After this display Jesus noticed the guests of this party were all scurrying around trying sit in the place of honor. I imagine it looking like a game of a musical chairs when a chair is eliminated and everyone is running to squeeze into that one chair that designates a place of honor.
Jesus again finds a teachable moment for the Church Leadership by telling a parable about humility (v. 8-11), but Jesus doesn’t stop there. Jesus goes on to make his point clear. He looks directly at the host of the party, the “prominent Pharisee” and says, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid.” (v. 12)
Essentially what Jesus is doing here in front of all the other important people is giving the host of the party a verbal reprimand. He is saying dude you have got it all wrong. You invited all the wrong people today. None of us should be here. I don’t want you to miss out on how offensive this would have been viewed by those in attendance. What’s important to understand that the Church Leaders in Jesus’ day just didn’t get it. Jesus was determined to make them see that Kingdom of God is upside down. The Bible is clear when it says “the last will be first” and the “least of these will be greatest” in the Kingdom.
Jesus continues to offend and open the eyes of those leaders in attendance by informing the host of who he should have invited. Jesus says starting in verse 13, “But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” (v. 13-14)
These two verses are why we do Café Disco (our Jesus Prom). October the 10th is the date for this year. If you are interested in attending all you have to do is contact me. This is probably the most exciting and transformative event that First Christian Church puts on all year.
So the second point that Jesus wants the church and all of us to learn is this… Not only are people with disabilities to be embraced by the church, but people with disabilities are also to be a priority in the church. (Point #2)
Jesus is teaching the church about humility and priorities. For far too long the church has had their priorities backwards. When I say “the church” I don’t necessarily mean a specific church. I mean the church in a more global sense. The one thing that I love and have always loved about First Christian Church is that we have had one form or another of a Disability Ministry for well over 35 years. Our Hidden Treasures class dates back at least that far.
One of the reasons that Jesus wants the church to make the disability community a priority is God has gifted people in many different ways. All the gifts that God has given are meant to “build up” the church. Without making people with disabilities a priority we miss out on being led by our friends.