“’For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.’ He said also to the man who had invited him, ‘When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.’” (Luke 14:11-14 ESV)
One Sabbath, Jesus attended a dinner party given by one of the more prominent Pharisees. Maybe this Pharisee wanted to show off by inviting Jesus there. Or else he invited Jesus just to test Him or trip Him up with a question about the Law. Or maybe his fellow Pharisees conspired to do that, to use this poor guy who was suffering from some form of dropsy, that is, his extremities were filling up with fluid. They used him to try to trick Jesus, a breach of the rules of hospitality. That was showing rudeness to your guest. But Jesus turned the tables on the Pharisees. He healed this poor man and then shamed them into silence by teaching on the value of humility.
We who have faith in Jesus are members of His Kingdom not because we are so good and kind. We are not. We are nothing but wretched sinners were it not for the grace and mercy of God. By faith, when God sees us, He sees the righteousness of Jesus. Therefore we are to care for the needy and despised people of the world. We are to see to the needs of the sick, the poor, the lonely, and all sinners. We must show them the love of God as has been shown us. We must practice hospitality, and that starts in church. We need to welcome outsiders. We need to welcome visitors and strangers, even if they aren’t wealthy or good looking or if they are a bit odd. We must be kind to everyone we meet. Often their only contact with Jesus may be through us. We must show Jesus to them in our acceptance and love.
It is an awesome task and not easy for us, but it is the calling we have, to be Jesus to those who are hurting and in pain, to be Jesus to those who don’t know Him. Think about it. What impression would people get of Jesus if they meet you or me? What would they know about Jesus after we have spoken to them? Would they think he liked to shout and them? Would they think He hated them? Would they think he’s really angry and cruel? Would they think He wants to jump on them at the slightest mistake or sin and send them to Hell? Would they think that he’s out to get them? Would they think he doesn’t really care about them? Or would they think He is merciful, kind, understanding and patient? What do people know of Jesus from you?