Luke 14 J.B. Phillips New Testament (PHILLIPS)
Strict sabbatarianism is again rebuked
14 1-3 One Sabbath day he went into the house of one of the leading Pharisees for a meal, and they were all watching him closely. Right in front of him was a man afflicted with dropsy. So Jesus spoke to the scribes and Pharisees and said, “Well, is it right to heal on the Sabbath day or not?”
4-5 But there was no reply. So Jesus took the man and healed him and let him go. Then he said to them, “If an ass or a cow belonging to one of you fell into a well, wouldn’t you rescue him without the slightest hesitation even though it were the Sabbath?”
6 And this again left them quite unable to reply.
A lesson in humility
7 Then he gave a little word of advice to the guests when he noticed how they were choosing the best seats.
8-11 “When you are invited to a wedding reception, don’t sit down in the best seat. It might happen that a more distinguished man than you has also been invited. Then your host might say, ‘I am afraid you must give up your seat for this man.’ And then, with considerable embarrassment, you will have to sit in the humblest place. No, when you are invited, go and take your seat in an inconspicuous place, so that when your host comes in he may say to you, ‘Come on, my dear fellow, we have a much better seat than this for you.’ That is the way to be important in the eyes of all your fellow-guests! For everyone who makes himself important will become insignificant, while the man who makes himself insignificant will find himself important.”
12-14 Then, addressing his host, Jesus said, “When you give a luncheon or a dinner party, don’t invite your friends or your brothers or relations or wealthy neighbours, for the chances are they will invite you back, and you will be fully repaid. No, when you give a party, invite the poor, the lame, the crippled and the blind. That way lies real happiness for you. they have no means of repaying you, but you will be repaid when good men are rewarded—at the resurrection.”
15 Then, one of the guests, hearing these remarks of Jesus said, “What happiness for a man to eat a meal in the kingdom of God!”
Men who are “too busy” for the kingdom of God
16-24 But Jesus said to him, “Once upon a time, a man planned a big dinner party and invited a great many people. At dinner-time, he sent his servant out to tell those who were invited, ‘Please come, everything is ready now.’ But they all, as one man, began to make their excuses. The first one said to him, ‘I have bought some land. I must go and look at it. Please excuse me.’ Another one said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen and am on my way to try them out. Please convey my apologies.’ Another one said, ‘I have just got married and I am sure you will understand I cannot come.’ So the servant returned and reported all this to his master. The master of the house was extremely annoyed and said to his servant, ‘Hurry out now into the streets and alleys of the town, and bring here the poor and crippled and blind and lame.’ Then the servant said, ‘I have done what you told me, sir, and there are still empty places.’ Then the master replied, ‘Now go out to the roads and hedgerows and make them come inside, so that my house may be full. For I tell you that not one of the men I invited shall have a taste of my dinner.’”
25-27 Now as Jesus proceeded on his journey, great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and spoke to them, “If anyone comes to me without ‘hating’ his father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be a disciple of mine. The man who will not take up his cross and follow in my footsteps cannot be my disciple.
28-30 “If any of you wanted to build a tower, wouldn’t he first sit down and work out the cost of it, to see if he can afford to finish it? Otherwise, when he has laid the foundation and found himself unable to complete the building, everyone who sees it will begin to jeer at him, saying, ‘This is the man who started to build a tower but couldn’t finish it!’
31-33 “Or, suppose there is a king who is going to war with another king, doesn’t he sit down first and consider whether he can engage the twenty thousand of the other king with his own ten thousand? And if he decides he can’t, then, while the other king is still a long way off, he sends messengers to him to ask for conditions of peace. So it is with you; only the man who says goodbye to all his possessions can be my disciple.
34-35 “Salt is a very good thing, but if salt loses its flavour, what can you use to restore it? It is no good for the ground and no good as manure. People just throw it away. Every man who has ears should use them!”