Jesus and Dinner Reservations

“The Son of Man came eating & drinking, & they say, ‘Look, a glutton & a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors & sinners!’ Yet wisdom is proven right by her works.” ~ Jesus in Matthew 11:19

The Jesus of Scripture sat at the table of fellowship with thieves and whores, the broken and poor, the widowed and divorced, the orphan and abhorred. The truth of his statement in Matthew 11:19 is that this kind of culturally odd behavior (especially for a Rabbi) would prove itself to be a wise move. A wise move to hang out with “those people?”

Well, when you read the Gospel accounts you get to see this wisdom “proven right” by the outcome. Matthew and Zacchaeus, both despicable traitors and tax collectors, came to know God through Jesus and joined Him in mission. More than one “whore” came to find dignity and inner beauty through Jesus, and joined Him in mission. The poor found a different kind of wealth in Jesus and joined Him in mission. A divorced woman found wholeness in Jesus and joined Him in mission. More than one widow found security in Jesus and joined Him in mission. Those broken by disease and disability, some of whom were regarded as being a curse or punishment due to their own sin, found healing in Jesus and joined Him in mission. A thief on the cross had his eternity changed never once joining Him in mission. He simply joined Him in paradise.

Yes, the truth of Scripture is that Jesus ate, drank, laughed with, and loved the worst of society at the table. The truth of Scripture is that He still does. In Jesus we are reminded that it is an embracing-love that prepares the heart for conviction, not accusation; an embracing-love stirs a desire for change, not judgment.

In Jesus we are reminded that we do not have the right to choose who sits at the table with Him, only He can do that. And I think He made Himself clear: anyone can have a seat.

Q.) With your lips, how are you describing the table of Jesus to others?

Q.) With your life, are you living in such a way that those you meet would know they have a seat at His table? 

About Fred

Fred came to serve greater Williamsburg and WCC as lead pastor in October of 2010 and is grateful to be a part of the family. He is a husband, father, certified trauma professional, S.T.A.R. (strategies for trauma awareness & resilience) practitioner, community organizer, TEDx alum, founder of 3e Restoration, Inc. and co-owner of Philoxenia Culture LLC. He received his B.S. in Ministry/Bible at Amridge University and his Master’s of Religious Education in Missional Leadership from Rochester University. Currently he is a candidate for a Doctorate of Ministry in Contextual Theology in at Northern Seminary in Chicago. Fred has also served as an adjunct professor for Rochester University and Regent University where taught courses in philosophy, ethics, leadership, pastoral care, intro to Christianity, and ethnography. He has also served as a guest lecturer on the subjects of racialized cultural systems, poverty, and missiology at various universities, such as William & Mary and Oklahoma Christian University. Fred has authored on book (Racialized Cultural Systems, Social Displacement and Christian Hospitality) and several curriculum offerings, including The FloorPlan: Living Toward Restoration & Resilience. Fred enjoys hanging out with his family anytime, anywhere. He is deeply grateful for how God graciously works through the Church in all her various forms, despite our brokenness. He is passionate about seeing the last, least, and lonely of every neighborhood, city and nation experience God’s in-breaking kingdom, and come to know Jesus as King. Oh, and his favorite season is Advent and Christmas. Fred is a founding member of the board of directors for Virginia Racial Healing Institute, a member of the leadership team for Williamsburg's local chapter of Coming to the Table, and a member of Greater Williamsburg Trauma-Informed Community Network's Racial Trauma Committee and Training Committee.
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10 Responses to Jesus and Dinner Reservations

  1. Donnie Holliday says:

    Good stuff bro. I’m taking Luke-Acts online at Lipscomb this semester, so we’ve spent a good bit of time talking about table fellowship – how big a deal it was/is for who you eat with. You’re right “anyone can have a seat.” This semester I’ve realized that “anyone” means literally anyone. I’ve always focused on the outcasts of society that Jesus ate with, but this class has helped me realize that Jesus also ate with the upper echelon of Jewish society. He ate with Pharisees too. I know for me when I read Jesus’ parable of the Pharisee and tax-collector praying it is very easy for me to look at the Pharisee in the same way he looked at the tax-collector. I think Jesus knew that would be human nature. It would be easy for the outcasts to look down on the Pharisees (who looked down on them) because Jesus was eating with them when the Pharisees never would. Jesus, however, eats with the Pharisees too. So yep, anyone – those that don’t have it figured out and those that think they do – is welcome at His table.


  2. Whew! Jesus turned the tables on the religious and brought the poor, rejected and brokenhearted to that same table.


  3. Dave Faith says:

    Loved the scripture, loved the picture & loved the reminder “anyone is welcome at His table”! WOW!


  4. Pam Frazier says:

    Wherever you got that picture from, it is missing something very important. There are no sisters there. One half is missing!


  5. great points altogether, you just gained a brand new reader. What would you recommend in regards to your post that you made a few days ago? Any positive? Posted by


  6. David Meek says:

    Fred, where did that photo come from? Loving how seemingly offensive but yet pointedly accurate it is. I am in Luke-Acts with my brother Donnie this semester and have been pretty convicted by Jesus’ table practices. I’ve come to see that they weren’t incidental, but that they were the very heart of his ministry. The way Jesus told and showed individuals that they had a seat at God’s table was that they had a physical seat at his table. It was his intention that his followers would continue to demonstrate inclusion at the kingdom table through their tables as well. While so many other things in Luke and Acts are not normative, Jesus table practices are both a reflection of God’s table practices and an instruction for us. This is primarily what outraged the religious leaders.

    The thing that I’ve been so convicted about is that my table is always filled with people that look like me–people that can return the favor by inviting me to their house next time. So I find myself on the other side of the line from Jesus in Luke 14. Praying that God will lead us to have table guests that are among Luke’s collective poor in 14:13–not as a supplementary discipline to our faith but because this is how Jesus defines discipleship.


  7. James Jones says:

    Reblogged this on Forgiveness Factor and commented:
    Jesus ate with whores and national traitors…seriously!


  8. Jeanne S. says:

    It’s so much easier to preach against, point fingers, condemn and pass laws to those we find morally “distasteful”, than invest in relationally, as Jesus did.


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