Jesus wasn’t your normal run-of-the-mill, middle class dinner guest. You never quite knew what was going to happen if you invited Jesus to dinner. From the hosts point of view it never went really well unless you happened to be a tax collector or a notorious sinner!
You see the hosts had invited nice Jesus, polite Jesus, gentle Jesus meek and mild, play nicely with the other guests Jesus….. But instead they got awkward, call-it-how-you-see-it Jesus. Jesus to the max. He brings a prostitute with him to dinner and lets her massage his feet at table, he picks up on the social niceties the host has forgotten, [Luke 7:36-50] he picks a fight with the host by not washing his hands before dinner and when other guests are offended by what he says, he lays into them too! [Luke 11:37-54]
So what do you do when you invite nice Jesus and spikey Jesus turns up? Cancel and rearrange hoping he’ll be in a better mood next time? Seat him next to the deaf relatives?
When awkward Jesus is in the house it’s an opportunity. When Jesus is saying things we don’t like, or we find offensive, it represents a chance to grow; an opportunity to change; an opening to be as free as he is. Jesus wasn’t bound by dinner party etiquette or social norms he was free. He was free to express and be himself just as the Father intended. And isn’t that what we all want: real freedom?
Next time awkward Jesus shows up, let’s try listening rather than being offended. It might just be a heavily disguised opportunity to grow.