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Dinner with Jesus

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Megan Howell

on 15 October 2014

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Transcript of Dinner with Jesus

Contagious Holiness
Forming friendships but evading enemies.
The Parable of the Lost Sheep
Luke 15:1-7
Why would Jesus eat with such marginal and disreputable persons?
Dinner with Jesus

The debate of Jesus' meal practice: Did he really dine with sinners?
Luke's Meals and Greco-Roman Symposium Literature
A meal was more than just a meal
Jesus,tax collectors and sinners
Jews worked for the Romans
to collect taxes

Disliked by other Jews
because the taxes caused
many to fall into poverty
and become dept slaves
expressions of the ancient Near East
expressions of Judaism
tithing & purity
Purity: of food and cleanliness of hands
"Table fellowship was often
the subject of teaching, either
directly or as an illusion of
something else"(97).
Jesus hosted sinners
Sinner: outcast, untouchable
challenged the
understanding of God
During the time of Jesus there was "the Greco-Roman form of banqueting known as symposium had become a model so pervasive throughout the empire that Jewish and early Christian meals would have adopted" (Blomberg 21)
A symposium would consist of "a formal meal during which participants reclined on couches, followed by a time for drinking wine, discussion of controversial topics and entertainment of various kinds, usually musical and often sexual" (Blomberg 22).
The theme of table fellowship is something that the Evangelists have created themselves and it comes to conclusion that the Gospel portraits of Jesus are unhistorical.
"The theme of Jesus' table fellowship with sinners permeates every layer of the Synoptic tradition" (20)
Multiple attestation: Matthew, Mark & Luke
Dissimilarity: is not similar to anything of Jesus' Jewish world or Christian practice
Jesus ate and drank with different types of people and went beyond the social respectability.
His meals with "sinners" was considered "an expression of their new relationship with Jesus, which was celebrated as through it was a new relationship with God" (Blomberg 20).
Reputation as a wine drinker and glutton
He offered friendship to everyone (i.e. sinners, tax collectors)
"Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I came not to call that righteous, but sinner."
sinners are just lost,
unlike the Pharisaic claim that
they are permanent outcasts
Summary: Jesus defended himself against his opponents by

1. comparing them to quarrelsome children who insisted their game must be played

2. claiming that the sinners were sick and seeking a physician

3. comparing table fellowship to a celebration of the return of the lost.
Table fellowship wasn't just about
forgiveness (too theoretical),
it "pointed to an alternative course
for all of Israel"(108).
The theme of Jesus' meal with sinners is primarily Luke's creation because of the infrequency of it in Mark and Matthew's gospels
In Luke 3:8 and 13:28-29, evidence is shown to prove that this is a mission for all of Israel, not just the sinners
Table Fellowship
faucets of Jesus' teaching
Example 1:
ritual washing of hands
Washing of hands was
seen as a necessity(Mosaic Law)
to ensure holiness
Conclusions on why this was done:
1. Denied the validity of
one of the main
requirements of
Mosaic law
2. Questioned the Pharisees
notion of how holiness
was achieved
Now all the tax collectors and sinners were coming near to listen to him. And the Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, “This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them.”

So he told them this parable: “Which one of you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one that is lost until he finds it? When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders and rejoices. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.

Do you believe that this parable could be an allegory?
A ‘sinner in the city’: Luke 7:36–50
Summary: Jesus was invited to dine with the Pharisees and a sinner came to the banquet. Jesus accepted her and forgave her of her sins, while the Pharisee, Simon questioned his actions.
Includes characteristics of Greco-Roman symposium literature
Stock Characters were added to a the story to play a particular function
Who were the stock characters?
The "host" - Simon the Pharisee
the "uninvited guest" - the sinful woman
Usually the uninvited guest disrupts the enjoyment of the event
The Uninvited Woman's Role
To demonstrate her unconditional love and faith for Jesus
She wipes Jesus feet with her own tears
Offers all that she has to give to Jesus
"Tax Collectors and Prostitutes"
Matthew 21:31-32
Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.
Roman women were increasingly emancipated and taking the initiative to be seen in public which included banquets
Women were viewed as unscrupulous because they were going against gender roles
Prostitutes were the "new Roman women"

They were not sexually immoral they were just seen as unconventional by attending public banquets
"Because literal prostitutes were often licensed, and taxes on their 'profession' were collected by tax farmers, it was natural for 'tax collectors and prostitutes' to be joined together" (Blomberg 23).
The Host's Role

