The sermon today really affected me. Actually, the whole service affected me. Good 'old' worship songs (for the most part, 'older' at least) to start with, bringing up the spirit, and then diving into a great teaching. Maybe you'll be as affected as I was. The passage is from Luke 14: 1-6:
One Sabbath, when he went to dine at the house of a ruler of the Pharisees, they were watching him carefully. 2 And behold, there was a man before him who had dropsy. 3 And Jesus responded to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath, or not?” 4 But they remained silent. Then he took him and healed him and sent him away. 5 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?” 6 And they could not reply to these things.
You can really tell that Luke tries to paint a picture that shows the difference between the state of Jesus' heart and the state of the Pharisees' hearts. So really, the first thing that we shall look at is....
I. The Pharisees' Heart
Luke lets us know something in the first verse. Where are the Pharisees' eyes? On Jesus. But you get the sense that they're not watching Him with reverence as His Disciples did. They are watching Him 'carefully'<--They're trying to trap Him. They're completely ignoring the man who's obviously sick. The word 'Dropsy' probably doesn't mean much to us, but it's really a serious disease. Somewhat of like a human being 'swelling' all over.
Although Luke never actually tells us what the Pharisees did, he did say that Jesus responded--with a question in verse 3. Verse 4 shows the Pharisees silent, and unresponsive. The Pharisees didn't really answer Jesus' question for several reasons. The first one is probably that there aren't actually any verses in the Law Of Moses that says you can't heal people on the Sabbath Day. No idea ever exists. If they were to answer 'yes, it is against the Law to heal on the Sabbath', they knew that that would give Jesus ground, even though He says it anyway in verse 5. If they answered, it would really show how inconsistent their values were. Jesus' values went against what they held to be true, even though it was false, according to Jesus.
So the Pharisees were trying to trap Jesus, and 'ignored' the sick man. But if this whole situation was designed to 'trap' Jesus, they not only IGNORED the poor fellow, but USED him. That is a very sad picture. The Values held by the Pharisees breaks down their followers by rules and traditions. Jesus heaps Grace on His followers. Luke really 'unveils' the warped scale of Values that the Pharisees held on to.
But Wait...There's Something Else......
Too quickly, will we desire to 'bonk' the heads of the Pharisees and say, "Do you not see this?! How do you still NOT understand?!". Too LATE, we seem to realize that this is a warning for us today. We want to say, "Yeah, we're like Jesus in this type of situation". Well...that may be all well and true...but then it may not be. It's too easy to feel like you have it together, and you don't really want to or think that you need to change some things. Hold onto this last point as we look through on the next point, and that will kind of build a few bridges.
II. Jesus' Heart
Really, every action that Jesus takes in this sequence of events reveals things about His Character. The Pharisees invited Jesus to dine with them. Jesus, along with others, obviously know that the Pharisees have it out for Him. If you knew that someone was plotting to kill you, would you without question accept an invitation? I probably wouldn't, but, Jesus did. This reveals Him to be Bold. He's also very ACCEPTING of people...All KINDS! He showed compassion on the sick man, but yet...you always see Him pursuing the Pharisees. On first look, it might look like He's rebuking them out of slight anger and judgment. But, if you look a little closer...you'll see that as He talks with them, He's always saying, "Repent, repent!". Is the point being driven home a little bit more?
Here's the point: We MUST be in a state of Heart & Mind that allows the Holy Spirit to Teach and Guide us. Jesus had heart for both the Down-Hearted and the Hard-Hearted, and so should we. I believe I have a heart for the people that are hurting and desperate. My problem is that I have no heart for the people who stand on the nonexistent 'middle ground'. They're not necessarily lost, but they may be immature or silly, and I just don't like dealing with those kinds of people.
After the sermon and before we left, we had a time of prayer. This is when the people that feel convicted come up to the front and kneel to pray. Then their friends come up and pray with them. I was talking with a friend, and we came to the conclusion that, although we all may not be perfect in getting the job done...It's in our heart to change our actions toward others. When we desire to have a soft, warm heart for His people and the Lost, no matter in what manner they are Lost...God will give us that Heart, and we'll be able to act on it.