Sunday, June 2, 2013

A Conversation Around The Table

One of the best parts of raising five children with my husband was our shared times around the dinner table. Sometimes the laughter was endless. Ashley would laugh so hard she would tumble in the floor with an asthma attack. At times there would be serious talk, but always sharing of some sort. Family dinners are always the best. It's a time to share comfortably and honestly. Breaking bread with those you love is a precious gift. For us, we now get to share dinner with our grand babies, which brings a whole new set of blessings.

It's a great time to share dinner with your family and friends. We have friends that we have shared many meals together. Their kitchen is one of my favorite places to be. It's warm and inviting. Just like it's waiting for the conversation to begin as the coffee is being poured. Sharing a meal is bonding. Opening yourself up to another. It's sharing a kindred time. It's a time to gather around the table for some great food and great conversation.

But I too have shared meals with some where it felt like an elephant was in the room. It can be delicate to converse with some. Times come where one must hold their tongue. When you don't, watch out, because food just may begin to fly. Awkward can describe dinners with in laws. A seating chart is always good to have. LOL

So, what do you think it was like when Jesus sat down with the twelve as they shared the Passover? Here they are to celebrate. They are in the upper room together. Dinner is provided. Everyone is seated and the conversation begins. I can picture them saying grace. Reaching for food. Laughing over antics. You know there had to be much laughter between these men who grew to love one another. And then the conversation takes a turn. Jesus decides it is time. Could Jesus have been going back and forth in His mind? "Should I say something, Father? Should I remain quiet?" I wonder if He felt anger. Being all man wouldn't it be possible? I'm sure He felt a deep pain over this one who He knew would walk away.

"In the evening He came with the twelve. Now as they sat and ate, Jesus said, "Assuredly, I say to you, one of you who eats with Me will betray Me." And they began to be sorrowful, and to say to Him one by one, "Is it I?" And another said, "Is it I?" He answered and said to them, "It is one of the twelve, who dips with Me in the dish. The Son of Man indeed goes just as it is written of Him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had never been born." Mark 14:17-21

Now the mood has changed. There is no more laughter. No more talk of anything except of who could do this to Jesus. Each one asking if it could be him. Can you imagine them all looking at one another in wonder? Jesus knew before He sat down that it would be Judas who would betray Him. But Jesus still shared a meal with Him. That says a lot about the love of our Savior. Remember, who although was all God, at the time was all man too.

"Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, "What are you willing to give me if I deliver Him to you?" And they counted out to him thirty pieces of silver. So from that time he sought an opportunity to betray Him." Matthew 26:14-16

Could you have sat at the table with the man who was about to turn you over for thirty pieces of silver? Imagine Judas had been waiting for the perfect time. I imagine there was a war going on in his heart. I'm not so sure I could have. But Jesus knew this was the only way. Was He showing us how to love our enemies? Was He showing us to be hospitable even to those who are not so nice? Had Jesus already forgiven him in His heart before he committed the traitorous act?

But see, Jesus didn't stand at the table and beat His fists with anger. He didn't raise His voice and make a scene. He was calm and showed nothing but grace. It was a teaching moment. It was a tender moment. These were His friends. Jesus walked with these men. He knew them. They knew Him. In fact, it was more than friendship. They were family.

The meal didn't end there. They continued on and shared the Lord's Supper with one another. After they shared a hymn together and went out to the Mount of Olives. Jesus knew what was about to take place. He was trying to prepare His apostles for what was to come. I find myself wondering what hymn they sang together. Can you imagine them holding hands and voices raised in praise?

What a beautiful portrait of our Savior. Forgiveness before the act of betrayal.

"And immediately, while He was still speaking, Judas, one of the twelve, with a great multitude with swords and clubs, came from the chief priestt and the scribes and the elders. Now His betrayer had given them a signal, saying, "Whomever I kiss, He is the One; seize Him and lead Him away safely. As soon as he had come, immediately he went up to Him and said to Him, "Rabbi, Rabbi!" and kissed Him." Mark 14:43-45

We don't see Judas ask for forgiveness. But when we turn to Matthew 27:3-10 we see that Judas was remorseful. He gave the silver back. Judas says, "I have sinned by betraying innocent blood." Matthew 27:4 We can read on in verse 5 that Judas hangs himself.

I know it didn't happen, but can you imagine for a moment if Jesus could have shared a moment with Judas? Peter had denied Jesus and look what happened. Grace. Mercy. Forgiveness. Judas may not have had those moments with Jesus, but friend, if you have this moment right now, you do have. It never has to be too late for you. As long as you have life you have a choice.

One day we, those who believe and have accepted Jesus as Savior, will dine with Him in paradise forever. Can you imagine those dinners? The conversation will be endless! One day, my friends, one glorious day!

Remember those two commandments Jesus gives? Those commandments that He says is the greatest? "Jesus said, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets."" Matthew 22:3-40 

Jesus gave us the example of these commandments when He broke bread with the one who would betray Him.  There is so much to learn from these verses. I encourage you to spend some time in them. Imagine dinner. Imagine the grace of God. Now, extend that grace to the Judas' in your life.  


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