Summary: A message on how judgmentalism, pride and selfishness are unwelcome at God’s table.
Luke Series #67 June 02, 2002
Title: Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner?
Introduction: Welcome to New Life in Christ. This morning we are continuing in Chapter 14 of the Book of Luke in our verse-by-verse teaching series out of that book.
Read Luke 14:1-14
In the 1967 movie “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner,” a young woman named Joey Drayton brings home her fiancé, John Way Prentice to meet her parents. The parents had always thought of themselves as being without prejudice but are shocked to discover that their daughter’s fiancé is black, and that this disturbs them. This movie, which revolves around a dinner party, exposes the tendency to think that we are something that we are not. We often have flaws that go unnoticed until they are revealed in certain situations. This dinner reveals the parent’s character flaws and leads them to re-examine the condition and attitudes of their own hearts.
Something similar happens in our Bible text today. Jesus comes to dinner but instead of polite table talk, this dinner conversation probably causes those present to wish that they had brought more Rolaids.
Jesus actions, parable, and exhortation exposed the character flaws of those present. The Pharisees, who are what we would describe as “church-going people,” thought of themselves as spiritual and godly but like in the aforementioned movie, the truth will come out. Jesus exposed three serious character flaws at this dinner: judgmentalism, pride, and selfishness.
This incident was written down in the Bible so that Jesus followers today would be alert to the same faults in themselves. Speaking for myself, I found that as I thought on this passage of Scripture, that in many ways I was guilty of the very character traits that Jesus revealed as unacceptable at this dinner 2,000 years ago.
As I expound on this text verse by verse, I believe that some of you might find the same faults to be true of your own lives. If you have already determined that you are not guilty of these things, then you have overestimated yourself and are guilty of the second flaw, which is pride. What I have been diplomatically referring to as flaws, the Bible calls “sin.”
Before we look at the details of this text verse by verse, I need to explain the setting for this narrative. This is important because the setting or motif in which in an event takes place is an essential part of the moral or spiritual truth being communicated. As I already noted, the setting for this teaching of Jesus was a formal dinner. The thematic element of a dinner is very prominent throughout the story. The healing takes place at dinner in verses 1-6, Jesus uses the parable of a wedding banquet or dinner in verses 7-11, and then Jesus talks about inviting others to a luncheon or dinner in verses 12-14. After this, in verses 15-24, which I will cover next week, Jesus gives the parable of the Great Banquet or dinner. This thematic element of a dinner is in itself important to the practical message that the story is communicating.