Go out into the highways… and compel them to come in. Luke 14:23
Devotion: 7 of 7
READ: Luke 14:1-35
In Luke chapter 14 we find Jesus having a meal in the house of one of the leaders of the Pharisees. As they all sat together eating, Jesus began talking to them about the Sabbath, questioning them whether it was permissible to heal someone on this day. Without their reply Jesus went ahead and healed the person in the room knowing the anger that would rise within the Pharisees for breaking the religious law.
He then talked to them through parables of a feast and banquet. The first parable (Luke 14:7-11) challenged the religious leaders about humility. These people, because of their position and knowledge, believed that they had right of place at the table and wherever they went, they held their head up high with the image of superiority.
Jesus continues with a parable of a banquet (Luke 14:12-24) that also challenges the Pharisees about the Kingdom of God and their response to it. The story shows a man, possibly a rich man with some status and superiority similar to the Pharisees position, holding a big dinner. The invitations went out so many people could come and enjoy this meal together. However, on the day nobody accepted the invitation.
The man holding the banquet then sent out his servants to invite the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame to come and enjoy the meal. The Kingdom of God is not just for people with a level of status, it is for everyone, whether they are rich or poor, in need of help or able to help others. The door is open and an invitation is ready for everyone to come and join the great feast in God’s Kingdom.
This parable is more than just illustrating the need to help people and invite them into the Kingdom of God. It focuses on the issue most of us struggle with from time to time. Jesus spends more time talking about the people making excuses, who in their reasoning come up with stories on why they cannot be at the banquet. The sad thing about the excuses is they missed out and were then shut out from the joy of being in the Kingdom of God.
The reason why helping people is such an issue is because many people who are good Christians, know God and believe in Jesus, come up with excuses as the Pharisees do, in why they can’t help. Our excuses become a barrier for us and will prevent us enjoying the blessings that come from helping people.
The message is to ‘go out into the highways… and compel them to come in’ Luke 14:23. The greatest way to help people is not only helping with their material needs, but sharing Jesus and how He has rescued them from darkness and transferred them into His Kingdom (Colossians 1:13).
When we see someone in need, let’s not make an excuse and walk past them. Help them, showing that Jesus is the answer to all their needs, and that their life will be different with Him.
When he (the lame man) saw Peter and John about to go into the temple, he began asking to receive alms. But Peter, along with John, fixed his gaze on him and said, “Look at us!” And he began to give them his attention, expecting to receive something from them. But Peter said, “I do not possess silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene–walk!” And seizing him by the right hand, he raised him up; and immediately his feet and his ankles were strengthened. With a leap he stood upright and began to walk; and he (the lame man) entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. Acts 3:3-8
In your prayer time, ask God to present opportunities that you can help people, not just with a material need, but share Jesus. Pray for boldness and increasing faith, so when the opportunity presents itself, you are able do it.
Helping people as we have talked about through the month can be difficult, messy and uncomfortable. There is no clear procedure to help a person as the needs and responses are all different. What we do know, that never changes, is God loves people, no matter who they are and the circumstance they find themselves in. How can you help someone in need? What would you do differently next time you meet someone asking for help? How will you show Jesus through the practical way of helping someone?
Potentially, we all could be the same and have a handful of excuses to save us the time and getting too involved in helping someone in need. Excuses not only cause someone to miss out of getting help, but it’s a missed opportunity to share Jesus. Excuses also hurt us and potentially lead to us to missing out on an eternal reward.
As Peter and John showed us, our response to helping people can be rewarding as those who received our help could end up being someone walking, leaping and praising God as they go their way. To witness life transformation brings the greatest satisfaction to both the helper and the one who received help. It’s what helping people is really all about, empowering them for life change through Jesus.
You can make a difference through helping people.