Wednesday, December 29, 2010

At The Table


"Now, behold, two of them were traveling that same day
to a village called Emmaus, which was seven miles from Jerusalem...
While they conversed and reasoned,
Jesus Himself drew near and went with them.
But their eyes were restrained, so that they did not know Him.
...Beginning at Moses and all the Prophets,
He expounded to them in all the Scriptures
the things concerning Himself.
Then they drew near to the village where they were going,
and He indicated that He would have gone farther.
But they constrained Him, saying,
'Abide with us, for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent.'
And He went in to stay with them.
Now it came to pass, as He sat at the table with them,
that He took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them.
Then their eyes were opened and they knew Him;
and He vanished from their sight."
(From Luke 24)

As I read this to my children this morning, I thought about Hebrews 13:2, which tells us not to forget to entertain strangers, remembering that some who have done so have 'entertained angels unaware'. Such a colorful phrase.

They did not recognize Him on their seven mile walk with Him. They did not recognize Him through His heart-burning exposition of the entire Old Testament to them. And although Jesus was not above inviting Himself to peoples' houses for a meal, in this instance, He would have just kept going had they not pressed Him to stay. They recognized Him at the table in the breaking of bread and in prayer. What if they hadn't shown hospitality?

Don't you love being pressed to stay with people? Having your plans changed by urged hospitality? My husband one time came home from work and told me that some people were coming to stay the night with us and have dinner with us. They were only five minutes behind him. They were a touring German couple he had run into. We spent that night and a day later talking about the things of the Lord with them, stirring them to holy living, and it was so fruitful and so obviously Spirit-led. I don't normally invite foreign strangers to stay in my house with me. It scares me. But a Bible study would not have produced the beautiful fruit the hospitality did. We asked some friends on short notice to eat dinner with us one night, and the girl said, "Oh, I love spontaneous hospitality!" I like that expression.

Just as this was on my mind, we read an account of George Washington's life in Virginia. It said that he sent someone to stand near the crossroads sometimes to 'waylay travelers' to come to dinner at his house. I love to be 'waylaid' to come to dinner.

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