What is the first image that comes to mind when you think of a table?
This particular piece of furniture comes in all shapes and sizes. It can be a gathering space for many or a few. A place to eat, converse, create, play games, work, collaborate, negotiate, laugh and cry. Many celebrations, essential conversations, and life-changing events happen around tables.
From the preschool table where you learn to share crayons to the coffee table where you sit and pour your heart out to a dear friend, a table is an important item in our daily lives.
If you are anything like me, I think FOOD when I think of a table! I think most of you would agree; if you were asked to share the principal purpose of a table, it would be for meals.
With Thanksgiving days away, my mouth is already watering, thinking of all the delicious foods that come with this wonderful holiday and also the great conversations that happen around the table.
If Jesus lived on Earth today, I believe he would love Thanksgiving because, throughout the gospels, we see how Jesus enjoyed gathering and sharing a meal. I think Jesus did this out of his great love for us.
Jesus, who knows everything about our inner being, ensures all of our basic needs are met before sharing his wisdom and teaching. He knew, first and foremost, our human body needs nourishment. As our creator, he is also aware we need to feel safe and secure, so he invites, listens, respects, and informs while always allowing freedom. This excellent teaching formula led to many transformed lives. Let's look at some scripture about how Jesus meets others around a table and the wisdom we can find there.
A Coffee Table Conversation with Christ:
36Then one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to eat with him, and He entered the Pharisee's house and reclined at the table. 37When a sinful woman from that town learned that Jesus was dining there, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume. 38As she stood behind Him at His feet weeping, she began to wet His feet with her tears and wipe them with her hair. Then she kissed His feet and anointed them with the perfume. 39When the Pharisee who had invited Jesus saw this, he said to himself, "If this man were a prophet, He would know who this is and what kind of woman is touching Him—for she is a sinner!" 40But Jesus answered him, "Simon, I have something to tell you." "Tell me, Teacher," he said. 41"Two men were debtors to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii,e and the other fifty. 42When they were unable to repay him, he forgave both of them. Which one, then, will love him more?" 43"I suppose the one who was forgiven more," Simon replied. "You have judged correctly," Jesus said. 44And turning toward the woman, He said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? When I entered your house, you did not give Me water for My feet, but she wet My feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45You did not greet Me with a kiss, but she has not stopped kissing My feet since I arrived. 46You did not anoint My head with oil, but she has anointed My feet with perfume. 47Therefore I tell you, because her many sins have been forgiven, she has loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little." 48Then Jesus said to her, "Your sins are forgiven." 49But those at the table began to say to themselves, "Who is this who even forgives sins?" 50 And Jesus told the woman, "Your faith has saved you; go in peace."
Do you see the beautiful message in this passage? Jesus loves the humble heart of the sinner. Jesus adores those that choose to spend time with him. Jesus rewards those who have strong faith. Time and time again, we see that Jesus can transform lives with his actions and words.
This story reminds me that my Savior's door is always open with a mat that says, "You are Welcome Here." Please come in, knowing you are loved, not judged. Come to me with all of your burdens because through me, you can be washed clean. Through me, you can be transformed into a new creation.
Have you taken Jesus up on this opportunity to sit at his feet and share your heart? To weep, repent, release everything to him, and be set free.
A Banquet Table Conversation with Christ:
29 And Levi made him a great feast in his house, and there was a large company of tax collectors and others reclining at the table with them. 30 And the Pharisees and their scribes grumbled at his disciples, saying, "Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?" 31 And Jesus answered them, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 32 I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.
This passage reminds us that Jesus meets us where we are. Seeing Jesus go into Levi's house to eat a meal with him and his friends is reassuring. In his ministry, we see that Jesus is comfortable spending time with people that others just dismiss. He wants everyone to know about His Father and his great love for his children. There is comfort in knowing that Jesus will seek us out and pursue us even into the deepest, darkest valley. He is our Great Shepherd who won't stop looking for us and has the confidence and authority to walk "into a pack of wolves" to rescue us. He also says to us, "Follow Me," and gives us the choice to leave the worldly ways behind and begin to walk in his light.
A Dinner Table Conversation with Christ:
Matthew 26: 20-25
20 When it was evening, he reclined at the table with the twelve.[ 21 And as they were eating, he said, "Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me." 22 And they were very sorrowful and began to say to him one after another, "Is it I, Lord?" 23 He answered, "He who has dipped his hand in the dish with me will betray me. 24 The Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born." 25 Judas, who would betray him, answered, "Is it I, Rabbi?" He said to him, "You have said so."
Throughout his ministry, we see Jesus gather with his "small group," reminding us that God created us to be connected with others who will encourage us and support us. It was important to Jesus, so it should be important to us. Seek out a few people that you can be transparent with, that challenge you to be the best version of yourself, who pray for you and share how you can pray for them, and who shine light and love all for God's glory.
He also shows us in this passage how we are expected to love and forgive others. Jesus, already knowing that friends he loved were going to betray him and deny him, still invites them to the table to share a meal. Earlier, before the dinner, he had even washed their feet. Through these actions, Jesus shows us he came to serve and save. When we are called to have Christ-like character, Jesus says to love and help people, even a friend who might betray you, even a family member that you disagree with, because relationships take hard work and lots of forgiveness.
Looking more closely at the disciples and their behavior during a difficult dinner table conversation, we learn that we must look at ourselves before pointing at others. When Jesus claims that one of the twelve will betray him, they each look inward and ask, "Is it I, Lord?"
I have a dear friend who will say to his children, "Check Yourself." He uses this phrase instead of pointing out the behavior that he would like his child to change. This allows them the opportunity to look inward and correct it themselves. Although Jesus says, Come, just as you are, as soon as we get to the table, he begins to ask us to check ourselves and see where some adjustments might do us good. Jesus always has the goal for us to be the best version of ourselves
An Invitation to the Table with Christ:
26 Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, "Take, eat; this is my body." 27 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, "Drink of it, all of you, 28 for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29 I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom."
At the end of this passage, the disciples are invited to the most incredible meal they will ever receive. Although it was a physical meal Jesus offered them, it was really a meal for their soul. Living on this side of the cross, we understand the significance of this special meal he shared with his loved ones. He was letting them know his body would be the ultimate sacrifice, and his blood was the new covenant. That through him, our sins would be forgiven, and we would be made right with God.
Jesus is also calling us to the table. Asking us to come, partake, and be redeemed. He invites the young and the old, the sinners and the saints, those who have known him all the days of their lives, and those who have just said his name for the first time.
So, let's join Jesus at the table. A coffee table to have an honest and raw conversation with him. A banquet table out in the world, remembering he is always with us, pursuing us, inviting us to follow him, and wanting us to tell others about him. A dinner table where there are hard conversations and where the quality of character is discovered. And a communion table where Jesus serves us and reminds us that he is our Lord and Savior, and through him, we are forgiven, renewed, and redeemed.
Enjoy listening to the song, Come to the Table, by the Sidewalk Prophets by clicking this link. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXXxLwxfo0U
Thank you for seeing us, pursuing us, and saying we are enough just as we are. Thank you for guiding us through your stories, and using every teachable moment to give us wisdom and direct our way. Thank you that you are always available, morning, noon, and night. Thank you for the invitation to your table where your body was broken for our sins and your blood was shed to redeem and purify us and set us free. We love you and will praise your great name forever.