Confraternity Bible: New Testament and Supplemental Commentary

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LUKE - Chapter 14

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Luke 14

Supplemental Commentary:

Note.  Only those parts of the Third Gospel that are peculiar to it are commented on here.  For all other parts the reader should consult the Commentaries on the parallel passages in the other Gospels.

I.  THE PUBLIC MINISTRY OF JESUS  3-21 (continued)

5. Ministry on the Journey to Jerusalem  9, 51 -- 18, 34 (continued)

14, 1-6:  A Man with Dropsy.    5.  For the subsequent dispute, cf. 6, 9; 13, 15; Matt. 12, 11; Mark 3, 4.

14, 7-11:  The Last Seat.    7.  For the Pharisees taking the first seats at banquets, cf. Matt. 23, 6.  This little parable is an elaboration of the practical advice given in Prov. 25, 6 f.    11.  The proud will be humiliated but the humble will be exalted.  This proverbial saying occurs frequently in the New Testament; cf. 18, 14; Matt. 23, 12; Jas. 4, 6.10; 1 Pet. 5, 5 f.

14, 12-14:  Poor Guests.  This form of our Lord's saying about doing good to those from whom we can expect no natural recompense occurs here only; but cf. the similar words of Christ in 6, 32-34; Matt. 5, 46 f (the Sermon on the Mount).    14.  Such charity is rewarded on the Last Day because it is done from a supernatural motive.  Hence, when our Lord says, Do not invite thy friends, etc., He does not mean that there is anything wrong in doing so, but that such purely natural acts merit no supernatural reward.

14, 15-24:  Parable of a Great Supper.  Only in Luke; but there is a very similar, though distinct, parable of the Marriage Feast in Matt. 22, 1-14.    15.  Christ's mention of the resurrection of the just (14) reminds this man of the coming Messianic kingdom, which is often compared to a festive banquet in the rabbinical writings.  He evidently says this in such a way as to imply that he will surely be present at this feast in the kingdom of God.  In the following prophetic parable Christ foretells that many of the spiritual leaders among the Jews will not be at this feast.

16.  This certain man is God the Father.  The great supper is the kingdom of God both as the Church on earth and in its crowning happiness in heaven.    17.  His servant is Jesus Christ.  Judging from 21-23, those first invited into the kingdom of God by Christ's preaching are the rulers and the upper classes of the Jews.    18-20.  They neglect the invitation because they are preoccupied with the things of this world.    21.  The second group invited are also of the city, i.e., of Israel.  They are the poor, uneducated Jews who were despised by the Pharisees.    23.  Those outside of the city along the highways and hedges, i.e., by-ways of the world, are the Gentiles.  Make them come in: i.e., by moral persuasion through the preaching of the Apostles, not by physical force.    24.  The Jews who rejected Christ's gospel are rejected by God.

14, 25-35:  Following of Christ.    26 f.  The same words of Christ are recorded in Matt. 10, 37 f.    26.  Hate his father: i.e., love his father less than me.  Christ demands of His intimate disciples absolute renunciation from family ties; of all His followers in general He demands that they must be ready to resist the influence of relatives whenever this would be detrimental to their spiritual welfare.

28-33.  Both parables, the first of which deals with private life and the second with political life, teach the same lesson.  Temporary enthusiasm in following Christ is not sufficient.  We must seriously reflect upon the sacrifices, duties and conditions to be fulfilled.  Then courage and constancy in following Christ is necessary, otherwise we shall suffer a great loss and become an object of ridicule.  Cf. 9, 62.

34-35a.  The same saying of Christ is recorded in Matt. 5, 13, where its context is much more appropriate; cf. also Mark 9, 49a.  Here the sense seems to be, "A disciple of mine who refuses to make the sacrifices that I ask of him is as worthless as salt that has lost its strength.


Confraternity Bible:

A Man with Dropsy  1 And it came to pass, when he entered the house of one of the rulers of the Pharisees on the Sabbath to take food, that they watched him.  2 And behold, there was a certain man before him who had the dropsy.  3 And Jesus asked the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, "Is it lawful to cure on the Sabbath?"

4 But they remained silent.  And he took and healed him and let him go.  5 Then addressing them, he said, "Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fall into a pit, and will not immediately draw him up on the Sabbath?"  6 And they could give him no answer to these things.

The Last Seat  7 But he also spoke a parable to those invited, observing how they were choosing the first places at table, and he said to them, 8 "When thou art invited to a wedding feast, do not recline in the first place, lest perhaps one more distinguished than thou have been invited by him, 9 and he who invited thee and him come and say to thee, 'Make room for this man'; and then thou begin with shame to take the last place."  10 But when thou art invited, go and recline in the last place; that when he who invited thee comes in, he may say to thee, 'Friend, go up higher!"  Then thou wilt be honored in the presence of all who are at table with thee.  11 For everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled, and he who humbles himself shall be exalted."

Poor Guests  12 But he also said to him who had invited him, "When thou givest a dinner or a supper, do not invite thy friends, or thy brethren, or thy relatives, or thy rich neighbors, lest perhaps they also invite thee in return, and a recompense be made to thee.  13 But when thou givest a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind; 14 and blessed shalt thou be, because they have nothing to repay thee with; for thou shalt be repaid at the resurrection of the just."

Parable of a Great Supper  15 Now when one of those who were at table with him had heard this, he said to him, "Blessed is he who shall feast in the kingdom of God."

16 But he said to him, "A certain man gave a great supper, and he invited many.  17 And he sent his servant at supper time to tell  those invited to come, for everything is now ready.  18 And they all with one accord began to excuse themselves.  The first said to him, 'I have bought a farm, and I must go out and see it; I pray thee hold me excused.'  19 And another said, 'I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am on my way to try them; I pray thee hold me excused.'  20 And another said, 'I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.'

21 "And the servant returned, and reported these things to his master.  Then the master of the house was angry and said to his servant, 'Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in here the poor, and the crippled, and the blind, and the lame.'  22 And the servant said, 'Sir, thy order has been carried out, and still there is room.'  23 Then the master said to the servant, 'Go out into the highways and hedges, and make them come in, so that my house may be filled.  24 For I tell you that none of those who were invited shall taste of my supper.'"

Following of Christ  25 Now great crowds were going along with him.  And he turned and said to them, 26* "If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, and wife and children, and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.  27 And he who does not carry his cross and follow me, cannot be my disciple.

28 "For which of you, wishing to build a tower, does not sit down first and calculate the outlays that are necessary, whether he has the means to complete it?  29 Lest, after he has laid the foundation and is not able to finish, all who behold begin to mock him, 30 saying, 'This man began to build and was not able to finish!'

31 "Or what king setting out to engage in battle with another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to meet him who with twenty thousand is coming against him?  32 Or else, whilst the other is yet at a distance, he sends a delegation and asks the terms of peace.  33 So, therefore, every one of you who does not renounce all that he possesses, cannot be my disciple.

34 "Salt is good; but if even the salt loses its strength, what shall it be seasoned with?  35 It is fit neither for the land nor for the manure heap, but must be thrown out.  He who has ears to hear, let him hear."
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*

26: Hate: i.e., love less.  Jesus does not command us to have a feeling of hatred towards our relatives, but teaches that we should pay no attention to their requests if these are detrimental to our spiritual welfare.