Today's Reading: Luke 14:1-11
"When you are invited by anyone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in the best place, lest one more honorable than you be invited by him; (Luke 14:8)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Jesus didn't come to teach us good manners. When He speaks to the Pharisees about where they should sit when they are invited, He's teaching them how things are with the Lord. Who should sit next to the Father? Who should have that glory and honor? No one, other than the Son of God Himself. But where does He sit? Jesus goes to the lowest place, the cross, to be humiliated and killed. And because Jesus dies for our sins, we, who are the lowest of the low in our sins, are raised up to the Father on account of Jesus trading places with us!
The problem with the Pharisees is that they wanted to go straight for the top spot. But that's Jesus' spot. You can't have Jesus' spot unless Jesus goes to the cross and sends you to the head of the table. If you want to take Jesus' spot without Jesus going to the low spot, the cross and death, then you'll end up in the low spot! Not good! There's the irony that the Pharisees didn't get. Apart from Jesus, they would end up in the lowest spot. In and through Jesus, they would have the high spot after all. The High Spot at the Lord's banquet is a gift, not something you grab for yourself. Put another way, salvation is a gift, not something you take for yourself.
How can you be certain the Lord is calling you to take His place at the Head of the Table? Because He is the One who washes you up for dinner, invites you forward in the Absolution and the sets you before His Table, His altar, to receive His very body and blood. After all, Jesus still is at the Head of the Table since He rose from the dead and ascended to God's right hand. Now, having accomplished your salvation, He seats you next to Himself as His guest of honor. We, who couldn't even hope for the scraps tossed out the back door are the guests of honor at the Lord's feast! In the Name of Jesus. Amen.
Lord, we implore You, grant Your people grace to withstand the temptations of the devil and with pure hearts and minds to follow You, the only God; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, Who lives and reigns with Your and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen (Collect for Trinity 17)