Nepaug Bible Church - - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes -

Part LI: The Credibility Of Christ Seen In His Actions Under Social Persecution Pressure
(Luke 14:1-6 with Luke 6:6-11 and 13:10-17)
  1. Introduction
    1. Jesus said that one could tell by a prophet's fruits, or life activity if he was from God, Mtt. 7:15-20.
    2. Thus, we should be able to test Christ's lifestyle to see if He is really from God. Luke 14:1-6 in light of events in Luke 6:6-11 and 13:10-17 expose His fruits, offering a grand lesson for all of Christ's followers:
  2. The Credibility Of Christ Seen In His Actions Under Social Persecution Pressure:
    1. Luke's Gospel was written to certify the credibility of the Christian faith to Theophilus, Luke 1:3-4.
    2. One way Luke does this is by revealing Christ's reaction to duress made by social persecution pressure:
      1. In Luke 14:1-2, some Pharisees invited Jesus to a private home dinner on the Sabbath to entrap Jesus:
        1. The Pharisees were intent on watching Jesus at the meal to which they had invited Him, Luke 14:1.
        2. What they were watching to see was if Jesus would heal a man with dropsy, Luke 14:2. Since the Pharisees felt the diseased suffered God's judgment (cf. Jn. 9:2 and Ryrie St. Bib., KJV ftn.), they had invited this diseased man only to entrap Jesus into motivating Him to heal him there!
        3. Dropsy can be very serious as it is a swelling of the body due to retaining excess fluid, indicating a possible kidney, liver or even cancerous condition! (Bib. Know. Com., N.T., p. 242)
      2. This event, seen against the backdrop of two previous Sabbath day healings by Jesus, exposed in action the sterling, godly uprightness of Jesus as He responded to social persecution pressure by the Pharisees:
        1. The Pharisees put Jesus under social persecution pressure duress: (a) Both in Luke 6:6-11 and 13:10-17, Jesus had healed infirmed people on the Sabbath day in synagogues, exposing Pharisee hypocrisy (13:15)! (b) Well, the Pharisees felt that in the socially upscale home of a chief Pharisee, surrounded by Pharisees who objected to healing on the Sabbath (Luke 14:1; 6:7), His stand might change, making Him avoid healing the infirmed dropsy patient! They could then charge Jesus with hypocrisy! (b) Also, the afflicted in Luke 14 suffered from a more serious condition than had those in the synagogues: the afflicted in Luke 6:6-11 had a withered hand (6:6); the Luke 13:10-17 event had a woman who suffered 18 years with a discomforting but non-life-threatening bent back, cf. Lk. 13:16. Thus, for Jesus to have healed these previous conditions of lesser seriousness only to avoid healing the dropsy patient would make Christ's Luke 13:15 charge of hypocrisy backfire even more!
        2. On the other hand, Jesus revealed His sterling character in how He responded to this Pharisee social persecution pressure: (a) Jesus was self composed in the Luke 14 setting where it must have been socially quite hard: the social pressure of the Pharisees coupled with their heartless use of a seriously ill patient in Luke 14 as a test in a mock dinner invitation would have caused a lesser person either to lose his cool or cave in to social pressure. Yet, following his former actions in the synagogues, Jesus asked: "Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath day?" (b) He thereby revealed a consistent ethic of self-control and compassion for the afflicted, an ethic in the synagogue that never changed in the Pharisee's home! (b) Note how accurately Jesus made His points in each event: In Luke 6 with the withered hand case, Jesus asked if it was good to do good on the Sabbath. With the more afflicted woman in Luke 13:15, He used the analogy of leading a thirsty ox to water. However, in Luke 14:5 where He faced a possibly life-threatening condition, Jesus alluded to an ox in a pit, a condition that if not soon addressed would stress the entrapped animal and lead to its untimely death! Jesus was thus precisely correct in His theology and application in each case!
Lesson: Against their efforts to entrap Jesus into hypocrisy by social pressure persecution, this darkness of the Pharisees only served to expose the contrasting righteousness of Jesus Christ.

Application: (1) Jesus EXHIBITED God's sterling uprightness in His LIFESTYLE RESPONSE to Pharisee social pressure persecution, indicating a sterling character we would expect from God's true Prophet. (2) When we live for Christ and serve Him, our REACTION to being opposed by socially pressuring opponents should be to lean on God's Spirit to produce the self-composure, consistent ethic and theological accuracy that validates our ministry as being from God!