Sobering Realities #08: An exposition of Luke 13:10-21. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, May 20, 2012.
It was your typical service. Nice, dignified. There was a touch of excitement in the air with the guest preacher. This visiting preacher had a little more style and was more dynamic than the usual preacher. Everyone was talking about the new guy. Several had heard him before. “He’s great! You’ve never heard anyone like him,” was the evaluation of most. And he was good. Things were progressing nicely – then he did it. The congregation was stunned. The pastor was horrified. “How could he do such a thing? That goes against everything we stand for. I can’t believe he did that. There is no excuse for such insensitivity. It’s outrageous. You can’t do that in church!” What did he do? What great evil caused such uproar? The answer may surprise you. It is found in Luke’s Gospel, chapter 13.
Text: Luke 13:10-21
Luke is writing to his friend an evangelistic message.
He wants his friend to understand who Jesus was – and to commit his life to him.
Luke wanted Theophilus to know that Jesus is indeed the Messiah of the Jews but also the Savior of the world!
By the time we reach chapter 13 of Luke’s account – we are in the last year of our Lord’s ministry. The religious establishment is growing increasingly hostile. The storm is gathering that will erupt in the agony of the cross. That serves as the backdrop of our text. In all likelihood we are in the last six months of our Lord’s ministry when this event takes place. From this dramatic moment we are reminded that:
Thesis: The ministry of Jesus confirms His love for the hurting and His assurance that the Gospel will triumph.
In some respects this account serves as a bookend for Luke’s account of the ministry of Jesus. How did Luke begin his account of Jesus’ ministry? With His sermon in His hometown synagogue in Nazareth (Luke 4:14-21). “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to reach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recover of sight for the blind. To release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” He began His ministry in the synagogue – here we have the last reference to ministry in a synagogue doing the very thing He announced at the beginning of His ministry.
I’ve noticed something about our Lord. Isaiah said of Him – “His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts.” As I read through the Gospels I am often surprised by what I read. God doesn’t always act as “God should.” He doesn’t respond the way I think He should respond. His friends are often the folks I would have never considered candidates for befriending the Almighty. But that is the way it has always been with our God. He chose the son of a Moon worshiper from Ur to establish a people who would be uniquely His. The man, Abram (later Abraham) acted as a pimp for his own wife when they were in Egypt! He chose a lying thief named Jacob to carry on the promise. Then He used a murder named Moses to lead His people out of Egyptian bondage. Israel’s greatest king was a murderous adulterer – yet became known as a man after God’s own heart. God has forever been in the business of using the weak things to confound the strong – the simple to amaze the wise. We find that continued in the ministry of our Lord. Look at the crowd He took up with. Look at the things He consistently did. That is why the religious establishment had so much trouble with him. “This man is God? That’s no way for God to act!” And yet as I read those various accounts my heart says – “Yes. This is the Holy One of God.”
As we seek to carry on the ministry of our Lord this passage serves as an important model for us. Because I’m convinced we find in this passage three key elements to the ministry of our Lord. Elements that must be reflected in our ministry if our ministry is to be like Christ’s.
- The Lord Jesus, in love and compassion, brings peace and healing to the suffering. (13:10-13)
- The Lord Jesus, in righteous indignation, scathingly rebukes merely ritualistic religion. (13:14-17)
- The Lord Jesus, in quiet confidence, assures us of the strength and influence of the Gospel. (13:18-21)