This sermon is part of the sermon series "The Heart of Christ". See series.
Some of you may have heard of Anthony Bourdain. He has a reality show on The Travel Channel called "No Reservations." He's a chef who travels around the world and eats different foods. How many of you would like that job? So there's one episode when he's in Dubai, which is part of the United Arab Emirates in the Middle East, and he's sitting with some guys from the UAE around a low table. There's one common dish loaded with meat, rice, and yogurt. Everyone sticks their hands into this dish, balls up some of the rice, grabs some of the lamb, and eats it with the yogurt. They all share the same dish.
That's so much closer to the way they ate in Jesus' day than the way we eat in Western culture, where everyone has his own plate, knife, and fork. People don't like to share their own food. In Jesus' day, you'd break some bread off of a loaf and use it to scoop food out of the common bowls in the middle, much like they do in Dubai.
In Jesus' day, when you ate with people, you really ate with people. And it wasn't just about food; it was about friendship, acceptance. Who you ate with said something about you, and likewise, who you refused to eat with said something about you.
So Jesus is traveling. He's on the move. When he passes through a town, he picks someone to eat with. In this story, Jesus is traveling down to Jerusalem with a crowd to celebrate the Passover feast. Of all the houses in Jericho, of all the people who Jesus could have picked to stay with, he chooses a guy who others would avoid, and causes a scandal. Jump into the story with me here in the Gospel of Luke, chapter 19.
Zacchaeus encounters Jesus.
As Jesus enters Jericho with the crowd, the camera angle shifts and focuses on a tax collector in the town. ...
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