“More Than Table Manners”

On Sept. 1, Pastor Katy preaches on Luke 14:1, 7-14.

1 On one occasion when Jesus was going to the house of a leader of the Pharisees to eat a meal on the sabbath, they were watching him closely.

7 When he noticed how the guests chose the places of honor, he told them a parable. 8 “When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not sit down at the place of honor, in case someone more distinguished than you has been invited by your host; 9 and the host who invited both of you may come and say to you, ‘Give this person your place,’ and then in disgrace you would start to take the lowest place. 10 But when you are invited, go and sit down at the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher’; then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at the table with you. 11 For all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” 12 He said also to the one who had invited him, “When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, in case they may invite you in return, and you would be repaid. 13 But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. 14 And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you, for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

Jesus was not exactly known in his day for being the kind of man you’d invite to a guys’ poker night. He was always watching, and always being watched, especially when it came to the Sabbath, which is perhaps why he was invited to share the Sabbath meal with the leader of the Pharisees. In his characteristic way, Jesus shows up and boldly turns the cultural norms on their head. His lesson on hospitality and table manners has a little bit for everyone; a reminder for the guests to humble themselves by where they sit and for the host to rethink who he invites in the first place. While Jesus definitely cares about mealtime, Luke reminds us that Jesus’ words and lessons are rarely limited to isolated circumstances. As he journeys toward Jerusalem, we catch yet another glimpse of the Kingdom of God.