“When you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed.”
The guests and host of a banquet met Jesus. At the banquet, the guests tried to sit in seats of honor, near the place where the host would sit. This was common in that society, which cared about honor for people who were respectable and had status in the community. It was also common to invite people over who would invite you back, because you could benefit socially from attending another dinner party hosted by someone else.
But Jesus introduced a different kind of world by what he said to the guests and the host. He told them to sit in the least honorable seats, and to invite guests who were too poor to return the invitation.
In this way Jesus revealed a way of life in which status doesn’t matter, and in which shame and honor are erased.
Jesus revealed this way of life in his teachings, and he made this way of life possible by becoming the most despised outsider of all. He died on a cross and bore the worst of all rejections in order to make God’s kingdom a reality in our world.
God’s kingdom is the place where the only status that matters is that we are “loved by God.” God’s kingdom is a gift that Jesus Christ gives to us.
Lord God, we are shocked by the kind of kingdom Jesus introduced—it seems upside down to us. And yet we thank you for the great love that your kingdom reveals when we allow it to shape our lives. Amen.
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