Two father-son duos have served as U.S. president: the Adamses (John and John Quincy) and the Bushes (George H. W. and George W.) The Canadians have their own notable political family; last October, Justin Trudeau followed the steps of his father, Pierre, and was elected prime minister. Observers of political dynasties love to see whether the governing style will be “like father, like son.”
The Godhead is definitely “like Father, like Son”: Jesus is the exact representation of God’s being and character. What angers God, angers Jesus; what delights God, delights Jesus. In His ministry and teaching, we see an outworking of God’s preoccupations for broken people and this broken world.
Jesus reminded the Pharisees that God isn’t nitpicky about the rules simply for the sake of keeping a moral checklist. All God’s rules are for human flourishing, which is why Jesus healed on the Sabbath though rabbinic law forbade medical treatment (vv. 2–4). If an ox or child can be pulled from a pit on the Sabbath, a sick man can be made well!
Jesus also reminded the Pharisees that God’s priorities are not like those of aspirational, ambitious men and women who vainly pursue the honor of their own name (vv. 7–14). These people want the best seat in the house; they grant favors in order to gain recognition. They are nothing like the heavenly Father who desires humility from His children. God cares for the lowly and humble, and the eternal banquet He is preparing will include an unlikely guest list of the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind (v. 21).
This chapter ends with the call to carry a cross, sacrificing personal ambition for godly devotion (v. 27). God hasn’t promised any of us our best life now.
Apply the Word
The Lamb of God will preside over a great feast (see Rev. 19:7–9). From today’s reading, it’s clear that God extends a gracious invitation to all of humanity, through Jesus, to join Him at that table: “My house will be full!” (v. 23). How can we mirror God’s generosity by telling others about Jesus and the great banquet to come?