When Jesus had finished speaking, a Pharisee invited him to eat with him; so he went in and reclined at the table. But the Pharisee was surprised when he noticed that Jesus did not first wash before the meal. Then the Lord said to him, “Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also? But now as for what is inside you—be generous to the poor, and everything will be clean for you. Luke 11:37-43
Gathering around the dinner table is a wonderful chance for community and connection with friends and family. Some of my best memories with friends and family are those around the dinner table that go for hours. As these conversations go on, they seem to move from genial, fun conversation towards more serious topics. This is where laughter can turn to tears and fun conversations can turn to difficult, uncomfortable conversations. These conversations provide us with a different perspective that guides us in growth.
A similar thing happens in this interaction between Jesus and the Pharisees. Jesus knows that what He is saying is difficult for the Pharisees to hear, but He is not trying to keep the peace. He is not trying to be kind or gentle at this moment, but rather is fighting for their souls. It looks like Jesus is angry, but in calling out these woes, Jesus is giving the Pharisees a chance to address their struggles and shortcomings head on. He is saying these things not from a place of anger, but a place of love. If Jesus did not care about the Pharisees, He would not be warning them to make a change. In our lives, we find that we need truth spoken through love into our souls to help us better grow into His image.
Today, pray and ask the Holy Spirit to give you a spirit that is open to correction and that He would draw you back to the way of Jesus, even if it is challenging to you. Picture Jesus speaking these woes to you. Are there any that you resonate with? Are there hard conversations Jesus is trying to have with you? Pray a prayer of confession about the things you have done and left undone.
By John Egland