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The Guest List
October 29, 2021

As he sat down, with pen and paper in hand, it was not long before the guest list was completed for the meal that the Pharisee would be hosting in his home. As usual, the event would be exclusively for his peers, relatives and rich neighbors. He invited his own kind of people; those with his background, views and opinions; people he liked.

But today, Jesus would be the honored guest at the meal. Although the peers of the host held no admiration for Jesus, the ruler invited Him because He was followed by multitudes of people, was considered a prophet, a miracle worker and a great teacher. To have Jesus in his home would give an opportunity for the Pharisee to gain more prestige; after all they loved public admiration and praise.

However, things were not going as the host had imagined. Jesus had told a parable to the guests when he noted how they chose the best seats. But now, He turns His attention to the guest list of the host; noting who was invited, and even more so, who was not invited to the meal.

Luke 14:12-14 says, Then He also said to him who invited Him, “When you give a dinner or a supper, do not ask your friends, your brothers, your relatives, nor rich neighbors, lest they also invite you back, and you be repaid.” This passage is not saying that we cannot ever have a meal for our loved ones and friends. What Jesus was reproving instead was that the Pharisees always separated themselves from others whom they considered “less than they.”

Jesus went on to say, “But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind.” These were the very people who had not been, nor ever would be invited to and welcomed inside the ruler’s house. As God’s representatives instead of seeking to “love thy neighbor as thyself,” these people were easily and regularly overlooked by the Pharisees. They were always excluded from their gatherings.

But Jesus would have the host of the meal to know that if he was to include those who could give nothing back in return that he would not be at a deficit. Jesus said, “And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you; for you shall be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”

We, too, must remember that Christian hospitality is not about ourselves, it is about others. In the life of the church, we are one in Christ and we have to be on guard against divisions and exclusion of others. I am reminded of what Paul says in Philippians 2:3-5, “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.”

This article was first published in The Omaha Star (Vol. 83–No. 22) – October 29, 2021 © 2021, “God’s Word, Alive!” This article may be freely copied and distributed so long as the copyright notice and website address are included.

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