Luke 14:1-6 (CEV)
1One Sabbath, Jesus was having dinner in the home of an important Pharisee, and everyone was carefully watching Jesus. 2 All of a sudden a man with swollen legs stood up in front of him. 3 Jesus turned and asked the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law of Moses, “Is it right to heal on the Sabbath?” 4 But they did not say a word.
Jesus took hold of the man. Then he healed him and sent him away. 5 Afterwards, Jesus asked the people, “If your son or ox falls into a well, wouldn’t you pull him out right away, even on the Sabbath?” 6 There was nothing they could say.
I’ve spent the last week sewing – grateful to have just enough energy to sit up at my machine, and a break from almost ten months of migraines to be able to think clearly and to create. And when I sew, I like to watch Netflix.
Now, you have to understand that my sewing machine is older than my marriage (19 years!) and wasn’t that expensive when I bought it, so it’s very noisy. So when I say that I ‘watch’ Netflix while I sew, it’s basically just background noise.
Which is fine, since I’m not watching anything particularly important.
There isn’t going to be a test.
I’m not using the shows to try to trap an enemy.
I’m not using the shows to try to re-engineer how I do life.
All I want the shows for is background noise.
But I don’t think that’s the kind of watching that was going on at this dinner we’re looking in on today.
Jesus gets invited to a dinner, and Luke tells us that “everyone was carefully watching Jesus.”
Some of the guests are clearly Pharisees and teachers of the Law. Presumably they’re carefully watching Jesus to try to catch him out. They’ve been looking for opportunities to trap him for ages now, so it’s not much of a surprise.
But some of the other guests, I think, are watching carefully for a different reason.
They’re intrigued by Jesus.
He seems to have this different way of living – of moving – of being, that somehow breaks through the mess in their lives – that somehow makes sense of the brokenness they feel trapped under in a way that sets people free.
And so they’re watching maybe to understand better or to try to figure out how it’s done. Maybe they’re watching to try to find that one thing they’ve struggled with their entire life, or maybe they’re watching because there’s just something about this guy that just won’t let them go.
But either way the important thing is that they are carefully watching. Jesus isn’t background Netflix while they’re doing their sewing. Jesus isn’t background music while they’re hanging out at the cottage. Jesus isn’t billboards that they’re stuck mindlessly staring at in a traffic jam.
They are carefully watching Jesus.
They’re carefully watching him as he heals a man on the Sabbath.
They’re carefully watching him as he breaks all the rules.
They’re carefully watching him as he takes on the religious elites of the day and offers a new way of living – a way steeped in compassion and Shalom – that turns all of their presuppositions on their heads.
And since they’re carefully watching, I feel like they’ll be more likely to recognize a Jesus way of living when they see it.
Since they’re carefully watching, I feel like they’ll be more likely to long for a Jesus response the next time they meet pain or brokenness.
Since they’re carefully watching, I feel like some of them might even risk choosing a Jesus response the next time they are confronted with the option.
But that’s only possible if they’re carefully watching.Journal Questions:
- How often do you carefully watch Jesus?
- How often is Jesus your ‘background track’?
- Where do you find it most effective to watch Jesus?
- What posture do you find focuses your attention best to watch Jesus?
- What disciplines do you find help you to immerse yourself deepest in what Jesus is doing?
- What difference do you think it would make if you increased the time you spent carefully watching Jesus this week?