We are stepping back a verse because we missed a point that only became clear this morning.
Jesus and the Pharisees were at odds almost from the beginning of His ministry. In fact, they would be the very ones who orchestrated his arrest, conviction, and crucifixion. The Pharisees were His mortal enemies. Despite all that, Jesus was not their mortal enemy. When a Pharisee invited Him to share a meal in his home, Jesus accepted. Why did He willingly go into the "enemy camp"? There are likely many reasons, but we will look at two today.
Going into this man's home gave Jesus proximity to the Pharisee in the one place he was most likely to be at ease and let down his guard. It allowed Jesus to have a longer interaction, and to speak truth over a meal so that it might be, in a way, more palatable. It created less drama in their conversation, because there was less of a watching, listening crowd at hand. It gave the Pharisee an opportunity to relax and listen with his heart rather than to listen while preparing a public rebuttal.
The second reason was that being a guest allowed the Pharisee to be the host, a position requiring him to provide for the needs and comfort of his guests. Allowing the Pharisee to serve Him put the Pharisee in the unexpected position of having to honor Jesus as his guest. When Jesus accepted the dinner invitation, he allowed the Pharisee to, in a way, serve Him.
When we willingly serve others, it changes us in very positive ways. There is considerable research being done on the value of altruism. Jesus understood what we are only beginning to see. It truly is better to give than to receive. Allowing this man to serve Him brought the man one step closer to understanding our Servant Lord. When we serve others, we too become a little more like Jesus, who, though He was God's only Son, thought nothing of washing the feet of His disciples just before He laid down His life for them.
In what ways are you serving others? How are you being a servant to those outside our immediate circle of family and friends? Do you have a servant heart? Do you have the kind of servant heart that is not only willing to serve but is also actively serving others?
Today, pray that we and our loved ones would have servant hearts that recognize and meet the needs around us. Pray, too, that our service would draw us closer to Jesus and make us more like Him.
Here's the link to last might's post by Mamie the apprentice wonder puppy on trouble with dancing.