Questioning Jesus' action of allowing a sinner into the dinner party and forgiving her of all her sins
"Jesus’ conception of the meal was the opposite of that of the Pharisees, who displayed a religiosity based on rules of purification, designed to exclude outsiders. Jesus’ esteem for the physician would likewise differ
from the traditional abhorrence of his alleged impurity" (Eric Ottenheijm).
The Incident: Jesus Takes a Meal with Tax-Collectors and Sinners

historical fact that on occasion Jesus ate with tax-collectors and sinners and was subsequently questioned about it

stereotyping of the Pharisees

meals are religiously and socially important
occasions, interchanges of social and religious intercourse, surrounded by
seeing that meals create fellowship and indicate fellowship, the choice of eating companions is a sensitive issue

tax-collectors were people with whom it was better to avoid any social contact.

nonetheless they were part of society and belonged to the
retainer class; they carried out administrative functions and served rulers or the wealthy.
(Eric Ottenheijm)
If so, what is the allegorical interpretation (or "hidden" message)?
In the parable, who are the sheep representing in this verse from Luke? Who does Jesus imply the sheep are during that time?
Luke 11:42=Matthew 23:23
Luke 11:42
Alas for you Pharisees! You pay tithes of
every garden herb
, but have no care for
and the
love of God
. It is these you should have practiced without neglecting the others!

Matt 23:23
Alas for you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You pay tithes of
; but you have overlooked the weightier demands of the Law,
, and
. It is these you should have practiced without neglecting the others!
There are two differences in wording that is called for initial attention:
What was it that the Pharisees tithed, and what was it that they neglected?
In Luke:
mint, rue and garden herbs-->authentic

In Matthew:
dill and cummin--both subject to tithe---> rabbinic practice
"Such observance had as its worst effect the neglect of the weightier matters of the Torah" (Borg):
According to Luke,

"justice and the love of God"
According to Matthew,

"justice, compassion, and faithfulness"
These terms, like "holiness", were all characteristics
of God and should on an
imitatio dei
(imitation of God) model be characteristic of the community which would be faithful to Yahweh.
Jesus had his great success with marginal and disreputable persons.
"Jesus' meals with them were signs of hope not only regarding God's kingdom, but also regarding the kinds of persons who might participate in it" (Harrington).
"People came to Jesus in the hope of spiritual healing and divine mercy, and they found them in him" (Harrington).
Jesus eating and drinking meals with sinners and outcasts is very prevalent in Luke's gospel
There are 19 instances where he dines with people
This would consists of Jesus reclining on chairs and enjoying the company of people and meals which means he was partaking in a symposium.
Contagious Holiness
Meals in the Old Testament

Context of Old testament meal traditions and their meanings
The importance of meals according to the Pentateuch
Two basic obligations of hospitality are:
To Feed and Protect the guest or stranger
Lavish Meals:
a way of displaying high, social standings
a way for a host to display the best he possibly could for his guest
Meals in the Old Testament:
prefigure the well being or doom of those who eat them
highlight the covenant- making and breaking- activities occur during them.
Meals in the Old Testament:
prefigure the well being or doom of those who eat them
highlight the covenant- making and breaking- activities occur during them.
At times meals can turn into an occasion of treachery and deceit, making the sins committed dung these meals much more heinous
Ritual Purity:
Purity as wholeness or holiness remain the dominant objective throughout
Being Kosher is one of the top identifiers that set Jews apart from their neighboring countries.
The many ways meals are displayed in the old testament:
Celebrating military conquest
Demonstrating personal hospitality
Marking family milestones
Sealing covenants
Offering sacrifice to God and commemorating his mighty acts in history
Creating peace and well-being
Forming settings for treachery
Proving Israelites with an exclusive practice
-The principal treads of Jewish meal customs
-Greco-Roman meal customs
Old Testament Apocrypha
same themes found as in the Old Testament
-Desire to keep festivals and frequent feasting a form of celebration
-eating well from the land's produce = a blessing of faithfulness from God
What are the dangers of eating with the wicked?
They include:
-dinning with another man's wife
-dinning with the powerful
-dinning with the stingy
-and caution against over eating
Common themes include the stress for the need of ritual purity, separation from sinners and related boundary markers in context of meals
What members eat and drink, and whom they do it with is seen as very symbolic
-Grace of God

Greco-Roman Meal Traditions:
This included a two part banquest which followed by a 'Drinking Party' involving various entertainment.
-Has many of the identical themes found in the Old Testament and the Apocrypha
-highlighting 4 categories
feeding strangers or helping the needy more generally with provisions of food (uncommon)
identifying clear boundaries surrounding Jewish table fellowship
warning and woes against sinners of all kind
concept of a Messianic banquet
Jew adopted many Greco-Roman practices (such as names, clothing style, etc.) but Greco- Roman banquet was flagged as offensive and self-indulgent.
Also these reasons support the idea that Jewish meal customs did not come from Greco-Roman Meals customs:
1- Jewish people four "breaking bread," very important during meal time, while Romans did not care for this practice.
2-In the literature is was seen that a Rabbi would never have intercourse with a person of immoral life or a man proved to be dishonest.
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