Yesterday we started a new series looking at some meals Jesus was part of in Luke’s gospel. Sunday we concentrated on the party that the Tax Collector Levi threw for Jesus and all his (Levi’s) tax collector buddies. While the Pharisees knew that God’s kingdom would be a party, and if you asked them if they believed in grace alone–they would have said yes. However, like what regularly happens to us, the trust we give voice to, doesn’t always hit our practice. The Pharisees looked on at this feast and were unhappy about the guest list–those who Jesus ate with. The scandal being that who you eat with are people you identify with and share intimate unity with. The meal is a practical expression of grace, into which all are invited, but only the ‘sick’ gladly receive. Who wouldn’t you eat with?
We noticed that the Pharisees’ offense was rooted in their own *belief* in middle class religion: you be a good person, you obey laws, not be like bogans–and then Jesus’ kingdom is for you. Easy! The Pharisees own response to Jesus grace towards the sick (in the spiritual sense), showed they didn’t *believe* in justification by grace alone–you must earn it. Our hearts are drawn to be like the Pharisees too.
In the paragraph above I’ve highlighted *belief*, because what we believe flows through to our actions. So I was delighted yesterday when I came across a public piece by John Dickson, which argues that our ethics is grounded in what we *believe* about ultimate things, including God and his kingdom. Here is the link: