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. And, behold, there was a certain man before him which had the dropsy. And Jesus answering spake unto the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath day? And they held their peace. And he took him, and healed him, and let him go; 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? And they could not answer him again to these things.(Luke 14:1-6)
Jesus is invited to a feast, at the home of a prominent Pharisee. But the invitation is given with the intention to trap him . They watch Jesus, to see if He would do anything unlawful on the Sabbath. Who would invite someone to a feast, in order to destroy him?
What is a feast for? Feasts are for Life; Celebration, joy, rest and repast with the ones we love. To turn a feast into a religious trap is a perversion. It completely inverts everything a feast is for, and everything a feast points to.
As Jews, Jesus and the Pharisees were taught to anticipate an ultimate, eschatological feast, the great Messianic banquet at the end of the world.
And in this mountain shall the Lord of hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined. And he will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people, and the vail that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the Lord hath spoken it. And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the Lord; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.(Isaiah 25:6-9)
This highly anticipated prophetic feast is the ground of all true Joy and blessedness. It is associated with participation of the resurrection, and the new creation, after the Messianic defeat of Leviathan (Satan) the Dragon/Serpent. Notice the repetition of the word “all”.
The LORD’s final feast is for all people, all nations, and He will wipe away the tears of all faces.
This feast held by the Pharisee, was a Sabbath feast as well. The Sabbath was the great gift God gave to Israel, for it was the day of rest, worship and of liberty. Israel had been a slave nation, exploited by Egypt, the humanistic world power, but by the blood of the Lamb and the Angel of the LORD, the Jews had been liberated from bondage and given the gift of the Sabbath.
But when Jesus healed a man suffering with dropsy( extreme swelling), The lawyers and Pharisees were angry. God gave one commandment regarding the sabbath, but the Pharisees, Scribes and experts in the law had devised more than 1200 sub laws, to regulate the Sabbath day. In the process they perverted that which God had ordained as a gift, making it an insufferable bondage.
Even a beast is allowed to be released out a ditch on the Sabbath day! How much more a man, a fellow worshipper of God and bearer of the Image of God? They have utterly inverted the meaning of Sabbath in the same way as they had perverted the concept of the feast! As Alfred Eidersheim tells us, the wedding parable of Like 14 was given to serve as a warning of the terrible spiritual state of the Jwish religious establishment,
…how appropriately such a warning of Israel’s spiritual danger, in consequence of their hardness of heart, misrepresentation, and perversion of God’s truth, would come at a Sabbath-meal of the Pharisees, when they lay in wait against Him, and He first challenged their externalising of God’s Day and Law to the subversion of its real meaning, and then rebuked the self-assertion, pride, and utter want of all real love on the part of these leaders of Israel.(Life and Times of Jesus Messiah,book IV chapter 16)
And he put forth a parable to those which were bidden, when he marked how they chose out the chief rooms; saying unto them. 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; 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. 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. For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.( Luke 14:7-11)
The spirituality of self seeking, self promotion, and exaltation which Jesus encountered at this supper, served as a microcosm of how removed they were from the true piety of the Pharisees and Scribes and experts in the law.
Jesus called for a total shift of priority , a complete repentance of thought, attitude and deed.These religious “experts” saw their religion as a means to the end of the exaltation of Self, (inviting and honoring those who in turn will invite and honor you, pleasing man and having respect of persons and holding men’s admiration in esteem).
Those who will “sit at table with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the Prophets” do not regard themselves as having earned their place there in any way, but are rather recipients of a gift of God. They were all brought to the lowest place, only to be elevated by the grace of God himself, “This is our God, we have waited for Him!”.
Those who see this in truth, correspondently live of life of freedom to elevate others, and to esteem others as better than themselves. This is the true spirituality of the Messianic feast, and all (Gentile and Jew) who will partake of it. It consists of a life of received Love, which allows and even compels one to descend to others to elevate them in the name of the God who has elevated you!
Then said he also to him that bade him, When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbours; lest they also bid thee again, and a recompence be made thee. But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.(Luke 14:12-14)
You will be recompensed, at the resurrection of the Just, ie the Messianic banquet.
More on Luke 14