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. 2 And, behold, there was a certain man before him which had the dropsy. 3 And Jesus answering spake unto the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath day? 4 And they held their peace. And he took him, and healed him, and let him go; 5 And answered them, saying, Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fallen into a pit, and will not straightway pull him out on the sabbath day? 6 And they could not answer him again to these things. 7 ¶ And he put forth a parable to those which were bidden, when he marked how they chose out the chief rooms; saying unto them, 8 When thou art bidden of any man to a wedding, sit not down in the highest room; lest a more honourable man than thou be bidden of him; 9 And he that bade thee and him come and say to thee, Give this man place; and thou begin with shame to take the lowest room. 10 But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee. 11 For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
To begin with, “the dropsy” is that which we now call congestive heart failure, and is usually accompanied by kidney failure. It was termed “hydropsie,” in the Old French, which comes from the Greek for “water.” For this condition leaves one without the ability to normally process the fluids of the body, allowing them to accumulate, causing swelling. The heart cannot ‘squeeze’ hard enough to keep the blood flowing as it should and the kidneys, which effect both the bloods purity and pressure, cannot do its proper work either. Therefore this “certain man” had a blood problem!
And, dear Reader, the life of man is in the blood! Genesis 9:3 Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things. 4 But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat. Leviticus 17:11 For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.
And although it seems lost on this present generation, man’s blood and life are special to God, as he has been formed in the very image of God! Man represents God more fully than any other created order, even that of angels! Genesis 9:6 Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man. Hebrews 2:16 For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. 17 Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. That is, the Lord Jesus, in his redemptive provisions, took not on himself the responsibility of the redemption of angels, therefore as they sin, they immediately fall into darkness. But he “took on” the responsibility for the redemption within the realm of the seed of Abraham!
This, therefore, is the reason that the death of Jesus Christ could not have been other than what it was – a sacrifice! For if the Jews had assassinated him, or the Roman’s has executed him, it would have been of no redemptive value!
Consider carefully these verses: Luke 13:31 The same day there came certain of the Pharisees, saying unto him, Get thee out, and depart hence: for Herod will kill thee. 32 And he said unto them, Go ye, and tell that fox, Behold, I cast out devils, and I do cures to day and to morrow, and the third day I shall be perfected. 33 Nevertheless I must walk to day, and to morrow, and the day following: for it cannot be that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem.
It was God, the Father, who offered up his Son! Therefore it was a sacrifice for man’s redemption and God’s satisfaction! John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. Romans 8:32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?
And the satisfaction of God was one of the greatest provisions of the cross! Isaiah 53:11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: Genesis 8:20 And Noah builded an altar unto the LORD; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. 21 And the LORD smelled a sweet savour; and the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake;
And our certain man is in a good place with his dropsy! For he is before him! And it was this malady that caused him to be there! For those who consider themselves to be whole, need not a physician! Therefore the Lord Jesus had no provision for those Pharisees. For he only came to seek and save that which was lost. And he clearly informed the Pharisees, ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins. (John 8:24). That is why we read in verse two of our text that this certain man was before him!
The law comes upon the sinner to cause him to see sin’s exceeding sinfulness! And in this awareness he now can more readily see the glory of grace! For those who do not consider themselves sinners, need no savior! And those who falsely imagine themselves to have only little sin, only seek for a two-for-a-nickel Jesus! But those of us who see our sin in its offense of the Holy God, need a great Savior! Romans 5:20 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: 21 That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.
It is interesting to note just where the focus of attention was at this sabbath meal. It is said in verse one that the Pharisees watched the Lord. And in verse two, as we have already stated, the Lord Jesus had his gaze upon the certain man before him which had the dropsy. But in verse seven we also read that the Lord’s parable to them came as he marked how they chose out the chief rooms, or places to sit at this meal.
What a glorious Savior we have in his determined purposes to separately deal with the stares of the Jews, while carefully watching over this little sheep of his! 2 Chronicles 16:9 For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him. And while the whole world lay in sin, with its imagination being only evil continually, Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. (Genesis 6:5,8).
