When we say that this table is Godís hospitality to us, and is therefore the motivation and driving force behind our hospitality to one another and the strangers, orphans, and widows around us, we are talking about a kind of hospitality that is actually very foreign to the world. It was foreign in the Old Testament when God first commanded Israel to keep the feasts and to keep Sabbath, and it was foreign in the first century when Jesus proclaimed that all those feasts and Sabbaths were being fulfilled in Him and the apostles took Him seriously. And it ultimately got Him and most of the first missionaries and apostles killed. They got killed for their hospitality; they were killed because of who they ate with. So what is so foreign about the hospitality of Jesus? Whatís so threatening? Itís strange and foreign because itís all based on grace. You donít belong at this table. If you think you belong here, thatís just another reason you donít belong here. We donít deserve a place at the table of the Lord. We are sinners, we are fools, we are whiners, we are awkward, we are difficult to get along with. And if you donít think so, probably even more so. But the point is that God invites us week after week to His house, to His table, and He shares a meal with us, He speaks to us, He blesses us, He extends grace to us. If we understand that grace, if it is taking hold in us and transforming us, as it should, we should find our tables turning into similar things. Our tables should be places where sinners are forgiven, befriended, loved, conversed with, blessed, and fed. And this will mean that over time, your table will have people that donít deserve to be there, people the world hates, people even your friends or family despise. But then you can smile and say, yeah, I know, itís just like Jesus, a friend of sinners and prostitutes and tax collectors and Pharisees. So come, you are His friends, and you are welcome here.
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