Friday, May 10, 2024

Eleven Other Men

Last week, we talked about the idea that one measure of your Christian faith is not how you sit at the Table with Jesus, but how you sit at the Table with Judas. And there is some truth to that. 

But I don't love that idea all by itself. 

To me, the contrast between Jesus and Judas sets the world into hard lines of black and white. Friend and enemy. Christian and betrayer. Lover and hater. 

The world I live in is simply not that black and white; it's filled with shades of grey. And if we're looking at the Table that Jesus sat at, the truth is that it looked more like the world I live in than just the contrast between Jesus and Judas. 

There was Peter, who boldly proclaimed, "You are the Son of God," but there was also Thomas, who said, "I need to see the wounds first." 

There was John, who dared to call himself "the one Jesus loves," and what do we know about James hardly at all?

There was Phillip, who was very obviously an extrovert, always running off and freely speaking to whoever he encountered. In fact, it was Phillip who ran to invite Nathanael, who was sitting under a tree by himself, to come and see. Nathanael, by everything we know of him, was an introvert. 

There was Simon the Zealot, who believed passionately in a religious revolution and an overthrowing of the state by the faithful, and there was Matthew (Levi) who literally worked for Rome - the state. 

There was Andrew, who strongly suspected there might be something Jesus could do with a couple of fish and a few loaves of bread, and there was Judas, for whom thirty pieces of silver sparkled too brightly in his own eyes to ignore. 

There were two sets of brothers and, by all we can tell, their mothers were not always around. And I'm telling you as a person with brothers...siblings are different when their mom isn't around to referee. 

And let's not forget that two of these brothers were called "Sons of Thunder." And everyone just kind of tolerated that.

There's nowhere else you're going to bring together this kind of group of persons than around the Table. There's nothing else that's going to bring them together but Jesus. In real life, these guys weren't traveling together. But here they are, breaking bread. Because whatever else they were, at that moment, they were followers of Jesus. 

And here we are, at the very same table, breaking bread. Sharing a meal in all of our shades of grey.

Because whatever else we are, whoever else we are, at this Table, we are all followers of Jesus. We are all His. 

That's what makes this Table so special. 

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