The One Who Gave Thanks—Luke 17:11-19



Gratitude is something that seems to get harder the more things that we have. We have to have a day set aside each year to remind ourselves to give thanks, and even on that day, we can be the most unthankful. The turkey is too dry. The weather is too miserable to drive to Grandpa and Grandma’s house. My football team is losing.


Even if things are going well, we find something to complain about. There’s a story about a mother whose son was swept away by a tornado. Immediately, she cried out the Lord for help, “Bring him back, I beg you!” Just then her son fell from the sky right at her feet! He stood, shaken from his experience, but otherwise completely and miraculously unharmed. The mother took one look at him and glared up at Heaven and said, “Lord, he had a hat!”


The account of the ten lepers is another case of this lack of gratitude even when something amazing happens to a person.

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The Invitation To The Lord’s Banquet—Luke 14:12-24



In the last lesson, we saw that Jesus got invited to dinner at the house of a chief Pharisee. Jesus healed a man sick with dropsy (edema). He also noticed how the guests maneuvered to get the best seat. He challenged them not to be so prideful and to take the lowest seat instead.


But that is not all that happened that day at the dinner. Jesus turned to the host and spoke directly to him:


Luke 14:12 Then said he also to him that bade him, When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbours; lest they also bid thee again, and a recompence be made thee. 


Luke 14:13 But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed [crippled], the lame, the blind: Luke 14:14 And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just. 


The Pharisees were very much concerned about social status and etiquette. Accepting a dinner invitation meant that you owed the host something—some sort of recognition and repayment. A picture in the newspaper of the two of you shaking hands. He would be greatly offended if you just came and ate and then you didn’t give anything in return.


Jesus challenges this social notion by calling them to invite the kind of people who can’t pay them back. He challenges them to instead wait for their repayment at the end, at the resurrection. That causes one of them to blurt out a Jewish blessing about the coming kingdom— 


Luke 14:15 And when one of them that sat at meat with him heard these things, he said unto him, Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God. 


Why does this person say this? Scholars are divided on whether he was being honest or devious. I don’t know. I am going to say that he was apparently expressing his hope in the messianic banquet that would take place when the Messiah came.


The man was seemingly excited, like all Jews should have been, to eat with the Messiah in the kingdom of God. Jesus’s point in the parable will be: are you really that excited for the Lord’s banquet? Here was the Messiah among them and yet they were rejecting Him (John 1:11)!

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Which Seat Do You Take?—Luke 14:1-11



Luke 14:1 And it came to pass, as he went into the house of one of the chief Pharisees to eat bread on the sabbath day, that they watched him. 


Jesus may have been the guest teacher in the local synagogue that sabbath day, and then he was invited over for dinner afterwards. 


But the chief Pharisee’s motive was not all hospitality, as we can tell from that ominous ending of this verse, “they watched him.” 


The word “watched” (paratēreō), has to do with watching very closely (Cf. 6:7, 20:20), like a spy waiting for an opportunity to strike.


Very likely the chief Pharisee who had invited Jesus had heard of the incident in recounted in Luke 13:10-17. Jesus had healed a woman in the synagogue on the sabbath, angering the ruler of the synagogue.


Now, he laid a trap for Jesus, just as the Pharisees had been trying to do for some time. Luke records that they were…


54 Laying wait for him, and seeking to catch something out of his mouth, that they might accuse him. (Luke 11:54)


What was the trap? We see it next—

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Best Friends Forever

Series: Improving Companionship In Your Marriage #4




What does it mean to be a friend?


I remember the very first time I started to think hard about what it meant to be a friend. It was in Greek class in seminary. Dr. M (as I’ll call him) was one of those stuffy, but likeable professors. 


As students, we felt a bit of distance and stand-offishness from him, but nothing to be greatly concerned about. Of more concern was the Greek quizzes that he would give! 


One day, he started talking about what it meant to be friend. Dr. M complained that most people use the word “friend” too loosely. Some people would declare a person a friend after just meeting them. 


Facebook wasn’t around then, but I imagine he would have a fit about “friending” people on Facebook. He’d say, “Those aren’t friends!”


Dr. M said that he made a very clear distinction between who was a friend and who was an acquaintance. 


While he knew a lot of people, and was acquainted with many, he had very few actual friends. He said that a friend was someone that…well, I don’t remember what he said!


But that’s what we’re going to explore in this lesson. What does it mean to be a friend? And how does that help us improve our companionship in our marriages? 

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