The Pharisees believed it unlawful to heal on the Sabbath, yet will save a son or ox who has fallen into a well. (vv. 1-6) Jesus continually exposed legalism as hypocrisy. The Pharisees would not left a finger to help a man in need because it was the Sabbath, yet they would help their son or their ox who was in need. This exposes legalism is being a selfish and unloving. Jesus and the Pharisees believed many of the same things but Jesus continually stepped on their hypocrisy and exposed their hearts. This is what the word of God does.
Jesus says to never take the place of highest place of honor but always take the lowest place unless you are invited to move up. (vv. 7-11) Some things are difficult for us to understand because they are culturally based. However, we have all been to a place where everyone is trying to be first and have the best seat. People clammer to be noticed by other people and to receive honor. However, the greatest honor is given when one is not seeking.
Do not do good things for only those who can return the favor but do good for those who do not have the means. (vv. 12-14) People treat people differently. This is what the apostle James wrote about the sin of partiality. (Jam 2 vv 1-13) Why did the people of the church invite the rich man to the front? The rich man can do more for the church in donations than the poor man. This still goes on in churches today. It is often the rich who are given places of honor on deacon boards and elder boards. The hospital that I work for treats wealthy patients much differently than the general population. However, Jesus said to not do this but do good for people who cannot do good for you. Again, the word of God exposes the heart.
Jesus likened the kingdom of God to a dinner feast in which a man invites guest to attend but some refused the invitation because of the worries of life. (vv. 15-24) Do not refuse the invitation to dine at the Lord’s table in the kingdom of God. There is nothing in this life worth it. It is easy to get caught up in the worries of life and miss what is truly important.
A disciple must be willing to leave all to follow Jesus. (vv. 25-33) There is not one thing or person in this world as important as following Jesus Christ. It is about a willingness to leave everything to follow Jesus. I believe that there have been many in church history who have misunderstood this passage. They have purposely taken vows of celibacy and poverty, thinking that this will earn them favor in the kingdom of God. This is a terrible misunderstanding of the meaning. It is about the desire of the heart. For these persons, there vows maybe what is holding them back from following Jesus. Others have started to follow Jesus but turned back because they were losing something that they loved. It is a marathon that we are running. Anyone can start a marathon but can you finish?
Jesus told a parable about salt that becomes tasteless. (vv. 34-35) This parable follows the parable about finishing the journey with Jesus. Many start well but their witness becomes tasteless. A Christian must have joy despite the difficulties with following Jesus in this world.