A Dinner To Remember
Read Genesis 2-3; John 9
If you could choose anyone to have dinner with, what six people would make your list?
When Barbra Streisand was asked that question, she chose George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Albert Einstein, Edward Hopper, Gustav Klimt and Fanny Brice. If they all could be there, she would be entertaining two former presidents, one inventor, two artists and one actress. I wonder what the conversation around the table would be like on that night. Would they have anything in common? Would their personalities clash? Of course, such a table will never be set, but the question concerning who we would like to dine with has as many answers as there are people willing to answer it.
One of the most exciting things that occurred after Jesus rose is mentioned in Matthew 27:52-53. Here we are told the beautiful truth that many people who had died and who belonged to the Lord were raised out of their tombs. Wouldn't it have been fascinating to hear the stories from the folks in Jerusalem who actually encountered them? They were known by those who saw them, and they interacted with them. What precious encouragement this truth gives us, and with this truth in mind, here is my list of the six people with whom I would like to share a meal. Each one belonged to the Lord; so, it could actually happen!
I would love to invite Rahab, Mary the mother of Jesus, the criminal who repented, Jeremiah the prophet, Adam and the man born blind. This guest list is too extensive to ponder in one sitting; so, if I may, I would like to consider only the last two guests for today, Adam whom we meet first in Genesis 2-3 and the man born blind whom we encounter in John 9. Wouldn't it be amazing if we could sit with these two men and hear their stories which would no doubt highlight what the Lord had done for each of them? If I may, I'd like to imagine a bit of that conversation that they might have enjoyed around the table.
Adam: “The Creator Himself planted a special garden for me and my wife. Even though the whole earth was unspoiled, He gave us our own God-made home, and it didn't lack anything. Yet, the best thing that we had was a closeness to Him. We actually had special times with Him in the evening. I can't even describe the joy that was ours when we walked with Him. However, as you well know, this time of wonder and innocence didn't last, and things changed because of one decision Eve and I made. That was the time we disobeyed the Creator's one and only command. On that day, when we knew God was coming to share time with us, we hid. That had never happened before. We tried to cover our shame with leaves, a hand-made garment that we had never worn before. I blamed Eve for what we had done, another thing that had never been a part of our lives before. Shame and blame entered our lives that day. We also learned that all kinds of evil and death would be a part of life's experience because of our sin. In fact, your blindness was a piece of the bitter fruit that was produced by our disobedience. Nevertheless, the most amazing thing was yet to come. I told you that we hid from the One Who loved us, but He didn't just leave us in our shame. He called out to us. Not because He didn't know our location. No, He wanted to continue to have a relationship with us, and even though it was never innocent as it had been, God actually promised us that He would make things right again. He would do it, and to prove that, He made us clothing out of animal skins in exchange for our fig leaf coverings. Isn't He wonderful? He not only sought us out, He promised us that He would forgive our sin and send Someone Who would reverse the curse that came because of our disobedience. What an awesome Savior we have. He didn't give up on Eve and me, and He began to unfold the plan He had always had for His creation. Although Eve and I had failed, God never stopped loving us. Now Sir, it is your turn!”
The Man Born Blind responded, “You are right. God is so faithful, even when we are not. Thank you for telling me just a bit of your story about our amazing God! The world I inhabited was far different than yours. I never saw its beauty, that is for many years. The people around me used to whisper, and sometimes the whispers were pretty loud. They would wonder if it was my sin or my parents' sin that brought about my blindness. Of course, speculating as to the answer didn't help me any in my day-to-day experiences. Although many in my world became blind through disease or accident, I came into the world with no vision at all. Life went on as usual, that is, until that one day. Even now, I recall the men once again discussing whose fault my blindness was. This time though, there was a different response. The One called Jesus said that my handicap was for the Glory of God. Imagine that. God was being honored, or He would receive glory because of my deficiency. His words were so different than the accusations that were barbs that cut into my soul. However, Jesus had yet another surprise for me. He spit on the ground and made a kind of mud with the dirt. He put the mixture on my eyes and told me to wash in the pool of Siloam. Such an odd command, but I obeyed. How can I tell you how I felt and what I saw when I did what Jesus told me to do? All at once, I could see. My life was instantly different. Maybe another time, I'll elaborate on all that I saw and how it changed my life, but for today, I simply want to say that Jesus did an amazing thing for me that day. He is the all-powerful One, so kind and gracious. I still marvel that He took note of me. Yet, that was only the beginning of His kindness poured out on me. He did something more wondrous than even that amazing miracle. After I was healed, several of our religious leaders wanted me to tell my story, but they weren't happy about the incredible miracle I had received. Go figure? Instead of wanting to come to know Jesus because of the wonderful thing He had done for me, they simply wanted to criticize Him because they said He had worked on the Sabbath. Just because He made "clay" to put on my eyes, they said He broke the Sabbath laws. Well, I wouldn't speak against Him, and the leaders got angry and threw me out of the synagogue. That meant that I was excluded from the ceremonies and social life of my people. Guess what the Lord did for me in addition to my healing? He found me! You know how you told me that He called out to you and Eve? That's what this Savior did for me. He sought me out and told me that He was the Messiah. Really, He opened my eyes twice. First, He made me whole physically, and after that, He gave me something even greater. New birth, John 3:3. Adam, you know how you said my blindness was part of the fruit of yours and Eve's disobedience? Well, yes it was hard in very many ways, but it was what Jesus used to make Himself known to me. Isn't He an awesome God, the One Who can use anything as a way to make His love known?”
Well, even as I finish writing this imaginary scene, I think how wonderful it will be to enjoy many dinners like this. For those of us who belong to Jesus, the companionship around the heavenly table is limitless. We will no doubt dine with people we have met in the scriptures such as Adam and the Man born blind and others throughout the years whose names and stories we have not yet heard. We will enjoy the company of loved ones who are already with the Lord.
Yet, thinking about all that awaits us, as wondrous as it surely will be, turns my heart toward another direction. Some precious ones whom we know don't yet have this Living Hope, 1 Peter 1:3-5. I don't know if anyone will come across this devotion who doesn't yet belong to Jesus, but may I speak to you, if this describes you?
We are celebrating another Easter, a time when we remember not only God's incredible love but also His victory over death. Each person, including you, will someday stand before this Victorious One. Please know that we continue to pray that many will come to know Jesus' love, including you. Happy Easter!