Passages: Luke 14, Psalm 47
It seems like the Pharisees are the bad guys. At every turn they are looking for a way to trap Jesus. Their hypocrisy stands in sharp relief against the transparency and compassion of Jesus. In Luke 14 we see an interaction between Jesus and the Pharisees. In this Sabbath day dinner meeting the Pharisees do what they do best. At first, they attempt to trap Jesus by seating a man in desperate need of healing directly across from Jesus. Jesus is compelled to heal this man on the Sabbath in spite of the Pharisees objections. The Pharisees saw the commandment to not work on the Sabbath day as an opportunity to show their self–righteousness rather than a tangible reminder of God's grace and mercy. Jesus asks the Pharisees if their animal or perhaps their son were in a similar situation, would they reach beyond their hypocrisy to help. Their silence was telling.
It's obvious from the exchange that follows that much posturing and positioning took place in the seating of guests for supper. This party was designed to make Jesus feel like a low–class outsider. They do their best to show Jesus His place. As the Son of God and Creator of the Universe, Jesus is the most important, powerful person in the room and should have been treated as such. His patience and restraint in dealing with the Pharisees is amazing. Instead of zapping them, He instructs them. Instead of belittling them, He corrects their faulty thinking as a loving Father would a wayward child. Of course, in standard form, the Pharisees reject His admonishment and continue their quest to kill Him for speaking the truth.
We are quick to condemn the Pharisees for their hypocrisy despite the fact that we would probably behave in the same manner given similar circumstances. We must ask ourselves what Jesus would say about the condition of our spiritual house. If Jesus came over for supper, what changes would he make to the guest list or the seating chart? Is Jesus seated at the head of our spiritual table? Do we care about the things that Jesus cares about? Or, are we more interested in our status and the perception of others?
It must have been quite embarrassing for the host of the dinner party to hear Jesus talk about his guest list and seating arrangements. I wonder if we would be embarrassed as well were Jesus to come for supper. We would do well to begin the process of placing Him at the head of the table before He comes to set things straight.
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