Luke 14 Humility and Cost of Discipleship
Summary

This chapter centers around Jesus’ teaching on humility and giving all to follow Christ. It begins with Jesus healing a man of “dropsy.” Then Jesus told two great parables. The first is teaching that one should be humble and not presume to take the most prominent seat at a wedding feast. The second relates to those who make feeble excuses for refusing to come to a great supper given by the Lord. Others will take their place and they will be left out. Jesus then explains that we must be willing to leave all else and follow Him. Christ must come first in our lives; otherwise, we cannot be His disciple.

Healing of a Man on the Sabbath

14One Sabbath, when he went to dine at the house of a ruler of the Pharisees, they were watching him carefully. 2And behold, there was a man before him who had dropsy. 3And Jesus responded to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath, or not?” 4But they remained silent. Then he took him and healed him and sent him away. 5And he said to them, “Which of you, having a son[1] or an ox that has fallen into a well on a Sabbath day, will not immediately pull him out?” 6And they could not reply to these things.

Question 1

Why were some critical of Jesus’ healing the man with dropsy? How did He respond?

The Parable of the Wedding Feast

7Now he told a parable to those who were invited, when he noticed how they chose the places of honor, saying to them, 8“When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in a place of honor, lest someone more distinguished than you be invited by him, 9and he who invited you both will come and say to you, ‘Give your place to this person,’ and then you will begin with shame to take the lowest place. 10But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that when your host comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at table with you. 11For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

The Parable of the Great Banquet

12He said also to the man who had invited him, “When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers[2] or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. 13But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, 14and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”

Question 2

Why would Jesus say not to invite our relatives and rich neighbors to our dinners?

15When one of those who reclined at table with him heard these things, he said to him, “Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!” 16But he said to him, “A man once gave a great banquet and invited many. 17And at the time for the banquet he sent his servant[3] to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ 18But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it. Please have me excused.’ 19And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them. Please have me excused.’ 20And another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ 21So the servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house became angry and said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and crippled and blind and lame.’ 22And the servant said, ‘Sir, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.’ 23And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled. 24For I tell you,[4] none of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet.’”

Question 3

What excuses do we sometimes make that are similar to those in verses 18-20?

The Cost of Discipleship

25Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, 26“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. 27Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. 28For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? 29Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. 33So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.

Question 4

What does it mean to “hate” one’s family?

Salt Without Taste Is Worthless

34“Salt is good, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? 35It is of no use either for the soil or for the manure pile. It is thrown away. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

Question 5

How does Jesus use “salt” to teach a lesson? See also:

Matthew 5:13

People
  • A man with dropsy
  • Pharisees and lawyers
Places
  • The house of one of the rulers of the Pharisees

Healing of a Man on the Sabbath

14One Sabbath, when he went to dine at the house of a ruler of the Pharisees, they were watching him carefully. 2And behold, there was a man before him who had dropsy. 3And Jesus responded to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath, or not?” 4But they remained silent. Then he took him and healed him and sent him away. 5And he said to them, “Which of you, having a son[1] or an ox that has fallen into a well on a Sabbath day, will not immediately pull him out?” 6And they could not reply to these things.

Luke 14:2

Dropsy is the pathological accumulation of diluted lymph in body tissues, appendages and cavities. It is associated with edema (swelling) sometimes caused by kidney or heart diseases.


Luke 14:3

The Sabbath laws are found in the following passages:Exodus 20:8-11; Exodus 31:12-18; Exodus 35:1-3; Leviticus 23:3


Luke 14:4

To answer “yes” would mean they could never again accuse Jesus of violating the Sabbath.

To answer “no” would mean they could not immediately help the suffering on a Sabbath.

The Parable of the Wedding Feast

7Now he told a parable to those who were invited, when he noticed how they chose the places of honor, saying to them, 8“When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in a place of honor, lest someone more distinguished than you be invited by him, 9and he who invited you both will come and say to you, ‘Give your place to this person,’ and then you will begin with shame to take the lowest place. 10But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that when your host comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at table with you. 11For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Luke 14:9

“With shame” indicates humiliation at being put down before others.

The Parable of the Great Banquet

12He said also to the man who had invited him, “When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers[2] or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. 13But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, 14and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”

Luke 14:13

Jesus not only encouraged humility but he was unselfishly thinking of those not invited.These are those who could not afford payback and who are true subjects of benevolence.

15When one of those who reclined at table with him heard these things, he said to him, “Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!” 16But he said to him, “A man once gave a great banquet and invited many. 17And at the time for the banquet he sent his servant[3] to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ 18But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it. Please have me excused.’ 19And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them. Please have me excused.’ 20And another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ 21So the servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house became angry and said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and crippled and blind and lame.’ 22And the servant said, ‘Sir, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.’ 23And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled. 24For I tell you,[4] none of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet.’”

Luke 14:15

Notice the spiritual relationship Jesus emphasizes by speaking of the “kingdom of God.”


Luke 14:16

The obvious intent is to call attention to the invitation to salvation God offers to man.


Luke 14:18

The three excuses dealt with earthly possessions (18); making a living (19); and relationships (20)


Luke 14:23

“Compel” probably here does not suggest physical force, but sincere persuasion.

The “highways and hedges” are places where one might not expect to find guests for a feast.

The Cost of Discipleship

25Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, 26“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. 27Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. 28For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? 29Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. 33So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.

Luke 14:26

“Hate” is used in the relative sense here of “loving less.” Jesus is not requiring that we despise our families, but that we love him above all these human family relationships.

Salt Without Taste Is Worthless

34“Salt is good, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? 35It is of no use either for the soil or for the manure pile. It is thrown away. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

Perspectives

God gives grace to the humble; He resists the proud.

Jesus must be put first in our lives in all things. We must be willing to forsake anything else for Him.

Making excuses for unfaithfulness and unwillingness only makes matters worse.