And what a glorious thing it is to read of the Lord’s relating to this man! For we read that the man was before him. And that the Lord took him…healed him…and let him go. Undoubtedly, this man had no invitation to the meal at this chief ruler of the Pharisees. But it was the sovereign Lord’s purpose for him to be before him now! Acts 17:26 And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; 27 That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: This was the eternally prescribed place and time in which the Lord would bring mercy and grace to this soul. And he sent his “sheep dog” of dropsy to bring him there!
And by him the Lord silenced his accusers twice. For the first sentence in verse four and all of verse six inform us that by this certain man, the Lord proved to them that their issue was most assuredly not the law! For had that really been the burning issue of their hearts, they could not have remained silent!
And then we see that it was the Lord who let him go. Isn’t it a good thing when you go from the presence of the Lord on a worship day, that you go forth by the Lord’s healing hand? And can you not see that he, like Philip’s eunuch, went on his way rejoicing? How wonderful that he went home from church, with no awareness of the confrontation that these religious boys were then having with his Lord! How glorious it is to have the Lord settling your mind on whatsoever things are lovely and of good report, and not on the underlying contentions of selfish religionists, as you leave a church service!
For their real issue was seeking justification of his death! Luke 11:53 And as he said these things unto them, the scribes and the Pharisees began to urge him vehemently, and to provoke him to speak of many things: 54 Laying wait for him, and seeking to catch something out of his mouth, that they might accuse him.
Isaiah 29:20 For the terrible one is brought to nought, and the scorner is consumed, and all that watch for iniquity are cut off: 21 That make a man an offender for a word, and lay a snare for him that reproveth in the gate, and turn aside the just for a thing of nought.
Ours is a day of no respect for the Lord, or for his servants! Psalm 105:15 Saying, Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm. 1 Timothy 5:19 Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses. Don’t fail to notice that word, “witnesses.” For those who abuse their standing with God’s truly called servants will one day give account for it in His court!
And with such a strong inditement against this serious crime, how is it that it is so common? – It comes from a wicked heart! John 3:20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. And these who will not bow to the light of God, due to their wicked heart, will do everything possible to put that light out! – Even to the verbal assassination of the character of the servant of God!
But be assured that he is the same God as he ever was. Numbers 12:8 With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches; and the similitude of the LORD shall he behold: wherefore then were ye not afraid to speak against my servant Moses? 9 And the anger of the LORD was kindled against them; and he departed. 10 And the cloud departed from off the tabernacle; and, behold, Miriam became leprous, white as snow: and Aaron looked upon Miriam, and, behold, she was leprous.
And does the Lord obey his own word? Of course he does! For it is established above his name! Psalm 138:2 I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.
Therefore notice verse ten of our text. He teaches that all should go to the lowest place, and in that thou shalt have worship. And there was no crowd of Pharisees there! For that was what he observed of them. They were all trying to sit at the head of the table. But that is what gave him worship! For he wound up at the far end with the certain man with the dropsy sitting before him! The Pharisees certainly were not going to have anything to do with this pitiful creature! So the Lord Jesus, knowing man’s prideful hearts, ordained that he should meet this infirm soul down at the lowest place.
The Son of God became the Son of man, in order that the sons of men might become the sons of God!
1 Corinthians 1:26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: 27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; 28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: 29 That no flesh should glory in his presence.
And listen at the glory that shall be revealed for him in his condescension to men of low estate. Revelation 1:5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, 6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
Revelation 4:11 Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.
Revelation 5:9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; 10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.
He took the lowest seat, as his parable taught others to do. And he met the sinner there. And there was the fulfillment of the angels announcement at his Incarnation. For in this condescension is the glory of God in it’s highest realm, as it bring peace on earth and good will to such a sinner as this certain man with the dropsy! Philippians 2:8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Pastor Gene Breed, October 14, 2014