It's Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath, and Jesus has been invited to dinner by one of the leaders among the Pharisees (Luke 14:1). There is no evidence whether Jesus was invited back a second time to this man's house, and it is not hard to see why. It seems like every time Jesus opened his mouth, he undressed somebody's hypocrisy. And this time was no different.
Turning his attention to the host, he challenges the guest list that had been produced, and apparently, this Pharisee got it wrong. It seems this man invited those he could get something in return for their presence at his table.
Jesus proposes a very different guest list for this Pharisee — and us — to use. This list includes, 'The poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind.' Now, I have no idea what it is like to be any of these people Jesus lists here (albeit the first years of marriage were financially challenging for sure). I know what it is like to be rich compared to the majority of people in the world. I know what it is like to be healthy, independent and privileged.
Jesus clearly favoured those on the margins — the vulnerable and the friendless. Perhaps it is because these were the people who inherently knew their need of God. That's the dangerous thing about wealth, health, security, independence and privilege. These things tend to stop us from recognizing our need for God. Just as he taught the Pharisee, he is teaching us what following him looks like. He is also is teaching us what God is like.
Jesus is calling us to rewrite the guest list and invite those to our banquet, whom we perhaps normally would not invite. This isn't charity he's talking about. It's not a handout he's asking for. He asking us to befriend them; to enter into relationship with them – to feast with them. Jesus wants us to follow him into a more redemptive purpose in our relationships. Let us restore Jesus' practice of authentic hospitality and loving strangers.
This creates what money can never buy: human relationships founded in the love of God. To bring his blessings into the lives of others. When we do this, we will realize we are fundamentally the same, needing mercy, grace and compassion. We are all in need of a Saviour.
Father, open my eyes to the opportunities you provide me to bless others in Jesus' name. Forgive me when I invest all my time, effort, and interest only in those whom I already know and who can repay me (Phil 2:4). Use me to bless those from whom I can expect nothing in return. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Jesus Follower, husband to Danae, father of Kaia & Hadley. Community Life Pastor, drummer, forever Leafs fan!