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A Prayer and Fasting Devotional

After this He (Jesus) went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax booth. And He said to him, "Follow Me." And leaving everything, he rose and followed Him. And Levi made Him a great feast in his house, and there was a large company of tax collectors and others reclining at table with them. And the Pharisees and their scribes grumbled at His disciples, saying, "Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?" And Jesus answered them, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance." - Luke 5:27-32

He entered Jericho and was passing through. And behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich. And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small in stature. So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Him, for He was about to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and said to him, "Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must (it is necessary) stay at your house today." So he hurried and came down and received Him joyfully. And when they saw it, they all grumbled, "He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner." And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, "Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold." And Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost." - Luke 19:1-10

And when the hour came, He (Jesus) reclined at table, and the apostles with Him. And He said to them, "I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer." - Luke 22:14-15

The Gospel of Luke has a steady theme of what could be called "Table Hospitality." Table hospitality identifies two groups of people: those who respond to Jesus' call, as seen in Levi and Zacchaeus, and those who reject it, as seen in the grumblers. These two groups could also be described as the lowly and the high, the poor and the rich, the outsiders and the insiders, the humbled and the self-sufficient. Those who respond to Jesus end up experiencing the reality of the Kingdom in their home at their own table. Those who reject Him continue in their grumbling.

Luke teaches that repentance reveals itself through love toward God and neighbor, which is specifically accomplished by the free giving of one's possessions to those in need. Therefore, repentance shows itself in one way through hospitality. It is the type of generosity that is expressed in our home, the most intimate of possessions. This is most clearly seen at the dinner table. A family revolves around the table at which they eat and drink. Hospitality occurs when one invites another into this most intimate setting for mutual growth to occur.

God shows the greatest hospitality by inviting the unworthy repentant sinners to join the intimacy of the Father's house at the feast of His table. This is what Jesus is doing at the Lord's Supper. He is showing the hospitality of the Father by inviting the disciples to participate in His possessions. To sit at the table with Christ and eat and drink the gift of Himself is a taste of the great banquet to come. This is the life of Jesus. The One who had all possessions, but became poor to give freely, so that the unworthy sinner could enjoy His riches through His hospitality. The Messiah, who had no "guest room" to be born in, prepared a "guest room" for His followers to enjoy the restored intimacy of dining at His table.

May our fasting aid us to experience Christ in our midst at our tables. With humility, a keen awareness of our weaknesses, and openness in confession, let us walk in repentance by being generous and entering into table hospitality. May our communion with God in the Lord's Supper be all the sweeter as we participate at the Lord's table, and may we invite others to our tables to experience the reality of the Kingdom of our Lord.

Jon Yeager
Ministry Fellow at Yale