WHDL - 00013358
WHDL - 00013358
During Jesus' ministry, we see many times where Jesus taught while sharing a meal. In fact, there are 10 different accounts of Jesus eating with various people in the gospel of Luke. These encounters left an eternal impact on those in His audience and on us as well. What can we learn as we take a seat at the table and experience Jesus' heart, responses, and His teachings?
Week one: Dining with an adversary — Luke 5:27-32 -eating with tax collectors
In Jesus’ time, tax collectors were pretty much hated by the people. These were Jews who were taking advantage by collecting Rome’s taxes plus a surcharge to line their own pockets (Luke 19:8). To many, they were considered “outsiders” and just as much adversaries as the Romans. Jesus eating a meal with a tax collector would be like you having dinner with a loan shark. How would your friends and family react to that?
We know that Jesus wasn’t just responding to an invitation; he sought Levi out and had a purpose in mind:
“Later, as Jesus left the town, he saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at his tax collector's booth. ‘Follow me and be my disciple,’ Jesus said to him” (Luke 5:27, NLT). Jesus wanted this man — this enemy of the people — to be saved. Each of us, before we came to Christ, were God’s enemies (Romans 5:10). But God loved us so much that he not only wanted to make us friends, but he also wanted to make us family (Ephesians 1:5).
Take Away: what “adversaries” need to be invited to your table?
Week two: The uninvited guest — Luke 7:36-50 – sinful woman
Have you ever hosted a dinner party only to have someone unexpected (and possibly unwanted) show up?
Jesus went to Simon the Pharisee’s house for a prestigious dinner, where topics of the day were to be discussed. Since the dining areas in the homes of the elite were often partially open to the street, the public could listen to the conversations.
Enter the “sinful woman” (7:37). She crossed the invisible barrier into the invited, elite space and shocked all in attendance with her actions. Although self-righteous Simon was indignant, Jesus welcomed her because he saw her heart.
Take away: What can you do to become open to unexpected interruptions your life?
Week three: Feeding the hungry — Luke 9:10-17 – feeding 5,000
In Luke’s account, Jesus fed 5,000 people (not including women and children) who had come to hear him speak. The disciples wanted to send them away, Jesus wanted them to be a part of a miracle.
Take away: What are you willing to give and do to be a part of a miracle in someone's life?
Week four: Smell the roses — Luke 10:38-42 – alabaster with Mary and Martha
Just like us, Jesus had friends such as Lazarus, Mary, and Martha who were dear to him, and no doubt he enjoyed getting together with them. Martha — the hostess with the mostest — was working hard to prepare a good meal for Jesus.
When Martha complained about her sister, who was just sitting and listening to Jesus, she was probably surprised when he rebuked her. Essentially, he said that Mary’s choice to sit and listen to him was better than all the work she was doing.
The problem wasn’t the work. It was that she was so busy she was going to miss the purpose: spending time with Jesus.
Take away: Does your work for God overshadow your worship of God?
Week five: Wash what matters — Luke 11:37-53 – wash the inside not outside
Life is messy. In Jesus’ time the roads were dusty and traveling guaranteed a certain measure of dirt on your person. When he was invited to dine with a Pharisee, he was criticized for not washing. They weren’t talking about washing your hands before dinner. They were judging him because he didn’t perform their complex washing ritual.
Jesus, always perceptive, saw their error wasn’t about hygiene but about the heart: “You Pharisees are so careful to clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside you are filthy — full of greed and wickedness! Fools! Didn’t God make the inside as well as the outside?” (Luke 11:39-40, NLT).
Take away: What in your heart needs to be cleansed?
Week six: Invite yourself over — Luke 19:1-10 –Zacchaeus
Zacchaeus was curious about Jesus but only expected to observe him from afar. The “wee little man” of Sunday school fame couldn’t see over the crowd, so he climbed a tree to catch a glimpse. He was probably surprised when Jesus noticed him. As the chief tax collector, he was even more surprised — and excited — when Jesus wanted to have a meal at his house.
Take away: Who do you know that needs an encounter with Jesus like Zacchaeus?
Good Friday: Last Supper Experience
Jesus’ last supper — the Passover meal — with his disciples is filled with meaning. The scene that is set reveals that Jesus is the lamb of God, that in Christ there is a new covenant, and that we are to remember his sacrifice through communion (Luke 22:14-38). Jesus is clearly the center of this meal.
Yet Jesus didn’t host this dinner for himself. He was thinking of his disciples, who had very little time left with him to understand the significance of what was about to happen.
His death and resurrection were going to change their lives and the world itself. He could have talked about his terrible suffering to come but instead focused on what they would need to remember from that night.
Take away: Do you see meals as a way to serve others’ spiritual needs?
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