For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also the Gentile. (Romans 1:16)
Jesus gets invited to eat bread with a group of Pharisees on the Sabbath, so He goes. He encounters a man with swollen limbs (dropsy) along the way, so He stops and heals Him, knowing full well the religious leaders were watching Him closely, and sends the man on his way. Then, Jesus rebukes both the guests and the host of the dinner in the way of humility: the guests were all trying to get a seat at the head of the table, so Jesus teaches them that if they humbled themselves and sat at the foot of the table, there’d be a chance they would be moved up instead of down. The humble are exalted and the proud are humbled in His Kingdom. And as for the host, Jesus encourages him not to just invite his friends and family to dinners like this one, but to invite the poor, the lowly, and the undesirable who couldn’t pay him back, because his reward would come from God! He ends by teaching them, in a parable, that when the time comes for the great Banquet of the Messiah in the Kingdom of God, it would be the poor, the meek, the outsiders and the humble who would be invited, not the religious or pompous.
The Gospel is for the humble and the poor. Jesus said that the meek, the poor in spirit, those who weep now, these are the ones who are most blessed in His Kingdom (Matthew 6). The Messiah Himself came in humility and poverty as the Lamb of God, the Suffering Servant, to die a criminal’s death on our behalf as He was rejected by His own; His priority was to the deformed, the downtrodden, and the lowly. Not only did the Lord of Glory humble Himself in becoming a man to take our judgment and condemnation, His ministry was focused on exalting the humble and poor. “You know the generous grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Though He was rich, yet for our sakes He became poor, so that by His poverty He could make you rich.” (2 Cor. 8:9) And here’s the kicker: He commissions His followers to do the same!
With Jesus Christ as our Example, we are called and commissioned to be ever mindful of our own spiritual destitution and need apart from Him, and to focus on serving others who are in need as well, physically and spiritually. The Good News of salvation and redemption in Christ is not for those who think they’re well off, it’s for the humble who recognize their desperate need for a Savior. The doctor doesn’t come for the “healthy”, he comes for the sick! (Luke 5:31)
- How can we be more poverty-centric in our life as disciples? How can we have the same mind that Jesus had when He stepped off His Throne in Heaven to become a human being? (Philippians 2:5-8) How can we focus on ministering to the poor and the lowly in society, both physically in need and spiritually destitute? We should pray for the Lord to reconfigure our focus towards proclaiming good news to the poor, freedom for the captives, and sight for the blind. It’s only good news to those who need it!
Blessed are the poor, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. (Matthew 5:3)