Miracle: Jesus Heals a Man of Dropsy on the Sabbath (Luke 14:1-14)
Jesus had constant conflict with the Pharisees over a variety of issues. He had harshly condemned them because of their hypocrisy, greed and wickedness (Matthew 23). In light of the ongoing enmity, why did they invite Him to dinner (Luke 11:37-52) and why did He accept their invitation?
It is one thing to boast in our knowing God but, according to Jesus, the bigger question is whether or not He knows us (see Matthew 7:20-23).
I can think of three ways we can build our relationship with God:
1) Time with Him in prayer, worship, and the study of His Word; both alone and with the church.
2) Trials, though none of us like going through them, provide one of the greatest opportunities for experiencing God. Rarely do we cling to Him more than when going through trials.
Jesus began the Sermon on the Mount with eight statements that we call the Beatitudes, from the Latin word for “Blessed.” Although some translators used the word “Happy,” that doesn’t do justice to the Greek word makarios. It means divine joy. The Latin word for it is beatitude which is where we get our title for verses 3-12, The Beatitudes. The word itself doesn’t even apply to human emotions. It’s a statement of how God views people who live a certain way.
Have you ever walked through a time of frustration and doubt, but couldn’t put your finger on why? Well of course you have. Haven’t we all experienced a time of discouragement without fully understanding the source? I was there recently and the Lord’s Word helped me to realize the source of my problem was a wrong vision of success and the future.
I admit that I can be thoroughly captivated by the eloquence, charisma and wisdom of certain preachers and Bible teachers. Even to the point of identifying so strongly with a speaker that I have sometimes made much of the messenger and not the message. Sometimes we church members can spend more time talking about how much we love a particular leader rather than how much we love Jesus.
My mentor in ministry, Pastor Mike Hamlet, had to sometimes remind me, particularly when I was being judgmental about what I deemed strange behavior in others, that everyone has baggage. It is there, we just don’t always see it. All of us have been hurt, bruised and scarred by the sin of someone else. We have also hurt others by our own sin. Over the years I have also come to realize that each of us has struggled with blind spots. We all have had flaws that others could see but we couldn’t see in ourselves.
Jonathan Edwards, one of our countries greatest preachers, and the first president of Princeton; made a habit of guiding his life by resolutions. At age 17, he penned 21 resolutions by which he would live his life. He continued to add to this list until, by his death, he had 70 resolutions. He put at the top of his list: “Being sensible that I am unable to do anything without God’s help, (Phil. 4:13).
My wife and I started our Christmas preparation with a search for a real tree this year. This is the first live tree we have had in many years. It was a special and exciting adventure for us as we began to anticipate time with family and friends and to consider the celebration of our Saviors birth.
On the heels of describing Himself as the Good Shepherd, Jesus was asked if He was the Messiah. He responded, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one” (John 10:27-30 ESV emphasis mine)
Are you living in light of who is watching? That is the first step to a life that works. Jesus hears. Jesus sees. Jesus knows. Job 28:11, Psalm 69:5, Matthew 10:26, and scores of other passages all communicate that nothing is hidden from God. He brings all things to light. So, it only makes sense to live now as if God is watching and it will all be made known.