Recently I have been reading The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning (which is an amazing book by the way) and chapter 3 discusses how Jesus fraternized with the ungodly, unworthy, and completely unclean. He called them to his table and ate with them. This symbolized love, brotherhood, approval, forgiveness, and acceptance. This would have been the most non-socially acceptable thing for the so-called Son of God to do.
So often I think that Christians play the part of the Jesus at the table rather than his table-mates. It is we who set the standard of purity and holiness, calling out to the sinners to come and eat with us. It’s like we feel that if the dying and dirty spend time with us they will be clean…But this is NOT the gospel.
The gospel calls US to the table, not them. Jesus gives us a personal invitation and with our mouths agape we bow our heads and walk through the door in single file, shoulders hunched with shame. He takes off our maggot infested coats, resembling something more of rags, embracing each of us as we stumble into His house. He then guides us to the table where a feast is set before us, pulls out our chairs, and says, “welcome.” As we begin to dig in, He leaves and comes back with the most beautiful robes you’ve ever seen and clothes each of us. Though the stench at the feast must be horrendous he stares each guest in the eye and says “there is always room at my table for you.” There’s tears and the warmth of embrace, when something spectacular happens: the longer we feast with the king, the cleaner we become. My knees buckle and I am face down. He crawls next to me and whispers, “Go. Tell everyone to come to my table.”
We hide our filth with business suits and ties, smiles, and failing relationships. But we all need Jesus to take our coats and embrace us. We are all just guests at the table, inviting others to the feast.
-A World Changer