As I mentioned in a previous post, I often reflect on the sermon on the way home. Today our Gospel reading / sermon text was from Luke 14:1-11. Here Jesus warns the Pharisees whom he is seated at table with not to take for themselves seats of honor, but rather to take a lowly seat and then let the Lord of the banquet invite them into a place of honor.
There is a double meaning here. First, is a call to repentance for anyone (this means you… and me) who would try to take for him/herself a seat of honor. Rather, we approach the table of the Lord in humility as beggars before the Lord. Second, and more importantly, we see just what Christ has done for us. How he has humbled Himself in His incarnation and bore our sins to the Cross.
Two things I thought of on the way home. There is a wonderful tie here to the Suffering Servant of Isaiah 53. “He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows acquainted with grief…” In addition I spoke of how in our self-exaltation we often think of ourselves as better and more worthy than “those people”… especially those who skip out on Church. This truly isn’t the right attitude to have, and our Lord’s words cut us down. But if we see our neighbor who is not hearing God’s Word, we should instead see them in the same light as a son or an ox who fell in a well. They have exactly the same need as we do… they need Jesus, they need His forgiveness. Rather than look on our neighbor whose church attendance is lax, we should look on them with the very compassion our Lord has on them, invite them to come with us where they may hear the life-saving message of the Gospel.