Guest Pastor Arthur Just preached this sermon on the seventeenth Sunday after Trinity 10/4/2020. The service was broadcast live on Facebook at 11am, and is now available on the FLC youtube channel. To follow along from home, the bulletin is available as a PDF: Trinity17 Bulletin
The text for the sermon was the day’s gospel lesson. To read the Bible texts for the seventeenth Sunday after Trinity, click here.
Come to the Feast and Taste My Banquet
He said also to the man who had invited him, “When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.” When one of those who reclined at table with him heard these things, he said to him, “Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!” verses 12-15
So today finds us with Jesus —
in the house of one of the rulers of the Pharisees —
on the Sabbath —
in order to eat bread.
Eating bread is what it’s all about — eating bread with Jesus —
One of the guests invited to Jesus’ feast tells him —
“Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God”
And Jesus says — Come to the Feast and Taste My Banquet
That invitation is for everyone —
For men and women and children —
For rich and poor, Jew and Gentile, slave and free —
For everyone —
It is an invitation to sinners to
Come to the Feast and Taste My Banquet
At the time of Jesus on every Sabbath
there was always a festive meal — in every family in Israel
As it was festive everyone would recline at the meal —
they would drink wine —
they would feast because on this day God rested from his work of creating the heavens and earth —
they would feast upon the Word of God in the synagogue
a Word that was as sweet as honey —
a Word they inwardly digested —
for God’s Word was God’s food —
God’s Word was the Bread of Life
On this Sabbath, however, Jesus —
the Word made flesh — the living voice of God —
is standing before them —
and the Pharisees are watching him carefully —
to catch him doing something on the Sabbath that was forbidden.
And what does Jesus do?
He shows mercy to a man with dropsy —
A horrible disease — a condition of swelling —
What we call edema —
Causing grotesque disfigurement —
Making this man unclean — an outcast —
A man the Pharisees would not invite to their feasts.
On the Sabbath, Jesus the Word made flesh, uses his Word
to free this man from his illness —
to heal his disease —
to restore him back to life.
Jesus asks the Pharisees —
Wouldn’t you do the same for a son or an ox that fell into a pit?
Wouldn’t you restore your son or ox back to life?
So why won’t you show mercy to a sick man, an outcast —
even on the Sabbath?
especially on the Sabbath?
And the Pharisees were silent and not able to answer him.
And do you know why?
They didn’t believe Jesus was the Lord of the Sabbath —
That he was the Word made flesh —
That his voice was the living voice of God —
That his Words were the bread of life —
That his Word had the power to do what it says —
the power to heal —
the power to release from sickness and sin —
the power to restore life —
the power to forgive sin.
Jesus is inviting you right now — here —
to come to his feast and taste his banquet.
And there is a table etiquette for this banquet —
not the table etiquette of the Pharisees —
who chose the first couch to recline on.
Jesus does not want you to come to the feast like the Pharisees —
filled with pride and self-righteousness —
trusting in your own merits —
in your own piety — in your own “works of the law.”
Jesus wants you to come to the feast in humility —
in the way he lived on this earth —
in the state of humiliation —
not with the power of might but with mercy —
reaching out to sinners, to broken ones like you.
For in humility we see God’s reversal of human wisdom —
How the first will be last and the last will be first —
How if you want to save your life you must lose it —
How the greatest will become like a servant —
How the exalted are humbled and the humbled exalted.
The greatest reversal of all, of course, is Jesus himself —
the Creator of all things —
the Messiah, the Christ, the Savior —
who humbled himself even unto death, death on the cross.
who suffered the humiliating and shameful death of the cross —
who suffered, not because of his sin, but because of your sin —
for he who knew no sin became sin for you —
so that you might become the righteousness of God.
The greatest reversal of all is Jesus himself —
who in the humility of the cross shows us God’s glory —
who in suffering shows us the way to the kingdom —
who in taking the lowest seat of all —
a seat of humiliation and the horror of suffering —
a seat of nakedness and shame —
is exalted by the Father as Lord and Christ —
conquers death with his death —
defeats Satan and despoils the principalities and powers.
So come to the feast and taste his banquet —
Come in humility, confessing your sins —
Come in humility, confessing your self-righteousness —
Come to the feast and to receive Jesus, the bread of life —
to receive holy bread and life-giving wine —
the very body and blood that was crucified and raised —
the very body and blood that was humbled and exalted —
Come to the Feast and Taste His Banquet