Chapter # 7 Paragraph # 6 Study # 1
Thesis: Living a lie only leads to enormous humiliation.
Introduction: This morning we are going to move into the last paragraph of Luke seven. It is a record of Jesus publicly humiliating His host. This is not the kind of behavior that most of us expect from Jesus and we tend to recoil at the suggestion that He would do this to someone who had invited Him to "eat with him". But the story is inescapably a record of Jesus exalting a woman who was most likely a prostitute and publicly humiliating His host who was very likely one of the leading Pharisees of his "city". Given the fact that a large part of the New Testament was written to Christians to urge them to treat others with grace, kindness, and love, it seems to me that we need to squarely address Jesus' behavior in this story.
I believe that, once we have done that, we shall see that living a lie will lead to enormous humiliation.
November 16, 2008
- I. The First Question: Why Did This Pharisee Ask Jesus to "Eat With Him"?
- A. The implications of the text.
- 1. Sometimes the Gospel writers skipped long periods of time between events in their records.
- 2. However, even when they did this, their records were put together in coherent units so that the points they wanted to make were made.
- 3. In Luke's record, two facts stand out in sharp contrast.
- a. On the one hand we have Jesus pointedly accusing the Pharisees of being childishly given to name-calling and antagonistic toward the very God Whom they used to get what they wanted out of life.
- b. On the other hand we have a Pharisee inviting Jesus to his home "to eat with him"; an action of hospitality in which people do not typically expect serious antagonism.
- 4. Because of the juxtaposition of the two records we are forced to ask this question: why would a man who considered Jesus to be a "gluttonous drunk" invite Him to his house for a meal?
- a. It cannot be that Luke did not wish us to tie his records together.
- b. It cannot be that Luke did not wish us to ponder the Pharisee's motivations since he, himself, told us some of the inner workings of the man's thinking (7:39).
- 5. Thus we are left with one conclusion: the Pharisee invited Jesus to "eat with him" as an attempt to take the sting out of Jesus' criticism (i.e., either to "prove" that Jesus was not just a "gluttonous drunk" but also a "paranoid gluttonous drunk", or to "prove" that the Pharisees did not really see Him the way He said they did).
- B. The statements of Luke.
- 1. Luke refers to the "Pharisees" twenty-seven times in his Gospel with "nothing good to say of them".
- 2. Luke deliberately altered his "leaven" statement in 12:1 from Matthew's in Matthew 16:12.
- 3. With Luke's overall thesis of "hypocrisy" as the driving force behind the actions of "Pharisees", it is inescapable that the multiple uses of "Pharisee" in the first four verses of this paragraph signal "hypocrisy in the invitation".
- 4. Thus, we are left with one conclusion: the Pharisee, being stung by "truth" and being, at heart, one who postures for glory, determined to attempt to show Jesus up by inviting Him to a meal.
- II. The Second Question: Why Did Jesus Publicly Humiliate Him In His Own Home?
- A. The implications of basic theology.
- 1. Basic theology tells us this about the issue of our dealings with God: He knows our thoughts and intends to publicly reveal them.
- a. This is the message of all of the "judgment" texts of the Scriptures: there is never any indication that our "day of judgment" will be private.
- b. This is the message of Luke 8:17 as well as Matthew 6:18.
- c. This message means that God has a completely transparent Truth-Kingdom in mind in which no one will attempt any form of deceit.
- 2. Basic theology also tell us why Jesus exposed His host in a public way.
- a. His host was one of those who had rejected John's message and ministry.
- b. His host was one of those who had identified Him as a gluttonous drunk.
- c. His host was one of those whose main method of life was "hypocrisy" (Luke 12:1).
- 1) Under this thesis, we have this hypocrite using an invitation to Jesus to partake of his hospitality.
- 2) Under this thesis, we have this hypocrite attempting to address Jesus' accusation so as to contradict it (Who would invite a "gluttonous drunk" home for a meal?).
- 3) Under this thesis, we have an amazing contradiction that could only be employed by a blind hypocrite: the attempt to prove Jesus was wrong about His perception of the Pharisees [one simply cannot set out to publicly prove Jesus to be wrong without having an antagonistic attitude toward Him -- which is what Jesus claimed].
- d. His host was one of those "offspring of vipers" who was going to come under the coming wrath unless he could be humiliated into repentance.
- 1) Under this thesis, Jesus was either "getting even" or "demonstrating love".
- 2) Since it is fundamental to the character of God that He is unashamed, "humiliation" is not a "big deal" to Him and anyone to whom it is a big deal is simply so far out of step with Him that He needs to address it if good is to come.
- B. The implications of Luke's own record.
- 1. Luke is the one who recorded Jesus as teaching that a fundamental "truth" of the Kingdom of God is "love for one's enemies" (6:27 and 35).
- 2. It is fundamentally impossible for Jesus to command what He does not do.