of this. Does this smell shady to anyone else? They’re trying to trap Jesus here. Here’s the thing about trapping Jesus though. It’s really hard because He’s God. So it’s like if you ever had a group of 5th graders try to play a prank on you. The plan’s just intrinsically flawed from the beginning. They’re all dressed like ninjas, but it’s 2:00 in the afternoon. It’s just intrinsically flawed, not well thought out, impossible. So here’s the trap, it’s a dumb trap. Jesus has already healed seven men to this point; this will be number eight. He has healed seven men and women on the Sabbath, and yet their plan is to try it again. Here’s the trap: Set up a lunch, invite Jesus, bring in the man with dropsy, if Jesus heals him, He’s broken the law, and if Jesus doesn’t heal him, He’s able to and he lacks mercy and compassion. There’s the trap. No matter what He does, they’ve got Him. No matter what He does here, they’ve got Him cornered, except for the whole “I’m God” thing. 

Verse 3, “And Jesus responded to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath, or not?” But they remained silent.” By asking this question, He takes the trap off of Himself and springs it on them. Because if they say, “Yes, you can heal on the Sabbath,” they’ve divided their own ranks and now they’re the law breakers. And if they say, “No, it’s not lawful to heal on the Sabbath,” having Jesus there but forbidding Him to heal is them lacking compassion and mercy. “...they remained silent. Then he took him and healed him and sent him away. And he said to them, “Which of you, having a son or an ox that has fallen into a well on a Sabbath day, will not immediately pull him out?” And they could not reply to these things.” 

It’s not about the Sabbath at all, it’s about the state of their heart. And here’s what He just exposed in this question. “If it were your son, if it was someone you loved and cared for, you wouldn’t follow so closely the letter of the law or build extra laws on a law. I’ll take it a step farther. If it was your ox, if it was just one of your cattle by which you survive and make money, if it attacked your ability for gain, you would forsake the law in a heartbeat. But because you lack compassion, because you love nothing but what makes much of you, you harm and belittle people. You just invited a man who’s spent his whole life in suffering and pain, who is unable to make ends meet, who is pretty much a beggar and an outcast and you tried to use him to trap Me. You lack compassion. You have a wicked, filthy heart.” See, He’s not talking about Sabbath. He’s saying, “There’s a way of the heart that will treat the Sabbath properly or improperly, so I don’t want to talk to you about the Sabbath, I want to talk to you about your heart. Let Me expose something about your heart. It’s wicked.”

The Pharisees pick a fight with Jesus that they have no hope of winning.  In fact, they've already lost the exact same fight numerous times.  But they are so blinded by their own wickedness, that they actually use a suffering man in an attempt to prove Jesus is the lawbreaker.  It's mind boggling!

Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?

Jesus is always after the heart.

If you take care of symptoms without taking care of what’s diseased, you never get better, the symptoms just come out in another way. It’s why He goes after the heart. He’s not after healing symptoms. He’s going to heal the heart, and then everything else will progress, as the old saints used to say. Okay, so let’s not be liars and lie to ourselves. There are some things that need to be confessed here, some things that need to be wrestled with here, some things that need to be admitted and confessed to. Is there this area of your life that the Lord wants to deal with and you’re going, “Oh no no no, I’m not confessing that, I’m not getting help for that. I’m just going to hide that and replace it with this?” He’s not going to stop haunting you about it, and in the end, if He does, that’s far more terrifying in regards to what the implications of that are. He’s after the heart. That’s what makes Him so difficult. If He lives in you, you will not out run Him.
It reminds me of a statement on our church's website...We gather to consider Christ’s claim on us. Improvement is not what we are looking for, transformation is. Pivotal to our reason for existence is God’s Word which explains Jesus Christ and His ways so that we might get what life is. This message is second to none.

MacArthur finishes his sermon off with this...
You can be devout, you can be dutiful, you can be outwardly good, you can be serious about God, you can be a defender of your religion, you can be a fundamentalist. You can be a protector of God's will. You can be the best of the best of people and you can reject Jesus Christ and your life is a blasphemy to God. It is a slander to His name and you are left in spiritual death and eternal judgment.
And they [the Pharisees] are the great illustration of that. They had no signs of the life of God in them. They lacked compassion. They lacked mercy. They lacked kindness. They loved money. They were spiritually proud. They were hypocrites. They were self-righteous. And they sought to kill the very Son of the living God. Folks there's only one way to heaven and that's through faith in Jesus Christ. No other religion will get you there, but they will all keep you from getting there. Reject Jesus Christ and there never will be a place for you among the forgiven in God's eternal heaven. 

Jesus is after the heart - the whole heart.  We cannot hide anything from Him.  Oh, we can try.  But we're only deceiving ourselves.  He wants to be Lord of your life.  Everything in your life - including money, sex, work, thoughts, entertainment - everything.  The question is, will you let Him?

Tomorrow's scripture focus: Luke 14:7-14
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage: 2 Thessalonians 1, Proverbs 17, Isaiah 39-40

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