Pastor M. Beecroft, 06/21/2009
The Pharisee at the table with Jesus had it right. “Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the Kingdom of God!” This is most certainly true. Unfortunately, the Pharisee wasn’t concerned with theological truths, but merely trying to change the subject. You see, Jesus had been upsetting the people at the dinner and this man was just trying to relieve the tension. Now the Pharisees thought they were doing Jesus a favor by having him over for dinner. Usually they didn’t socialize with simple commoners like Jesus, but they had heard interesting things about him. Perhaps Jesus would be interested in moving up in the world, even becoming a part of their club. So they had him over for dinner. The invitation meant they elevated Jesus to be their social and religious equal. They assumed he would share their values. It was expected he would be respectful and they would have a safe, agreeable discussion, like a bunch of Republicans or Democrats at a fundraiser. Jesus, however, sits down and begins to attack. First, He chides them for their lack of mercy, teaching them that compassion is desired always, even on the Sabbath. Then he challenges their pride, telling them to be humble and let others honor them rather than seeking the best seat for themselves Finally, Jesus confronts their pompous practice of only eating with a certain kind of people. He even tells them to open up their dinner table to all people, especially the outcasts of society, the poor, the maimed, the lame and the blind… This would have been inconceivable to the Pharisees. They considered such outcasts to be under some type of judgment. Moreover, to associate or eat with such trash would have defiled them. Didn’t Jesus know his hosts?
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