Today’s readings (click below to open in new tab/window):
Psalms 15; 147:1-11, 1 Samuel 7:2-17, Acts 6:1-15, Luke 22:14-23
Jesus didn’t seem to miss many meals. He accepted dinner invitations from tax collectors. He ate with Pharisees. He arranged delivery for thousands of people. Twice. He had intimate dinners with friends. He invited himself into the homes of notorious sinners. After his resurrection, he threw a fish fry on the beach.
Certainly his most famous meal was the Last Supper, the Passover meal he ate with his disciples before the crucifixion. From this meal we derive communion, sharing bread and cup in remembrance as Jesus commanded us.
When he arrived for this supper, he told his disciples, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.” Among them was Judas, who would betray him for thirty pieces of silver. Jesus could have called Judas out and sent him away before the meal, but he chose not to. This choice makes a remarkable statement: despite knowing of Judas’s impending treachery, Jesus still loved him so much that he wanted Judas at the table for one last meal together.
Depending on how we understand the accounts of Judas’s death (Matthew tells us he gave back the silver the next day and hung himself), this was also his last supper. An even more final event perhaps, since no resurrection awaited him. Imagine the sorrow Christ must have felt not just because he was betrayed, but because his friend would never have a chance to know that even he could have been forgiven.
While we point to the cross as the ultimate symbol of Christ’s immeasurable love for us, let’s not neglect the sacredness of the table. Not just the communion table, but every table which offers us a chance to love as Christ did; that is … every table. Powerful as it is, the cross is in the past, over and done, making relatively few demands of us. The table is present, sometimes inconveniently so, waiting for us to invite friends, strangers, enemies, and lost causes to experience the common humanity Christ brought to every table.
The cross, though indispensable, remains empty. The table begs to be filled.
For more on today’s passage from Luke, see Continental Divide.
For thoughts on today’s reading from Acts, see The more things change…
Comfort: Even when we don’t invite Christ to the table, he may invite himself.
Challenge: Read about the meals Jesus attended in Luke.
Prayer: Be gracious to me, and hear my prayer (Psalm 4:1b).
Discussion: Describe a meal that was especially meaningful to you.
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