Sermons

Summary: There was a guest at the Passover with Jesus and his disciples who was not invited, but showed up anyway.

The Uninvited Guest

Luke 22:14-30

14Then at the proper time Jesus and the twelve apostles sat down together at the table. 15Jesus said, “I have looked forward to this hour with deep longing, anxious to eat this Passover meal with you before my suffering begins. 16For I tell you now that I won’t eat it again until it comes to fulfillment in the Kingdom of God.”

17Then he took a cup of wine, and when he had given thanks for it, he said, “Take this and share it among yourselves. 18For I will not drink wine again until the Kingdom of God has come.”

19Then he took a loaf of bread; and when he had thanked God for it, he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, “This is my body, given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 20After supper he took another cup of wine and said, “This wine is the token of God’s new covenant to save you—an agreement sealed with the blood I will pour out for you.

21“But here at this table, sitting among us as a friend, is the man who will betray me. 22For I, the Son of Man, must die since it is part of God’s plan. But how terrible it will be for my betrayer!” 23Then the disciples began to ask each other which of them would ever do such a thing.

24And they began to argue among themselves as to who would be the greatest in the coming Kingdom. 25Jesus told them, “In this world the kings and great men order their people around, and yet they are called ‘friends of the people.’ 26But among you, those who are the greatest should take the lowest rank, and the leader should be like a servant. 27Normally the master sits at the table and is served by his servants. But not here! For I am your servant. 28You have remained true to me in my time of trial. 29And just as my Father has granted me a Kingdom, I now grant you the right 30to eat and drink at my table in that Kingdom. And you will sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

There was an uninvited guest at the meal. In fact, this guest is never invited. No one wants him around. Yet, he is so subtle, no one knows he’s there until he has done his damage. He is good at stirring up trouble. He has a knack for starting arguments. Sometimes the arguments lead to fights and the fights to war. Needless to say, when he enters a room, people will be hurt.

Of all places for him to be present, there he was, in the upper room with Jesus and his disciples. You would think that he couldn’t even enter the room. But he did and he did what he does best. He took the words of Jesus and used them to get the disciples to begin to focus on themselves. 21But here at this table, sitting among us as a friend, is the man who will betray me…23Then the disciples began to ask each other which of them would ever do such a thing. 24And they began to argue among themselves as to who would be the greatest in the coming Kingdom.

Who is this uninvited guest who crashed Jesus’ dinner party? Who is this uninvited guest who appeared at the church in Corinth? Who is this uninvited guest who has intruded into the life of countless congregations and small groups? The uninvited guest is named Division, a servant of Satan.

There he was in the upper room. When Jesus said that one of the disciples would betray him, Division went to work. He blinded each disciple to the fact that he had the capacity to betray Jesus. So they began pointing fingers. Not literally, but in their minds they pointed fingers at one another. “Is it Peter?” “Could it be John?” “What about Matthew?” “I’ve always wondered about Thaddeus.” “It must be Thomas. He’s always thinking about something.”

Never once did any of them ask, “What if it’s me?” Instead they pointed at the others and never noticed the three fingers pointing back at them.

Luke tells us that their discussion about who the betrayer was turned into an argument about who was the greatest among them. Peter thought to himself, “It can’t be me. I was the first one Jesus called. Therefore, I’ll be his right-hand man.” John thought, “It can’t be me. I’m his favorite. I’ll make a good second in command.” Matthew mused, “It’s can’t be me. My background in taxes qualifies for the position of managing money.” Andrew said to himself, “It can’t be me. I brought him the loaves and fish so he could feed all those people. I have faith in Jesus.” Division had succeeded. The disciples were divided. They could easily be conquered now.

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Kevin Beales

commented on Oct 5, 2008

An excellent sermon for an ecumenical communion.

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