October 2023 Connection

“Pull Up A Chair”

Then Levi threw a great banquet for Jesus in his home. A large number of tax collectors and others sat down to eat with them. The Pharisees and their legal experts grumbled against his disciples. They said, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” Jesus answered, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor, but sick people do. I didn’t come to call righteous people but sinners to change their hearts and lives.” Luke 5:29-32 (CEB)
The other day, I was watching a reality TV show (insert eye roll). You know, the kind of show that adds zero value to your life, but you can’t help but watch? Anyway, during this particular episode, the show’s participants were asked what time they’d like to have their lunch. Their response? 3 o’clock in the afternoon! When asked when they’d like to sit down for dinner (not yet eat, but just sit down, mind you), they replied, 10:30pm! Now, I’m all for enjoying your vacation and living life outside of the box, but lunch is at noon and dinner is between 5 and 6pm,right?!
Maybe you’re with me, or maybe you’re not.
And that’s kind of the point. I wonder what Levi’s banquet was like. Do you think it was catered? Buffet style? Family style? Maybe plated? What was the vegetarian option? How much wine was there? Was there enough for everyone? Oh, and how do you suppose the guests were invited? Maybe it was an invitation to the whole community! Or maybe it was just for certain hand-picked guests. Jesus seemed to have been the guest of honor, so do you think he got to weigh in on who came? Do you think they ate dinner on time, or was it more like 10:30pm?
We don’t know the details, but the religious leaders certainly had some criticism for the party…for Jesus…maybe even for Levi – but most certainly for the party guests. “Why [does Jesus] eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” Now, to be fair, the Pharisees were not the only ones asking this question; I guarantee it! You see, how should I put this gently?
Jesus was doing that which no self-respecting rabbi would do…and I think he knew it. I suspect Jesus did it for two reasons. The first was simply because Jesus was showing absolute love for each person, all of whom he saw as a child of God. Why? Because no one is left out of the banquet – here or heavenly. The second reason I suspect Jesus did it was because he wanted to prove a point to everyone who questioned it. Just because what I’m doing has not been done before…just because it’s unfamiliar…just because its new…doesn’t make it wrong. It’s as if Jesus’ response is simple, “Just because it’s different doesn’t mean it’s not loving.”
In other words, just because I prefer my dinner at 6pm, doesn’t mean that there is anything wrong with eating dinner at 10:30pm, especially if that’s where the people who are hungry for love are. And so, if that means that we need to pull our chairs up to that late night table – no matter how different or out-of-our-comfort-zone it may be, our resounding response should simply be, “Let’s Eat!” 
There’s another seat next to mine. You want it?
Pastor Brian
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