Hearing the Hard Words of the Risen Christ (My Passion Story, part 5)

8 09 2011

Since God is continually retelling the Passion of Christ through us, we see Jesus manifesting Himself increasingly in our understanding. One of the ways I have experienced this in recent years is seeing Jesus stretch me with greater truths. When this began to happen, I realized I had been passing over teachings that I couldn’t relate to. I needed to stop carving off the rough edges of Jesus. Here is one example.

I had always thought I obeyed this teaching in Luke 14:7ff, “so He told a parable to those who were invited, when He noted how they chose the best places, saying to them: ‘When you are invited by anyone to a wedding feast, so not sit down in the best place, lest one more honorable than you be invited by him.”  As I say, I have normally tried to take a lower place, not seeking to draw attention to myself. But recently I realize I have applied this to certain areas while overlooking it in others.

For example, in a conversation, I will not mention some of my accomplishments so as not to brag. (Okay, I may hope the person asks me so I can humbly tell them all I’ve done and the places I’ve been, but at least I don’t start the conversation saying, “Hi I’m Bob, let me tell you how terrific I am…!) But a while ago Lyn and I were trying to choose a place to live. Formerly we would have looked strictly at the best value for the money, based on location, size, and condition. But God led us to pray for a specific house in a specific neighborhood, one with people we can help, one with a diversity of ethnic peoples, where we could live humbly and allow Jesus to live through us. That may not seem like much to you, but I believe it is one way the risen Jesus is demonstrating a bit more of Himself in us.

Here’s another Jesus-truth with a rough edge that I have normally slighted. In fact, I don’t know that I have fulfilled this verse more than five times in my life, even though I was a missionary in Africa: “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. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you; for you shall be repaid at the resurrection of the just” (Luke 14:12-14).

This is hard. I am supposed to invite to my table people who are so disabled that they spoil my dinner. People who are so different than me, who are so suspicious or jealous of me, that I can feel their resentment. And this isn’t to be wieners on white bread. This is to be a feast!

It dawned on me that if I always surround myself with family and friends who are like me, who have about as much money and education as me, who share my political leanings, who believe in my God, and agree with my theology…it will be very hard to fulfill this command.

Last time I was in Kenya the Lord prompted me to take action.

What a feast we had together!

I shared this passage with the small group that had traveled with me and said God had given me an idea. The previous day we had visited a slum in Nairobi and met with a group of women affected by AIDS. They rarely had a feast. So we invited them all to a nice hotel and put on a buffet the likes of which none of them had ever seen. The women who shared the table with me said they rarely if ever get meat! You should have seen their faces as they enjoyed the food, and took some home to their young children. It was the highlight of my trip.

What is the point? Out of our Passion stories, Jesus reveals more of Himself. He gives us more insight and conforms us more into the way He would act.

Think about something Jesus has taught you as a result of a death-burial-resurrection experience you have had.


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