Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. (Rev 3:20)
Reading the words of Jesus quoted above, one can be forgiven for thinking that he is always a ‘nice’ dinner guest. Ask the Pharisees though and you will get a completely different impression. Jesus apparently didn’t care too much for being a nice, politically-correct dinner guest who does everything to avoid offending his host.
On one occasion, Jesus was invited to dinner by a Pharisee and this incredible exchange ensued…
While he was speaking, a Pharisee asked him to dine with him; so he went in and sat at table.The Pharisee was astonished to see that he did not first wash before dinner. And the Lord said to him, “Now you Pharisees cleanse the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside you are full of extortion and wickedness. You fools! Did not he who made the outside make the inside also? But give for alms those things which are within; and behold, everything is clean for you. “But woe to you Pharisees! for you tithe mint and rue and every herb, and neglect justice and the love of God; these you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. Woe to you Pharisees! for you love the best seat in the synagogues and salutations in the market places. Woe to you! for you are like graves which are not seen, and men walk over them without knowing it.” One of the lawyers answered him, “Teacher, in saying this you reproach us also.” And he said, “Woe to you lawyers also! for you load men with burdens hard to bear, and you yourselves do not touch the burdens with one of your fingers. Woe to you! for you build the tombs of the prophets whom your fathers killed. So you are witnesses and consent to the deeds of your fathers; for they killed them, and you build their tombs. Therefore also the Wisdom of God said, ‘I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and persecute,’ that the blood of all the prophets, shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who perished between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, it shall be required of this generation. Woe to you lawyers! for you have taken away the key of knowledge; you did not enter yourselves, and you hindered those who were entering.” (Luke 11:37-52)
I imagine it took the Pharisee and his other guests quite a while to get their jaws from off the floor where it must have dropped. Really, who goes to dinner in someone’s house and before they have even had a bite, calls out the host and all the other hypocrites invited to dinner? Apparently Jesus does. Jesus had zero tolerance for hypocrisy and God help the person who taught he could buy his voice with dinner.
Next time we ask ourselves What Would Jesus Do, it is necessary to recall that when he came in contact with hypocrisy, he didn’t chose the politically correct version of the truth. He wasn’t also thinking about the possibility of having to pass up deserts after annoying his host. Too often, the reason we are so willing to call a spade a big spoon is so we don’t have to pass up desert and the fear that we will never get invited back.
Well, that is why King Solomon once said it is important to curb your appetite if you get invited to eat with ‘politicians’.
When you sit down to eat with a ruler, observe carefully what is before you; and put a knife to your throat if you are a man given to appetite. Do not desire his delicacies, for they are deceptive food. (Prov 23:1-3)
As we enter the thick of this electioneering season when politicians will start to seek endorsements particularly of ‘men of God’, it is important for us to remember that Jesus didn’t let greed choke down the truth that the hypocritical Pharisees and lawyers needed to hear. It is important that we also as his followers speak the unvarnished truth.