A Prayer for Feasting and Fellowshipping with Jesus
Levi [Matthew] held a great banquet for Jesus at his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were eating with them. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law who belonged to their sect complained to his disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Luke 5:29-32
Dear Lord Jesus, I can’t read this story without fueling my longing for the banquet of all banquets—the Day when you will gather your entire Bride, rejoicing over us with singing, and bring to completion the great salvation you have begun in us. Hasten that glad Day of consummate healing, freedom and joy!
Who will sit and be served by you at the wedding feast of the Lamb? A most unlikely bunch. Only those who’ve been saved by grace alone through faith alone; only tax collectors and “sinners,” and Pharisees and teachers of the law who’ve been clothed in the wedding garments of your righteousness; only those with childlike faith and a God-given perfection.
Lord Jesus, I praise you for making me a part of your broken-yet-beloved bride; for calling me, healing me, saving me. I have no problem acknowledging my sickness and receiving your remedy. There, there’s no greater friend of sinners than you. Thank you for eating and drinking, reclining and dining, fellowshipping and communing with the likes of us.
Oh, to be more like Levi—to be so impacted by your love, Lord Jesus, that I’m constantly throwing mini-banquets for my friends. Turn every one of my lunch appointments into a threesome, with you and a friend. Turn my family gatherings into occasions where you’re always filling the empty seat. Transform our churches into places where your welcoming heart is extended to the least and the lost—to mercy-hungry outsiders and grace-needy insiders.
It would actually be a good thing if our churches were places where Pharisees and “older brothers” (Luke 15) criticized us for all the sick people, broken sinners, and cultural misfits who gathered there. May we grieve when we our churches become ingrown clubs instead of communities of compassion.
Indeed, Lord Jesus, make this concave heart of mine much more convex—much more friendly to outsiders, much more willing to take gospel risks, much more like yours. So very Amen I pray, in your merciful and mighty name.