Lifting Others to the Head of The Table

Author: Pastor Mike Gutzler

Think of a presidential state dinner. The host is seated at the head of the table and everyone else has their proper place and rank in relationship to the host. The closer to the host, the higher the rank or level of significance. 

The same type of formal dining event is happening in today’s text. One host, and everyone else trying to get that coveted special seat. Jesus looks over the invitees and watches the guests try and find their way closer to the head of the table. In a culture of the hierarchy of the past, as well as today, it is good to be the host and the ones near the head of the table. A few questions Jesus wants his fellow guests to consider are: what about those not on the guest list, or those not invited, and those not even “worthy” to be in the presence of the host? 

Jesus is up to something else here: a different way to understand the table gathering. Jesus cautions the ones trying to get close to the front, and at the same time recognizes the importance of being lifted up to a place of honor. Over and over again, Jesus bucks the cultural trends and finds people on the margins or in the shadows and elevates them to the cultural status quo. 

The most significant moment of lifting up is in the final scenes of Jesus’ ministry, the moment at his last supper when he is the host. He gathers his disciples, washes their feet, feeds them and calls them his equal. Jesus solidifies a everlasting relationship with his first twelve disciples, as well as disciples like us, with a new promise. A promise with bread and wine that we are all welcome at God’s table, we are all equal in God’s eyes, we are loved unconditionally, and that we have a place with Jesus at the eternal table of life. We could not ask for a greater gift than to all be seated next to God at our earthly and heavenly table. 

As we venture into the week, you are encouraged to take a moment and consider ways you can lift others up – much like our tagline “Lifting Up, Reaching Out,” but also to think about ways you can act like the host. What are the ways God has called you to provide and support those who are unable to give anything back in return abundantly?