As I wrote this introduction, I sat at a table in a local coffee shop surrounded by others around tables. Tables are a place of gathering. Tables are a place where life happens: the good, the bad, the ugly. Still, life happens. In the following passage, we will read about different people from different ways of life around one table. Lets jump in and join the party at the table with Jesus.
Passage: Mark 2:13-17 (NASB)
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE TABLE
Just like people, situations, and other parts of life, there is more to the book than its cover. And this is true of the table. In this ancient culture, there was no such thing as drive-thrus or dining-n-ditching. Quick meals at the table were not always common. To dine at the table was to recline at the table. Reclining implies throwing your shoes off, getting comfy, and kicking back. Reclining at the table was a feast. Reclining at the table took time, not minutes or an hour, but hours. A great example of what reclining at the table looked like is seen by Jesus and the one whom He loves (Jn 13:23).
Another key marker of the tables significance was the social-hierarchy. In this ancient culture, those whom you reclined with were those whom you associated with. You would not find the religious elite dining with tax collectors or adulterers. The elite dined with the elite, and the sinners with the sinners. Understanding the significance of the table itself helps us more greatly understand the perspective of those who were at the table with Jesus.
THE PERSPECTIVES AT THE TABLE
The perspective of the Pharisees and Scribes gives us a better understanding of why they responded the way the did (Mk 2:16). Jesus was a Teacher of the Law and a popular one at that. Jesus drew large crowds, which brought Him more attention. For the Pharisees and the Scribes to see this Teacher of the Law reclining with tax collectors and sinners was offensive to who they were, what they taught, and what they valued.
The perspective of the tax collectors and sinners was probably a mix of joy and curiosity. They were used to being treated like the scum of the earth from the religious elite. They were used to being treated like rejects. In this case, they were happy to feel included, yet curious as to why they were being included.
JESUS AT THE TABLE
Jesus was surrounded by extremely different people with extremely different perspectives, yet He remained. Why?
1. Jesus had perspective!
2. Jesus had purpose!
3. Jesus gave place!
4. Jesus had presence!
THE MAIN COURSE AT THE TABLE
In this Mark 2 passage, Jesus wouldve been served a physical meal, but He served a spiritual meal.
The courses of the Gospel:
Theres a place for me at the table
Confess youre sick and you need a physician
Turn from your ways and reTurn to Jesus
Believe in your heart and confess with your mouth that Jesus is the way, truth, and life
What the table means to me:
At the table, Jesus made room for me.
At the table, Jesus changed my life.
At the table, I get to recline with Jesus.
What the table means to our church:
With Hebrews 12:2 in mind,
Lets make room at the table.
Lets fight against the religious spirit (Jas 2:1-9).
Lets be a church that allows all people a place to recline with Jesus.
What the table means for our city:
People will finally have a place of belonging; we are the Family of God!
People will be saved, healed, baptized in the Holy Spirit, and transformed into the image of Christ!
CONCLUSION - THE HOPE OF THE BANQUET TABLE
Then he said to me, Write, blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb. (Rev 19:9)