211 _27 CONTINUATION OF THE PEREAN AND JUDEAN MINISTRY

211 _27 CONTINUATION OF THE PEREAN AND JUDEAN MINISTRY -...

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417 CHAPTER 27 418CONTINUATION OF THE PEREAN AND JUDEAN MINISTRY 418IN THE HOUSE OF ONE OF THE CHIEF PHARISEES 1 418On a certain Sabbath Jesus was a guest at the house of a prominent Pharisee. A man afflicted with dropsy was there; he may have come with the hope of receiving a blessing, or possibly his presence had been planned by the host or others as a means of tempting Jesus to work a miracle on the holy day. The exercise of our Lord's healing power was at least thought of if not openly intimated or suggested, for we read that "Jesus answering spake unto the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath day?" 2 No one ventured to reply. Jesus forthwith healed the man; then He turned to the assembled company and asked: "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?" 3 The learned expositors of the law remained prudently silent. 418Observing the eager activity of the Pharisee's guests in securing for themselves prominent places at table, Jesus instructed them in a matter of good manners, pointing out not only the propriety but the advantage of decent self-restraint. An invited guest should not select for himself the seat of honor, for some one more distinguished than he may come, and the host would say: "Give this man place." Better is it to take a lower seat, then possibly the lord of the feast may say: "Friend, go up higher." The moral follows: "For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted." 4 418This festive gathering at the house of the chief Pharisee included persons of prominence and note, rich men and officials, leading Pharisees, renowned scholars, famous rabbis and the like. Looking over the distinguished company, Jesus said: "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 recompense 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." This bit of wholesome advice was construed as a reproof; and some one attempted to relieve the embarrassing situation by exclaiming: "Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God." 5 The remark was an allusion to the great festival, which according to Jewish traditionalism was to be a feature of signal importance in the Messianic dispensation. Jesus promptly turned the circumstance to good account by basing thereon the profoundly significant Parable of the Great Supper: 418A certain man made a great supper, and bade many: And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready. And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have married a wife,
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211 _27 CONTINUATION OF THE PEREAN AND JUDEAN MINISTRY -...

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