Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Invited Guest

Have you ever read something or watched a movie and thought "Oh no, this cannot end well!" You know the person is about to say something they should not say or do something they should not do. You almost don't want to watch because you know it is going to be a train wreck!

As I was reading the other day I came across this passage:
Luke 11: 37 - When Jesus had finished speaking, a Pharisee invited him to eat with him; so he went in and reclined at the table.
I had that feeling after I read this passage. I have read this passage before but it had been a while and I could not remember how it ended.  Based on his track record Jesus and the Pharisee's did not really get along all that well! Would this time be different? Would he understand that he was an invited guest and be on his best behavior? Well let's see!
Luke 11: 38 - But the Pharisee was surprised when he noticed that Jesus did not first wash before the meal.
Hmmm. Jesus did not wash. This is not getting off to a good start.
Luke 11: 39 - 44 -  39 Then the Lord said to him, “Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. 40 You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also? 41 But now as for what is inside you—be generous to the poor, and everything will be clean for you.   42 “Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone.  43 “Woe to you Pharisees, because you love the most important seats in the synagogues and respectful greetings in the marketplaces.  44 “Woe to you, because you are like unmarked graves, which people walk over without knowing it.”
Now that would get me a serious elbow from my wife if I spoke like that to the person who invited me over for dinner! Look at what one of the Pharisee's say to Christ.
Luke 11: 45 - One of the experts in the law answered him, “Teacher, when you say these things, you insult us also.”
My translation: Hey wait a minute! We invited you to the dinner and that's the way you are going to speak to us! How dare you!

Maybe Christ realized what he did and apologized!
Luke 11: 46 - 52 - 46 Jesus replied, “And you experts in the law, woe to you, because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry, and you yourselves will not lift one finger to help them.  47 “Woe to you, because you build tombs for the prophets, and it was your ancestors who killed them. 48 So you testify that you approve of what your ancestors did; they killed the prophets, and you build their tombs. 49 Because of this, God in his wisdom said, ‘I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and others they will persecute.’ 50 Therefore this generation will be held responsible for the blood of all the prophets that has been shed since the beginning of the world, 51 from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was killed between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, this generation will be held responsible for it all.  52 “Woe to you experts in the law, because you have taken away the key to knowledge. You yourselves have not entered, and you have hindered those who were entering.”
Like I said, train wreck! I wonder what the other Pharisees said to the guy who invited Christ. "What were you thinking? Have you not heard how he speaks to us? Have you not heard what he thinks of us? The next time you have a meal and invite him, please leave my name off the invite list!" I'm not sure if this is what was said or not but we do know one thing they talked about after dinner.
Luke 11: 53, 54  -  53 When Jesus went outside, the Pharisees and the teachers of the law began to oppose him fiercely and to besiege him with questions, 54 waiting to catch him in something he might say.
These guys had such a hard heart. I truly believe Christ wanted them to repent and believe but they wanted no part of it. They liked their lives just the way they were. This type of response by the Pharisees is repeated over and over. They wanted nothing to do with Christ because he challenged their very livelihood, he challenged their power, their politics, their standing in the community. How many still do the same today. How many want nothing to do with Christ because they do not want to give up what this world has to offer. Many would rather forsake the things of God for the things this world has to offer.

Christ addressed this with a couple of parables:
Matthew 13: 44 - 46 - 44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.   45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. 46 When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.
What we give up in this life pales in comparison to what he has in store for his children. Are you ready to invite him in? If so, don't expect him to leave you like he found you, don't expect him to play by your rules.

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