Who is Welcome at Your Table?

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At the cross, he did what only he could do. At the table, he demonstrated what we can do.

Surely Jesus believed that prostitutes were sinners, yet he welcomed them to his table. He ate and drank with them.

Surely Jesus understood that tax collectors betrayed their countrymen by helping the brutal Roman occupiers in his homeland, yet he welcomed tax collectors to his table as well.

Surely Jesus knew that religious hypocrites misrepresented Yahweh’s heart toward his people and laid heavy burdens on God’s people, yet he dined with them and invited them to participate in his Father’s kingdom.

Surely Jesus saw first-hand Peter’s temper, James and John’s foolish nationalism, even Judas’ tortured and divided motivations, yet he broke bread with each one of them, sharing his very body and blood.

Jesus welcomed everyone to his table. He welcomed the clueless and the cruel. He engaged the outcast and the insider. He shared his life with his enemies because he came to turn enemies into family. His method was startling: He ate and drank with them. Wherever Jesus ate, it was his table. He turned water into wine and transformed ritual into everlasting love. He turned no one away from his table.

He gave no one a pass on their rebellion or self-destructive ways. The sinless perfect representative of God’s heart never lowered his standards or winked at injustice. Still, around his table everyone was welcome. He was no lightweight: If a moment called for brutal honestly, he fulfilled that need as well. He did not negotiate, he fellowshipped.

He set an example for us to follow. On his way to the cross, he stopped to eat and drink each day, and each day he welcomed his enemies to his table. At the cross, he did what only he could do. At the table, he demonstrated what we can do.

He refused to let disagreement separate him from others. Jesus possessed the proper opinions, the right positions and perfect perspective, but never — not once — did he use his correct standing as a reason to alienate other people.

Who is welcome at your table?  

Ray Hollenbach Ray Hollenbach, a Chicagoan, writes about faith and culture. His devotional book "50 Forgotten Days: A Journey Into the Age to Come" is available at Amazon.com He currently lives in central Kentucky, which is filled with faith and culture. He's also the author of of "The Impossible Mentor", a deep dive into the foundations of discipleship.

More from Ray Hollenbach or visit Ray at http://studentsofjesus.com

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  • Joe

    For thirty years Jesus had no dealings or fellowship with the sinners mentioned above. When His ministry started He fellowshipped MOSTLY with His disciples, the vast majority of His time was spend with them around meals and ministry. Occasionally He would have a meal with a tax collector, a Pharisee or whatever invited Him. This does not mean that this is with whom He spend most of His time. The religious people accused Him of being friends with sinners and wine drinkers and we know how they can exaggerate. Does this mean the Christian should be fellowshipping with sinners or should they occasionally reach out to them. Does this mean that churches should welcome all kinds of people into fellowship. The question is, are church meetings for Christians or sinners. What is the purpose of church disciple or evangelism? Every meeting should have a purpose but in general church meeting are not for sinners and therefore not every. Christians in general should be friendly and open toward sinners but not fellowship as in hanging out together for lengthy periods of time for no real reason. “What fellowship has light with darkness” the idea that Jesus spend most of His time with sinners is not substantiated in scripture. He spend most of His time mentoring, teaching and training and hanging with His disciples as He taught and healed the masses. Jesus went about teaching, preaching and healing the sick. He did not hang around and became buddies with drunks, thieves, liars, homosexuals etc. To insinuate or,try and create a picture that it was His lifestyle is just not true.

    • Geoffrey

      Joe – would you pls break down the precise comparison of Jesus’ time spent in fellowship with his disciples vs. time spent in fellowship with the undesirables, as substantiated by the gospel? I don’t want to overexpose myself to the heathens. TIA.

    • Jim

      Even more amazing is that over the entire life of Jesus, documented and undocumented, never once is it mentioned that he stepped away to take care of business. Jesus was, literally, above the BS!

  • Joe Rhoads

    Regarding your last statement: “Jesus possessed the proper opinions, the right positions and perfect perspective, but never — not once — did he use his correct standing as a reason to alienate other people.” Jesus did possess the proper opinions. Jesus possessed truth. He was and is truth. And for that reason, people alienated themselves away from Him. He told Peter if he didn’t let Him wash his feet, he could not have any part with Him. Jesus said some alienating things. Would-be disciples left Him because of His teaching (John 6:60-66).

  • Joe’s Straw Man

    Please stop hitting me, Joe.


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He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? —Romans 8:32