John 9:1-7 ESV
“The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has [infinite] eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread the fathers ate, and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live [infinitely] forever.” Jesus said these things in the synagogue, as he taught at Capernaum.” John 6:52-59 ESV
Still turning water into wine here…
Mary, despite not actually asking her son to fix the problem of the wine running out, clearly shows a trust in him to be able to do something. So when Jesus says to her “What’s that for us?”, “His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” So Jesus looks around and notices there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. He notices these six stone jars, or water pots. These water pots are empty, they are for the mikvahs. They use these water pots to fill the mikvahs. If we ever were to visit Jerusalem, you will see these around. Mikvahs are dug into the ground, into the stone, with steps leading into him. What they are is baptistries. They are not bathtubs, they are not ancient hot tubs. They are used for ritual purification. Several times a week. an observant Jew would properly fill his mikvah with the proper kind of water blessed, by the rabbi. Then he would go down into the water, repeat the prayers, dunk himself seven times, and observe the rituals that he might be ceremonially pure.
So at this wedding we had some of these stone water pots used for filling the mikvah. They are empty. Each one has between 20-30 gallons of capacity. If you fill six of them it’s between 120 to 180 gallons of water, so let’s call it 150 gallons here. So Jesus tells says to the servants “Fill the jars with water.” To which I can imagine these servants rolling their eyes. “Oh brother. Another super religious guy. Instead of partying all night we’re all going to have to go down to the mikvah and get baptized again.” But they do it. It’s going to take a while. Remember, they don’t have hoses or spigots to use and easily fill these things up. This required drawing the water out of the well, it takes a lot of time and effort to draw 150 gallons of water.
“And they filled them up to the brim. And he said to them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast.” Ok Jesus. Sounds a little strange. But they do it anyway. They take water out of the stone jar for ritual purification. They put it in a wine cup and take it to the chief steward, but somewhere in transit, somewhere along the way, a miracle happens. The water has turned to wine.
The steward doesn’t know anything that’s been going on. He just knows the wine has run out. But the servants come to him, “Here you go, try this out.” “So they took it. When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.” Think about the baffled bridegroom. He has no idea what the steward is talking about. All he knows is that he’s heard rumors that they are running out of wine, and all of a sudden now there’s tons of it. The master of the feast is poking him in the side, grinning – “Oh, you’ve really fooled us! You kept the very best wine until now!” To which the bridegroom said what? “Praise the Lord!!??”
But Jesus has done it!! The little wedding in Cana of Galilee, on the verge of catastrophe, suddenly is supplied with 1000 bottles of Cabernet Sauvignon. And Jesus gives a wink to his mom. “This miraculous sign at Cana in Galilee was the first time Jesus revealed his glory. And his disciples believed in him.” John 2:11 NLT. And John says Jesus revealed his glory. Jesus revealed his glory, which means his beauty. Imagine being one his 6 disciples there. Imagine following this rabbi, just starting to follow, then you see the sign, you see the water turned to water.
And Jesus revealed his beauty. This is a beautiful story. There is something fun, something whimsical about this story. Later, most of Jesus’ miracles are framed in a life and death scenario. A leper, his life ebbing away. Disciples in a boat, threatened with imminent death from a storm. Here’s a little girl who’s in fact already died. There’s a deep, dark frame around a lot of Jesus’ miracles. But this one, there’s none of that. Yes, we might want to save the family from social embarrassment, but there is no way this is crucial to anything. This is just a whimsical miracle, where Jesus, in order to keep the wedding going, gives a sign. It’s not just a party trick, it’s a sign.
What’s the sign pointing to? In the Old Testament, the abundance of wine was often symbolic of God’s favor and blessing. Likewise, ruined vineyards and a scarcity of wine was symbolic of the absence of God. So as the prophets began to imagine the time when God would come through his Messiah, anticipating the day when messiah would come and bring the righteous reign of God with all of its blessing and abundance, they use language like this – “…the vats shall overflow with wine…” Joel 2:24 ESV, “the mountains shall drip sweet wine, and all the hills shall flow with it.” Amos 9:13 ESV, “On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine…” Isaiah 25:6 ESV. It’s as if they are saying Oh, and the rivers will flow with wine…
That’s the anticipation, the prophetic vision. So, in a beautiful and artistic way, Jesus, in turning the water to wine and providing an abundance of it, has announced that the reign of God at last has arrived. Remember, in the story, the steward says to the bridegroom But you have kept the good wine until now. John’s gospel is very sophisticated. It’s as if he knows and trusts his readers will read this over and over in a thoughtful way, and he hides all these gems in it. So, Jesus is also the bridegroom, is he not? Jesus is the bridegroom…
So think of it like this – in previous days, in earlier times Israel had had some good wine. In the days of Moses, when they are brought out of Egypt, and God is present in a cloud by day and fire by night, giving them the Torah, they had some good wine. In the days of David, when the kingdom was coming and the sweet psalmist of Israel was reigning and ruling, they had some good wine. But then, the exile. For about 500 years, all you could say is, they have no wine. The wine has run out. The good days are gone, they have no wine.
