From The Table…
We know in Jesus’ day a person wouldn’t eat with someone of a different social standing, and certainly never with someone of a different religion. A good religious person would never eat with a sinner. Jesus turned this all on its head.
In his book, The Aims of Jesus, Ben Meyer writes: “The act of Jesus was to reverse this structure: communion first, conversion second. His table fellowship with sinners implied no acquiescence in their sins, for the gratuity of the reign of God canceled none of its demands. But in a world in which sinners stood inescapably condemned, Jesus’ openness to them was irresistible. Contact triggered repentance; conversion flowered from communion. In the little world of ancient Palestine, this was a powerful movement.”
I like the phrase, “conversion flowered from communion.” In other words, when tax collectors and sinners ate with Jesus they changed. Jesus’ willingness to eat with the outcasts and sinners changed their lives and challenged the religious establishment. No one who reads this is Jesus! But, if you are willing to sit at the table with folks you would not normally sit with, you will find yourself challenged and changed too!
—Pastor Chris Weichman