Summary: Luke 14 Jesus describes the Kingdom of god as a Great Banquet Table. Who belongs at the table and how inclusive is the table?
“There’s Room at the Table”
-The Kingdom of God is like a Great Banquet Table-
In this passage of scripture Jesus teaches that the Kingdom of God is like a banquet. The Kingdom of God is like having a great party.
The social life of Jesus got him into trouble. His social life created controversy. (Matthew 9:10-11) (Luke 15:1-2) Jesus made it a practice to eat with sinners, a practice denounced by the Pharisees and Jewish dignitaries.
As we study Luke 14 we need to ask, “Who does God what at His table?” “How big is God’s table?” “Who belongs at the Table?” “How inclusive is the table?”
Luke 14:1-24 from the Message translation by Eugene Peterson. (Read by Luke Jones)
The leader of our Hospitality Team, Mickey Jenkins has set a small table symbolizing a table set for guests.
We want to examine Luke 14 in the light of the time of Christ. Scot McKnight, Professor in Biblical and Theological Studies at North Park University, notes that the kind of people Jesus hung out with were looked down upon as second class citizens by the Pharisees. The people Jesus hung out with were people of the land; they did not know the Torah – Jewish law. They were rift raft and common people, the lowest of the low.
The Pharisees could not understand why the common people, outcasts of society followed Jesus who claimed to be a Rabbi and Teacher. The kind of people Jesus ate with and fellowshipped with would not be tolerated in their homes.
Pharisees were as likely to invite common people in the mob that followed Jesus to their table as Jocks would welcome members of the college debate team to their table. Jocks and debate dweebs don’t mix.
In Jesus’ day a righteous person would not sit down and eat with a common person – people of the land – they don’t know the Torah.
Jesus did not go along with the Jewish customs of His day. He invited all to His Table. In the story of the Great Banquet Jesus invites all to His table. There is room for all at God’s Table. This was in direct contrast to the Pharisees who believed that only certain people are welcome at God’s Table.
Do you have a list of people you would sit down with a list of people you would not invite to your table? Do you have a list of people who deserve to sit at God’s table?
In November I visited the Willow Creek Church in S. Barrington, ILL, a suburb of Chicago. John Ortberg the teaching pastor there told of going to his mother’s hair dresser. After talking to her he thought she had some interest in knowing more about God. He told his mother that he thought she wanted to know about God. His mother responded: “No way! She is on her fifth husband and is living in sin.” John said: “Mom the next time you get your hair done at the beauty salon ask her if she is interested in spiritual things?
The next time she went to have her hair done she prayed in her heart as she was taking a seat in the beauty shop chair. “God you know I don’t want to talk to her about her faith because she’s not the kind of person I want to associate with. If you want me to talk to her then have her ask me first.” The first thing the beauty operator said when she approached was, “I understand you and your husband have a Bible study. Do you mind if I come sometime?” She said that her mother was Jewish and her father a Roman Catholic. Her mother made her go to the synagogue on Saturday and when she came home her dad made her take the rosary and make confession of her sin. She grew up confused and turned to alcohol for comfort and she could drink with the best of them. To get help she went to AA meetings but could not think of her “higher power” as God so she called her “higher power” Ralph. At one of the AA meetings a guy came in half drunk. He stood up and said; “My name is Ralph and I’m an alcoholic.” The hair dresser said at that point in her life she wanted to know the true God. She and her husband started attending the bible study of John’s parents.
Who do you give up on? Who are the people you wouldn’t invite to the table? What people don’t come up to your standards? Who are not worthy to come to your table?
1. Who Belongs at the Table
Luke 14 Jesus gives the parable of “who belongs at the Table?”
Luke 14:1 “One Sabbath, when Jesus went to eat in the house of a prominent Pharisee, he was being carefully watched.” A man outside the house was there with the disease of dropsy. They were probably hoping Jesus would heal the man on the Sabbath so they could accuse him of breaking the Jewish law.