Luke 14

Jesus goes to the house of a Pharisee

1 One Jewish day of rest, Jesus went into the house of a leader of the Pharisees. This man had asked him to come and to eat a meal with him. The people there were all watching him carefully. 2 A sick man came up to Jesus. His arms and legs had grown fat, because they were full of water. 3 So Jesus spoke to the Pharisees and to the teachers of God's Law. He asked them, ‘Is it right for us to make someone well on our day of rest, or not?’ 4 But they would not say anything. So Jesus took the sick man and he made him well again. Then he let him go away.

5 Then Jesus asked the people, ‘Maybe one of you has a son or an animal that falls into a well on our day of rest. What will you do? You will pull the child or the animal out of the well immediately.’ 6 When Jesus said this, they could not say anything else.

7 Jesus watched how people chose the best places to sit at the meal. So he told this story to those who were sitting there:

14:7The best places were the seats nearest to the man that had asked them to come. The most important people sat there and they received their food first.

8 ‘When someone asks you to come to a special meal, do not sit in the best place. A man that is more important than you may come later. 9 Then the man that asked you to the meal might say to you, “Give the best place to this man.” Then you will feel ashamed that you sat there. You will have to move to the lowest place and sit there. 10 Instead, when someone asks you to a meal, you should do this. Go and sit in the least important place. Then the man that asked you to the meal will see you there. And he may say to you, “My friend, move up here to a better place.” Everyone who is there at the meal will see this. So they will know that you are an important person. 11 It will be the same in the kingdom of God. Some people lift themselves up to be important. God will bring all of them down low. Other people are humble. God will lift up those people to a good place.’

12 Then Jesus said to the man who had asked him to the meal, ‘When you give a meal at midday or in the evening, do not ask your friends to come. Do not ask your brothers or your family. And do not ask the rich people that live near you to come. If you do, they will later ask you to eat at their house. This will pay you for the meal that you gave to them. 13 Instead, when you prepare a big meal, you should ask the poor people to come. Ask people that have lost an arm or a leg. Ask people that cannot walk very well, and people that cannot see. 14 Then God will make you happy. Those people cannot pay you for the meal you have given to them. Instead, God will pay you, on the day when he makes good people become alive again.’

A story about a big meal

15 The people who were sitting at the meal heard what Jesus said. One of them said to Jesus, ‘One day, there will be a big meal in the kingdom of God. How happy are those people who will eat together at that big meal.’

16 Jesus told this story to him: ‘One day an important man prepared a big meal. He asked many people to come to eat in his house. 17 When the meal was ready, he sent his servant out to tell those people, “Come now, the meal is ready for you.” 18 But then each person gave a reason why he could not come to the meal. The first man said, “I have bought a field, so I must go out and see it. Please say that I am sorry. Tell your master that I cannot come to his meal.” 19 The next man said, “I have bought five pairs of oxen. So I am just going out to see if they work well together. Please say that I am sorry. Tell your master that I cannot come to his meal.” 20 The third man said, “I have just married a wife. That is why I cannot come to the meal.” 

14:16This big meal is like a picture. God asks all people to come to a big meal where he lives. They should be ready when he tells them to come. The people that said, ‘No’ were really saying ‘No’ to Jesus.

21 The servant went back to his master. He told him what everyone had said. Then the master of the house was very angry. “Go out quickly to every street in the town,” he said to his servant. “Bring the poor people here. Bring those that have lost an arm or a leg. And bring those that cannot walk well, and those that cannot see.” 22 The servant did that. Then he came back to his master. “Sir,” he said, “I have asked all those people to come to your meal. But there are still some places at the table.” 23 The master spoke to his servant again. “Go to the roads and fields outside the town, and look for people there. Command them all to come here, so that my house will be full. 24 But I tell you this. None of the people that I asked at the beginning will eat any of my food.” ’

What it will be like to obey Jesus

25 Crowds of many people were travelling with Jesus on his journey. So he turned and said to them, 26 ‘If someone wants to obey me, he must live like this: He must love me more than he loves his own father and mother. He must love me more than he loves his wife and his children. He must love me more than he loves his brothers and his sisters. He must even love me more than he loves himself. If he does not do that, he cannot be one of my disciples. 27 He must live like a person that carries his own cross to go and die. If he is not ready to die for me, he cannot be one of my disciples.

14:27Jesus used this example to say how disciples should think about their lives. Disciples are those people that obey Jesus. They should say ‘No’ to everything except what Jesus wants. So then they can do what Jesus wants.

28 Here is an example. Perhaps one of you wants to build a tall building. Before you start to build, you will sit down. You will decide how much it will cost. Then you need to know if you have enough money to finish the work. 29 If you do not do this, you may not have enough money. You may put the first stones in the ground, but then you cannot finish the building. If you have to stop, other people will laugh at you. They will say to each other, 30 “That man is a fool. He started to build, but he could not finish the work.” ’

31 Then Jesus gave them another example. ‘Perhaps a king wants to fight a war against another king. But before he goes to fight, he sits down. He thinks to himself. “Can I win this war? My army is large, with 10,000 men. But the other king has twice as many soldiers in his army. 32 No, I cannot do it. I know I cannot beat the other king.” So, while the stronger king is far away, he will send a man to him with a message. He will tell the other king that he does not want to fight. He will ask him what he can do so that they become friends together.’

33 Jesus then said, ‘It is like that for all of you, if you want to be my disciples. You must leave everything that you have behind you.

34 Remember this. Salt is good. But if it is not salty any more, it is no longer any good. You cannot make it salty again. 35 You would not even put it on your field. It cannot make the soil good. You would just throw it away.

14:35Those that obey Jesus are like salt. If we leave everything behind us, we are of use to him. But we might love other people or things more than we love him. And if we do, we are of no use to him.

You have ears. So listen well to what I say.’