The inconvenient dinner guest

Luke 14:1-24

I’m guessing that you know the feeling. You walk into a party, into the dinner, into the gathering. You know that everyone is watching you.

I’m not talking about insecurity or shyness. I mean that everyone actually is watching you. It’s a job interview. It’s the first time together with family after a death or disturbance. It’s a visit to your competitor’s headquarters.

Common sense says that you are politically correct, that you find common ground, that you smile. Common sense says that you don’t stick your finger in someone’s eyes, literally or figuratively.

Unless you are Jesus.

If you are Jesus and you go to a Sabbath meal at the house of a Pharisee, you stop in front of a sick man. His body is swollen. He needs help. You look up at the leaders walking with you. You say, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath, or not?”


They aren’t going to help you. So you heal the man and send him on home. You ask them a question to discern what kinds of work may be allowable on the Sabbath. If your ox fell into a well, jeopardizing your livelihood, could you do help it? If your son fell into a well, crying out for help, could you drop a rope in to rescue him?


The whole meal was like that. The religious leaders were watching him, and he was asking all the questions, telling all the story problems, upsetting all the social norms.

  • Who should have the best seat?
  • Why not invite people who can’t invite you back?
  • What if you bring in people from the streets rather than the people with polite excuses for not coming?

Trying to trap Jesus usually left you trapped yourself. Right before he offered freedom.


You can still order A Great Work in time for Christmas.