Two seemingly unrelated thoughts bounce around in my brain as I work to form them into something on paper for you to understand. Let me address the thoughts, then make the connection.
First, there is a closeness, a special bond, in putting your feet under the same dining table as someone else. We schedule dinner events, and almost always do so with those we care about and share special relationship with.
Second, I remember parenting conversations with my kids when they would get mad (read that l-i-v-i-d) at someone who hadn’t met their expectations in their young life. Usually, the closer the relationship with the party, the stronger the reaction. You always hurt the one you love, right? With wisdom from years and the luxury of being removed from the direct situation, I would remind them that the person couldn’t make them angry—it was how they were choosing to react.
The connection is these thoughts both stem from contemplating our Lord at the table with his disciples…all of them…even Judas. There is some evidence (from knowledge of customs of the day and hints in scripture) that suggests Jesus had Judas at the seat of honor at what we know as the Last Supper. We know Christ knew the betrayal was coming…but he chose his reaction. Think about the words from the hymn:
“All things are ready, Come to the feast! Come, for the door is open wide; A place of honor is reserved. For you at the Master’s side”
We have the same invitation…the same place of honor…the same sinful heart…and the same reaction from our Lord. He knows our weakness and how we fail him, but he chooses his reaction and offers that place of honor anyway. Judas made his choice. What remains to be seen is our reaction. That’s the story still being written.
Anyone who meets a testing challenge head-on and manages to stick it out is mighty fortunate. For such persons loyally in love with God, the reward is life and more life. —James 1:12 (MSG)