Bible Study from Calvary Chapel Newberg
with Tom Fuller
Hubris or Humility
How do you view yourself? It’s an honest question. There’s really a big range—from those with narcissistic personality disorder on one end of the scale with a highly developed sense of self-worth, to the overly depressed with no self-esteem whatsoever. How you view yourself can affect how you view yourself in relationship to God. Today I invite us to do some self-examination along with the Lord Jesus to do what Paul says:
Romans 12:3 (HCSB) “For by the grace given to me, I tell everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he should think. Instead, think sensibly, as God has distributed a measure of faith to each one.”
Remember, what Jesus is doing here is shaking up the status quo, throwing the religious leaders off balance to prepare for a takeover. Part of that is to change the orientation of what it means to lead. Let’s begin by taking a look at what it meant to Jesus to be a leader:
Matthew 20:28 (HCSB) “just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life—a ransom for many.”
Philippians 2:5-9 (HCSB)
“5 Make your own attitude that of Christ Jesus,
6 who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be used for His own advantage.
7 Instead He emptied Himself by assuming the form of a slave, taking on the likeness of men. And when He had come as a man in His external form,
8 He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death— even to death on a cross.
9 For this reason God highly exalted Him and gave Him the name that is above every name,”
So we see two characteristics of Jesus: One, He doesn’t need position in order to feel good about Himself and two, instead comes with an eye to serve, rather than be served. We’ll see how this plays out as we begin with another of the five healings Jesus performed on the Sabbath.
1 – 6
Jesus goes to a Sabbath dinner at a leading religious official’s house. You wonder if the Pharisees might not have invited the man on purpose to see what Jesus would do. How cruel to be used as a pawn in their game. The condition the man had was known as “dropsy”. The main symptom was swollen limbs. Today we call it “Edema”. Often times this is the result of congestive heart failure.
But Jesus was not playing a game. The entire time He walked the earth He demonstrated that in His kingdom there was perfect health and that He would reverse the effects of the fall by healing all disease. It was also emblematic of the healing He would do in our souls by dying for our sins. Before He healed the man He turned to the hosts and asked if it was lawful to heal on the Sabbath. Back in Chapter 13 they’d been humiliated when a leader chided a woman (and Jesus) for healing on the Sabbath. “There are six days on which work should be done,” he had said, “therefore come on those days and be healed and not on the Sabbath day.” Jesus called them hypocrites because they wouldn’t withhold life-saving water or food from their animals yet would withhold life-giving healing from this woman.
Now the leaders know better than to answer. Jesus heals him and presents them with their hypocrisy again saying that if their animal was in danger on the Sabbath they’d rescue it, yet would not want to rescue this poor man. They are left speechless, but no doubt seething inside.
This is all part of Jesus putting the established order on notice—they’ve had total control over access to God. You had to come through their man-made rules and Jesus comes riding in saying: “there’s a new way to God, one foretold by the Scriptures, and it comes through Me, the narrow door.”
To come through that door, you have to undergo what some have called an “ego-ectomy” – a removal of the ego that makes us think we are so special.
7 – 11
Jesus was very observant. He noticed the pecking order establish itself in the room. Do you know that you do that as well? When you come into a place, your mind is telling you whether you are more or less important than the others there. It’s unconscious but is part of default human behavior. Jesus is going to throw that default out on its head.
Jesus is not inventing a new pecking order. Jesus wants us to realize that when compared to God (the host) we are nothing and should be honored even to have been invited to the banquet. But these guys were full of their self-importance, which is an impediment to coming to Jesus in repentance.
They were busy exalting themselves and Jesus lets them know that this will lead to humiliation when the true nature of their humanity and evil is revealed. If we have a true, honest, and informed picture of our frailty, we would place ourselves lower and let God, through the gift of righteousness in Jesus, move us closer to Him.
In a similar way, as the leaders tried to exalt themselves, it excluded any that they would consider “beneath” them. That attitude too Jesus corrects.
12 – 14
I could be wrong on this, but I don’t think Jesus is handing out party-giving advice to the Pharisees. I think this goes right along with the previous parable. It isn’t about how you place yourself on the pecking order or about who can benefit you by their presence. It’s completely upside down from that. Jesus is modeling His core values—that is: to present yourself a servant, not a master, and serve without any thought of repayment. That’s at the core of who God is. When we have that character (and it only comes through a redeemed soul) we will indeed be blessed in that final audit of how we did working in God’s business here on earth.
15 – 24
One of those around the table heard about the resurrection of the righteous and probably immediately thought that such a banquet (which is prophesied in Isaiah 25:6 and hinted at earlier in Chapters 13 & 14 of Luke’s gospel) would include them. So Jesus launches into this story which is pointedly showing that the religious leaders of Israel are not interested in coming to the feast God will throw.
The “invitation” in verse 16 is undoubtedly the invitation to come through the narrow door—salvation through Jesus (see Revelation 19:6-9). But notice that “without exception” (vs 18) they all have excuses. As we’ll see, the leaders of Israel will reject God’s invitation to dine at the Lamb’s table because they will not humble themselves and recognize their sin and the Messiah’s gift.
So in verse 21 God extends the invitation to the rest of Israel (my interpretation)—those that the leaders would consider unworthy. This invitation goes to those “in the city”. They respond, just as there were many among the Jews that responded to the gospel (Acts 2:41).
But that’s not enough. God extends the same invitation to those outside the city, outside of Jerusalem and Israel. This suggests the Gentiles, who really now make up the vast majority of those in the church.
God wants His house to be filled (vs 23) but you can’t get in by being someone important. You have to humble yourself, repent, and fall on your knees before the Messiah. Everyone gets in the same way.
- The kingdom of God is not an exclusive club like this world might create, with levels of status, a pecking order, and rewards based on how important you are. God’s kingdom is made up of servants, including the Lord Himself. So let’s practice that behavior now!
- Do you have an honest appraisal of yourself before God? The truth is, God is far purer than we could ever imagine, and we are far more sinful than we’d ever admit. The first step to being invited to His banquet is to realize how you’ve fallen short. But as a Christian sometimes we can’t let our sin go. We dwell on it, we lambast ourselves and don’t approach God because we think we’re too sinful. I think, frankly, that’s an affront to the atoning sacrifice of Jesus, who paid for ALL your sins, past, present, and future. God doesn’t reveal to us the totality of our sin all at once, but certainly paid for it all once!
- Did you know that God wants you at His banquet? You might not feel worthy, but you are invited. Don’t make excuses like the leaders, don’t hide behind your ego or your sin. You can’t force you way in, you have to come through faith and trust that Jesus paid for your sins and wanting Him to run your life. But there is no cost to you. Let Him perform that ego-ectomy on your soul, then be honored to join Him at the dinner party of the ages.
- I started out this study by asking how you view yourself. I want to finish by telling you how God views you in Jesus.
- New Creation: 2 Corinthians 5:17 (HCSB) 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come.
- God’s chosen possession: 1 Peter 2:9 (HCSB) 9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His possession, so that you may proclaim the praises of the One who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.
- Fruit Bearers John 15:16 (HCSB) 16 You did not choose Me, but I chose you. I appointed you that you should go out and produce fruit and that your fruit should remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in My name, He will give you.
- You have the goodness of Jesus: Galatians 2:20 (ESV) 20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.