Scripture: Luke 19:1-10
Key verses: (5-7) 5 When Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down; for I must stay at your house today.” 6 So he hurried down and was happy to welcome him. 7 All who saw it began to grumble and said, “He has gone to be the guest of one who is a sinner.”
Reflection: Jesus was in the business of eating with unexpected people. When he called Zacchaeus down from the sycamore tree, and invited himself over for supper, he surprised the crowd. Eating with a cheating tax collector was outside the box. It wasn’t the first time he had spent time eating with those others would avoid. He gathered a rag-tag group of disciples around him, inviting them to get to know one another across boundaries. He ate with Pharisees, and welcomed in front of them a sinful woman with an alabaster jar of ointment. He ate with women, with rich and poor, with anyone and everyone. He told stories about kings welcoming the poor and sick to a great banquet, and about celebrations being thrown for those who were once lost.
Jesus spread a table of welcome all through his life and ministry. And when his days were coming to a close, he gave his followers a way to continue that table of welcome. He broke, blessed, and shared bread and wine with his friends and even with the one who would betray him, and told them to do the same when he was gone. The table of welcome is wide open. Jesus invites the least and the lost. He even invites you and me. Who can we invite in his name? Is there a way to open our own tables a little wider as we seek to follow Jesus?
Prayer: Lord, you set a table of welcome. You have welcomed me, even when I don’t deserve it. You welcome people like me, and people different from me. Help me open up my own boundaries, to welcome others in your name. Help me eat with others I might not ordinarily get to know. As I do, may you be praised. In the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.
Author: Julie Hester
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].