Come Dine with Luke…

Take a closer look at the theme of hospitality in Luke's Gospel, that comes up again and again.

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In both the Old and New Testament the home is shown as the place of hospitality and intimacy, where the host would open their heart as they opened their door – to those they knew, as well as to strangers.

Luke’s Gospel is filled with accounts of Jesus and his disciples visiting the homes of the people they meet and dining with them there:

  • There’s the story of Jesus eating a banquet with Levi and his friends (tax collectors and sinners) in Luke 5:27-32.
  • The time a sinful woman anointed Jesus feet at the dinner table in Luke 7:36-50; showing up the Pharisee host for his lack of hospitality.
  • The visit Jesus made to sisters Martha and Mary in Luke 10:38-42; where we learn the importance of spending time with our guests, not just rushing around being the busy host.
  • The story of Jesus dining with the Pharisees and lawyers in Luke 11:37-54 where Jesus rebukes them for their hypocrisy.
  • The story of another time Jesus dined with the Pharisees in Luke 14:1-24 and he healed a man suffering from dropsy on the Sabbath and taught the Pharisees how to behave at weddings and who to invite to dinner parties.
  • The welcome home feast Jesus describes in his parable about the prodigal son in 15:11-32.
  • The time Jesus ate in the home of Zacchaeus, a despised tax collector, in Luke 19:1-10.
  • The last supper Jesus shared with his disciples before his crucifixion in Luke 22:7-23; and finally
  • The supper at Emmaus when the disciples realise they are eating with the resurrected Jesus in Luke 24:13-35.

Jesus chose to visit people’s homes in order to build relationships and to strengthen his followers’ faith. It was in these homes that some of his most powerful encounters occurred.

Hospitality is a constant biblical theme and gift – a chance to share with others, rather than preserving what we have, or accruing even more.

Are there people in your area who are lonely or who have no family or friends close by? Are you wanting to find some new people to become friends with, or groups to join? How can you help others become less lonely or find new friends yourself? These websites aim to help people make new friends: meetup.com, campaigntoendloneliness.org.

Action Point

With St Luke’s Feast Day taking place on 18th October, perhaps this is a great opportunity for your church to put on a meal for your wider community? Gathering together neighbours, friends and strangers could encourage new friendships to form and help those in our communities who are lonely at this time.

Here’s a great quote from St Benedict to remember:

‘Let all guests who arrive be received like Christ, for He is going to say, “I came as a guest, and you received me.”‘ (Matthew 25:35) (Rule of Benedict, chapter 53).