“But when you are invited, go and sit down in the lowest place, so that when he who invited you comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, go up higher.’ Then you will have glory in the presence of those who sit at the table with you (Luke 14:10).”
We are all familiar, at Thanksgiving time, with the “kids table.” It is a place that is set when there are so many guests in the home that you can’t possibly get everyone at the same table; so, you have the “adult table” and the “kids table.” Some have even experienced that “rite of passage” in which they have graduated from that lowly station, supping with children, to a position of dining and conversing with the host at the main table.
Such a picture is one that God has drawn for His people and invited them to feast at with Him. In the Old Testament there were several different sacrifices that one may offer; burnt offerings (Genesis 8:20), grain offerings (Leviticus 2:1), and peace offerings (Leviticus 3:1). But one in particular demonstrated God’s desire for fellowship and feasting with man better than any other and that was the free will thank offering; “And when you offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving to the LORD, offer it of your own free will. On the same day it shall be eaten; you shall leave none of it until the morning: I am the LORD (Leviticus 22:29-30).” This offering of thanks was called “the HO-RAH, meaning a shout of thankful joy. (1) In all of the sacrifices, those portions of the animal that God designated were burned on the altar and the smoke rose upwards towards heaven (Exodus 29:18, Leviticus 1:9). God was pleased when men, by faith, allowed that substitutionary sacrifice to bear their sins and for it to be consumed and carried away. Not only did God partake of the sacrifice in that sense, but the sinner, who was now right with God could eat of that fellowship meal in thanksgiving to God Who had removed His sins. It was a meal to be enjoyed at God’s home with Him serving as host (Deuteronomy 12:18).
As awesome as that seems it is merely a shadow of the greater thanksgiving feast God envisioned for the followers of Christ who remain prepared for His return. Jesus said, “Blessed are those servants whom the master, when he comes, will find watching. Assuredly, I say to you that he will gird himself and have them sit down to eat, and will come and serve them (Luke 12:37).” Albert Barnes commented that Christ “shall place them at his table and feast them.” He continued, “he will admit us to all of (heaven’s) blessings, and make us happy there – as if ‘he’ should serve us and minister to our wants. It will be as if a master, instead of sitting down at the table ‘himself,’ should place his faithful ‘servants’ there, and be himself the servant.”
How underserving we are of such an everlasting honor. We, who shouldn’t even dream of a place at the “kids table,” and would be content to even snatch the crumbs that fall from their place (Matthew 15:27), are seated at the King’s very own table forever more. We are like the crippled Mephibosheth, who could offer nothing to King David, but graciously had a place reserved at the royal table with the king’s family all of his days (2 Samuel 9:13, Matthew 23:6).
That unfaithful generation of Israelites doubted God’s provision (Psalm 78:19), could He serve up meat in the wilderness? But, He who can prepare a banquet for those He loves, even in the presence of their enemies (Psalm 23:5), will have no problem providing an everlasting feast for them in heaven. Those who would enjoy all that He has prepared (John 14:2) must themselves be prepared for that eternal holiday (Matthew 22:11-13, 25:1, 10-11).
Jesus has carried away our sins! Let us offering Him our continual thanks and remain prepared for that heavenly dinner at His table.
“And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 8:11).”
- Gerald Paden, Levitical Sacrificial System Study Guide, Sunset International Bible Institute, 1992, p.26