“But behold, the hand of My betrayer is with Me on the table.” (Luke 22:21)
In business, when company representatives are negotiating contracts, there’s a saying about leaving something “on the table.”
This statement usually refers to ineffective negotiating skills about money or any lost opportunity. It was one thing that caused many frustrations in my previous business life.
But here in Luke 22, Jesus is referring to Judas Iscariot before he betrays our Lord. Judas brings a hand of deception to Jesus.
He sold Jesus out for a slave’s wages of silver.
Therefore, it’s important to ask ourselves, “What are we bringing to our Lord’s table?”
God is encouraging us to bring our problems, our sins, and our mistakes to His table and to “do business” with Him. It’s the perfect “come as you are party!”
Too many times, we think we have to get all cleaned up emotionally, mentally, and spiritually before we can come to Jesus.
It turns out to be a lame excuse.
Jesus died for the sins of the world; past, present, and future. There is no other way to get clean except by His shed blood.
Jesus says in Matthew 11:28, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
He doesn’t say, “Go get perfect and then come to Me.” He just says, “Come.”
Now, consider for a moment the table that was there in the upper room where the last supper was held.
The scene above, as depicted by Michelangelo, was much different in reality.
Historians and Bible Commentators believe that in this formal dining setting called a Triclinium, from Roman culture, Jesus would have sat in the position of host, as pictured below.
John would have sat to His right, and Judas Iscariot to the Lord’s left.
As a carpenter by trade, Jesus may have considered the craftsmanship of the table itself.
He could have inspected the joints, the condition and finish of the wood. He may have even had some relationship with the one who built the table.
As Creator, He may have recalled the tree that provided the wood for the table (and even the cross).
According to Jewish custom:
…It is explained that the mitzvot (commandments) and acts of kindness that one performs around one’s table (feeding the poor, inviting guests, thanking God for one’s food after every meal, etc.) are the means to gain atonement for one’s sins and find favor with God.
In fact, there was a custom in some ancient Jewish communities to be buried in a coffin that was constructed from one’s dining room table. This was done as an expression of “taking” one’s good deeds along with him to the Next World. (source)
Of course we know from Scripture as it reads in Hebrews 9:2, “And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission.”
If you have ever created or fixed something such as a painting or furniture or improved your home, you know that in making something you are intimately familiar with that piece.
You know its beauty and its blemishes.
The incredible character of our Lord is that even though He created us, He doesn’t see our blemishes!
Here is where Romans 8:1 really comes alive, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.”
Jesus goes on to say in Luke 22:27, “For who is greater, he who sits at the table, or he who serves? Is it not he who sits at the table? Yet I am among you as the One who serves.”
The clear path to knowing God, to sensing His presence, to experiencing His Joy, and finding victory in our life is by serving Jesus and loving others.
How it must bless the Father to see His children praise and worship Him through selfless acts of love.
So What can You Bring to the Master’s Table?
I think this question goes through the mind of many of us when we consider our sins in light of the holiness of God.
If we give in to our sin, Jesus can seem unapproachable.
This is when we all must realize the truth found in Psalm 34:18, “The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit.”
Remember why Jesus came in the first place. Isaiah 61:1 tells us, “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, Because the Lord has anointed Me To preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted…”
There is a great comfort in knowing that God, in His love, sent His Son to encourage us and to heal us.
So what can you bring?
Bring your defeat.
Bring your tears.
Bring your emptiness.
Bring your disappointment.
Bring your pain.
Bring your mistrust.
Bring your anger and your bitterness.
Bring it all to His throne of grace, my friend.
There you’ll find rest for your soul.