Sunday, March 1, 2015
The Dinner Host
While the custom is surely disappearing in our culture, Jesus recognized the value of sitting at a table and sharing a meal with those gathered around it. He was not particular about those with whom He ate. He was a dinner guest of Martha and Mary. He ate at the house of Zacchaeus, a tax collector. He ate often with the Twelve. And as we see Him on the road to the cross, we see Him saying, "Yes" to a dinner invitation from a Pharisee.
As we read the story of that dinner midway through the 11th chapter of Luke, it is impossible not to wonder if the food even got to the table. Hardly had Jesus sat down and the Pharisee host was filled with a self-righteous judgment because Jesus did not submit Himself to a ritualistic pre-mealtime hand washing. With the ugly judgmental spirit filling up the room, Jesus tells the Pharisee that he was a fool to think such a thing when he was so unclean in his own heart. Imagine a dinner guest invited to our table calling us a fool! It is no wonder those Pharisees found dark places to conspire against this One who was truly righteous.
Of course, we know that Jesus only spoke the truth. What is seen by others is often a far cry from what is in heart. Appearance does not always mean reality. And in moments of honesty we often realize that only restraint and public acceptance keep us from expressing outwardly the sinful attitudes which lurk in our hearts. What Jesus said to the Pharisee is not what we want Jesus to say as He looks toward us. We would rather hear of His love for us, but as One who is going to die for our sins, there is only time for honesty even it offends and hurts.