A Brunch of Woes, part 1
In our culture, if someone invites you to his house for a meal, you generally put on your best behavior and try to be pleasant. You try to be inoffensive. You try to avoid serious arguments. You follow the traditions and expectations of the host. If you want to enjoy the dinner party and not upset your host, you keep a civil tongue in your mouth. The host and his guests are usually polite and pleasant with one another. I know that some situations don’t follow that pattern, but many do.
Today’s passage describes a luncheon that Jesus attended. In Jesus’ time, there were strict rules, traditions, and protocols that dictated how a person should behave himself as a guest at a dinner party. Jesus violated many of these rules; he didn’t seem to care about how people expected him to act.
In some respects, Jesus was not a very pleasant dinner guest, at least when his host was a Pharisee. He didn’t necessarily keep a civil tongue in his mouth. He said offensive things. He didn’t hold back from criticizing those who deserved it. And because of that, he often ran into conflict with those who had invited him into their homes.
Conflict seemed to follow Jesus almost wherever he went. As he draws closer to his final hour, he comes into further conflict with the religious leaders of the Jews. His teaching on who God is and what it means to follow him is distinctly different from the model that the religious leaders of the Jews were teaching.