Summary: The Table . . . A common everyday item. Every house has one. A simple table or a meeting place. Perhaps a classroom. Could it be that a simple table is really a blank canvas?
Pt. 2 - Table Manners
I don't know what your home was like growing up, but in my house we were taught table manners. In fact, you need to pray for me as I try to find something to do while I am grounded this week for even playing that video. We had some very specific manners we were taught: no whistling at table, chew with your mouth closed, don't talk with your mouth open, no smacking, take your plate to the sink when you are finished, and the big one . . . you can't leave the table until everyone is finished eating. Now that probably doesn't seem that bad but the first time I was told about that rule/manner I was probably about 5 years old. So as instructed I sat there and waited until my mother finished eating and when I finally got up I was 18. Good grief how slow can a person eat?
Jesus' ministry was marked by fellowship, communion and eating with a variety of people. At some point in His ministry He felt that it was necessary to share a set of table manners for those gathered at the table and these manners are instruction to us! So let's look at 3 specific manners we must follow if we want to stay at the table!
1-3 One time when Jesus went for a Sabbath meal with one of the top leaders of the Pharisees, all the guests had their eyes on him, watching his every move. Right before him there was a man hugely swollen in his joints. So Jesus asked the religion scholars and Pharisees present, "Is it permitted to heal on the Sabbath? Yes or no?"
4-6They were silent. So he took the man, healed him, and sent him on his way. Then he said, "Is there anyone here who, if a child or animal fell down a well, wouldn't rush to pull him out immediately, not asking whether or not it was the Sabbath?" They were stumped. There was nothing they could say to that.
7-9He went on to tell a story to the guests around the table. Noticing how each had tried to elbow into the place of honor, he said, "When someone invites you to dinner, don't take the place of honor. Somebody more important than you might have been invited by the host. Then he'll come and call out in front of everybody, 'You're in the wrong place. The place of honor belongs to this man.' Red-faced, you'll have to make your way to the very last table, the only place left.
10-11"When you're invited to dinner, go and sit at the last place. Then when the host comes he may very well say, 'Friend, come up to the front.' That will give the dinner guests something to talk about! What I'm saying is, If you walk around with your nose in the air, you're going to end up flat on your face. But if you're content to be simply yourself, you will become more than yourself."
12-14Then he turned to the host. "The next time you put on a dinner, don't just invite your friends and family and rich neighbors, the kind of people who will return the favor. Invite some people who never get invited out, the misfits from the wrong side of the tracks. You'll be—and experience—a blessing. They won't be able to return the favor, but the favor will be returned—oh, how it will be returned!—at the resurrection of God's people."
III. The Manners
A. The Meal Should Heal
Notice that Jesus stops right in the middle of a meal and heals. In fact, He puts the folks on notice that the Sabbath is a great time to be healed. Too often we have made fellowshipping about seeing and being seen. Jesus shows us that our meals should heal. This time together each week or at other times during the week should be about identifying needs and dealing with them!
Have you looked around you today? Or has it been about getting your grub on? Have you taken time to notice the pain, sickness, and needs of those 2 rows back. Why gather if all we are going to do is eat? That leads to spiritually fat Christians. We consume but never give out. We take in but never utilize what we are consuming to touch others!
Ever been to church, hung out in fellowship with other believers and it do everything but heal? We cannot become that church or those people! We must arrive at service with the attitude of Jesus which is "I expect to be interrupted by need. I expect to be used by Father to meet need. I won't nourish myself before I first nourish someone else!"