At the Table

There are so many lessons and real-life applications that we can find in Scripture, especially in Jesus’ life and teachings in the Gospels. Today’s Gospel, for me, contains a particularly important lesson – one that many may overlook. 

The very first verse of today’s Gospel reads, “On a sabbath Jesus went to dine at the home of one of the leading Pharisees…” Stop and read that again. Jesus went to dine at the home of one of the *leading* Pharisees. In case you’ve forgotten, the Pharisees are the group that has been out to get Jesus for the entirety of his public ministry – and now Jesus has gone to eat at the home of one of the people who probably was leading that charge. What lesson could we possibly learn from that very simple action? 

Jesus didn’t avoid the Pharisees, even though he knew very well their thoughts toward him and their intentions. Rather, he often engaged them in conversation seeking to reveal the light of God’s truth to them and, now, he has sat around a table and shared a meal with them to do the very same. Eventually, Jesus teaches the Pharisees that it is lawful to heal on the sabbath, contrary to their beliefs. 

How many of us would intentionally seek out our adversaries? How many of us would seek out those we know who hold beliefs contrary to our own and attempt to share the truths of our faith with them? How well do you think either of those things would go over? I think that, more often, we tend to avoid conflict and remain silent, choosing instead what seems culturally acceptable over the idea of potentially rocking the boat. 

I can look at my own circle of family and friends, near and far, and see the wide range of opposing views that they hold on things like abortion, same-sex marriage, the death penalty, etc. How many times have I chosen to keep my own views silent so that I wouldn’t upset those that I love and my relationships with them? Too often, unfortunately. Instead, I need to ask God for the fortitude to carry out my God-given mission of evangelization and share the beliefs and truths of the faith, leaving the rest in God’s hands. He’s the one who can change hearts, not me. But I need to not be afraid to do the work that I have been tasked with doing. 

This is what I hope and pray for you all today – that, when you find yourself in a similar situation, you will remember that Jesus was not afraid to sit down and eat with the Pharisees. Therefore, we need not be afraid to sit down and share the faith with those who might be Pharisees in today’s world. And, if you find yourself afraid, ask God for the courage to do so. 

Contact the author

Erin Madden is a Cleveland native and graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville. She is passionate about the Lord Jesus, all things college sports and telling stories and she is blessed enough to get paid for all three of her passions. You can catch her on old episodes of the Clarence & Peter Podcast on YouTube as well as follow her on Twitter@erinmadden2016.

Feature Image Credit: Thanos Pal,