Now most of us would think it is cool to have Jesus around at our place having dinner. We have all read in a magazine or online many people answer the question “If you could invite Five people living or dead to dinner who would you invite?” So many times when I read the answers to that question people say that they would invite Jesus. We think if Jesus was our guest he would be the best guest in the world, his conversational style would make everyone at ease and he would have great and profound things to say. But this couldn’t be further from the truth, because a lot of the time Jesus was a horrible dinner guest. Granted, if you considered yourself morally bankrupt he was a great dinner guest but for the rest of us he would have been terrible. He was always the guy who said the awkward thing or asked the question that put the whole vibe of the dinner party on ice. Let’s have a look what I mean. In Luke 14:1-6 Jesus heals a guy on the Sabbath (which you weren’t meant to do) and then he offends everyone in the room. Have a look at verse 7
7 When he noticed how the guests picked the places of honor at the table, he told them this parable: 8 “When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited. 9 If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, ‘Give this person your seat.’ Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place. 10 But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up to a better place.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all the other guests. 11 For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
Jesus has a go at everyone for sitting in the wrong seats at the table! How awkward! The he has a go at the host of the night:
12 Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. 13 But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind,14 and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”
Did you notice the word “then” which kicks off verse 12. It gives the vibe that after he has given a lecture about seating arrangements he goes straight on to talk to the host and give him a little lecture about who to invite. So in about two minutes Jesus has insulted everyone in the room. Good on you Jesus! What a buzz kill. You’d think Mary and Joseph would have taught him some dinner party etiquette wouldn’t you?
But why is what he said insulting? It is insulting because he uncovers their hearts. Why were they sitting in the wrong spaces? Because they wanted to be thought of as great by everyone else and they thought of themselves as great. Why did the host invite the wrong people? Because he wanted the best people there so he could climb the social ladder. Jesus makes them uncomfortable because he shows them their heart.
The first feeling when you truly encounter Jesus will not be a feeling of peace and tranquility but inner turmoil, because when you truly encounter Jesus you will encounter someone who in every way is better than you and you will realise that how sinful you are. Now some of you are thinking “Hans, Hans, you don’t know about the God that I have encountered! I believe in a God who is love nothing but perfect love and so when I encounter him I feel nothing but love!” But can I say that if you truly encountered someone who is perfectly loving you would be undone too. If you truly encountered someone who is perfectly loving you would have inner turmoil. Why? Because we all think we are loving and yet if we met someone who loves perfectly we would see that how unloving we truly are. It is a bit like when I was teenager I thought I could play basketball until I played against Sam MacKinnon who, at that time, was the starting small forward for Australia. In front of about one thousand people he scored about 60 points on me. I was undone, I thought I was a basketballer until I encountered a real basketballer. And we think we are loving until we encounter the God of perfect love. When we encounter him we will have our hearts exposed to us and we will realise that we aren’t as loving as we thought we were. If you truly encounter Jesus he will make you uncomfortable just like he did with the guys in Luke 14.
But that lack of comfort then leads us onto his grace which covers over our shortcomings and forgives us for our sins. To not let yourself be uncomfortable when you encounter Jesus means that you are going to miss out on his love and forgiveness.
Embrace Jesus. Embrace inner turmoil. Embrace Grace.
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