Daily Update #151

Luke 14:12-14
“When you give a banquet ………….
 Jesus, as someone’s dinner guest could be described either as interesting, or as completely embarrassing, depending on your point of view.      I wonder if He was ever invited back to the home of the particular Pharisee in this incident!  
“Humility” is a much misunderstood word.   To the ancient world it was a despised thing.   The coming of Jesus changed that and elevated it to a virtue.   David, the Psalmist understood what it meant to live in complete dependence on God, so did Jesus while He was here on earth.   
The hallmark of Jesus’ earthly life was humility.   As He left the glory of heaven and shared His life with sinners He was criticised for spending time with the “wrong sort of people”.   
Reading the Gospels I am struck by the number of occasions on which Jesus ate and drank with people of all kinds………….         
Three years close fellowship with a motley group of disciples some of whom came from rather questionable backgrounds,………., inviting Himself to tea with unpopular Zacchaeus,………. multiplying bread and fish to feed 5000 people on a hillside………., visits to the home of Mary, Martha and Lazarus,……… the Last Supper….   Then, after His resurrection breaking bread with two dispirited disciples at Emmaus……….. proving He was alive by eating fish in the upper room, …….. and organising a beach barbeque for tired fishermen.   
It surely is no accident that Jesus described Himself as “the Bread of Life” (John 6:35).    Even in our culture we regard bread as our staple food because it is basic to our daily needs.     As a memorial of His death and passion Jesus gave us bread and wine.    He understands our deepest needs.  
Eating and drinking is an everyday thing for us.    Although we cannot do it much at present, to invite someone to your home for a meal is to invite someone into your life and your heart.   To be invited into someone else’s home for a meal is an honour.
Jesus showed love to all kinds of people by spending time with them.    What a contrast this was to the self-seeking Pharisees in this particular story, who were bound up by their rules (as Sarah described last Friday).    As a result of this they had reduced their social circle to people like themselves.   Invitations were often made on the basis of what the host could get out of it for themselves.        
Naturally we are drawn to people like ourselves and Jesus wasn’t saying that it is wrong to have close friendships.    He was denouncing the motives behind showing favouritism to people who are likely to benefit us.   Jesus’ approach was inclusive – theirs was exclusive.   There was no love in that.  
Phil. 2:1-4
The Gospel is for everyone regardless of social status or educational background, black, white, rich or poor, young, old, married, single, divorced or widowed.     All of us stand before God as redeemed sinners – depending on His grace.     This makes us equal with one another.
Paul, in his letter to the Philippians, urged his readers to be of one mind and do nothing from selfish motives.   To have the patience and humility to consider one another’s point of view, appreciating one another’s spiritual qualities, and building one another up in mutual love and support.  
When this works well Churches stand out as different from the rest of society.    But any of us who have been on the Christian road for any length of time will know that this isn’t always easy.   We come from different backgrounds, have different life experience, different abilities and different views about how things should be done.        Humility requires us to put aside our own agendas and value one another, as we work together for the good of the whole body.    The challenges of living out the demands of Church life are enough to last us for a lifetime!
To finish then –  Jesus is the one who draws us together.   Without Him we have no life.   His love, forgiveness and patience are the things that make it all possible.   In His humility He has demonstrated God’s pattern for living.
Let His promise in Revelation 3:20 encourage us to keep going.
“Listen!  I am standing at the door, knocking;
if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you and eat with you, and you with me.”