But now…JESUS IS ON THE SCENE!!! Not only is there wine, it’s the best wine!!! We can say, We had some good times with Moses, we had some good times with David, but the BEST has been saved for now!! AMEN!
When Jesus is on the scene, good things are about to happen. Why was Jesus at this wedding? Because he was invited! Hey, remember that carpenter guy over in Nazareth? He did some work for us, he’s a cool guy. What’s his name? Oh yeah, Yeshua of Nazareth, 101 Olive Street, Nazareth. And just because they invited Jesus, they got the miracle. So when you’re going through your struggle, your thing, your situation, your problem, and you’re going through it, invite Jesus. JESUS, want to come to my party, my mess, my marriage, my addiction, my life, my business, my thing? I got this thing going on Jesus, want to come? And don’t tell Jesus what to do, just invite him. Because you never know what Jesus is going to do. Think about it, nobody would have thought I know what to do, we’ll invite Jesus and he’ll perform a miracle and turn all this water into wine. Nobody would have ever dreamed that up. Only Jesus. So don’t tell Jesus what to do, just invite him to your thing. Because where Jesus shows up good things are about to happen. But Jesus tends to show up where he’s invited.
So invite him.
Back in John’s telling of the first recorded miracle of Jesus, turning water into wine…
So yes, On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee. The third day as in Tuesday, as in Sunday, Monday, Tuesday…also as in the doubly blessed third day from Genesis, a doubly blessed day that must be the day the Jews in Israel would have to be married on. But never forget…and John will not let you forget, the third day is also the day Christ himself rose from the dead…
On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee. Cana of Galilee. Funny thing about Cana of Galilee is, we know exactly where this is. You can still visit Cana today. It’s only 5 miles from Nazareth. Which probably tells us exactly why Jesus was invited to this wedding. Because he was known in the community, he was local. Yes, let’s invite Yeshua, the carpenter, remember him, he fixed our steps and built the gazebo a couple years ago. Let’s invite him. Jesus was invited, his mom was invited, his disciples were invited. Not because they were Jesus’s disciples but also because they, too, were known.
But Jesus only has six disciples at this point. This is the very beginning of his ministry. He’s got Andrew, Peter, James, John, Phillip, and Nathanael. Nathanael specifically has just joined the day before. He has just become a disciple of Jesus, and Jesus had told him “You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You will see greater things than that.” John 1:50 NIV. Better hold onto your hat, you’re going to see some awesome things. And sure enough, the next day they are at the wedding in Cana, and Nathanael will something truly amazing.
It’s a Jewish wedding of the first century. And we need to understand about Jewish weddings, or we might be confused. When we think of a wedding, we think of a quick ceremony followed by a wedding reception. But this is not a reception with mints and nuts and cake and punch in a plastic cup. This is a feast that will go for days. This is not a 20 minute ceremony followed by an hour long reception. You would have the ceremony, the bride and groom would disappear for a short time (not for pictures), the happy, blushing couple would return and the feast would begin!
It sounds crazy, but that’s how it was done. Jesus is at one of these first century weddings. They’ve had the vows, the happy couple has disappeared into the tent, now they’ve come back, and now it’s time to start several days of feasting. But no sooner had they got started, a real catastrophe happened. In a shame and honor based culture, which is typical of the east, including first century Israel, things like weddings have to come off right or it brings great shame upon the family. What happened here was, they ran out of wine. If you run out of wine, it is a catastrophe. Because when you have a feast that’s supposed to run for three days, if you run out of wine, people go home. Well, that’s that!! People begin to drift away, and what’s supposed to be a several day feast is over by the afternoon. It’s very embarrassing, the shame could linger within the family for generations – “That’s that family that tried to have a wedding! That didn’t work out, they ran out of wine and everybody left!! LOL”
So they ran out of wine and are the verge of a social catastrophe. Jesus’s mother is there with Jesus, her eldest son, and simply observes They have no wine. Notice that she’s not requesting for Jesus to do anything. This is not a request. Mary is not saying “Jesus fix this.” She’s simply making a whispered observation laden with pity. “Oh my goodness. They’ve ran out of wine, I feel so sorry for them. How embarrassing. How did they let this happen? They have no wine.” In our English translations Jesus’ response is rendered like this – Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come. What is actually said here in the Greek is apparently at least a little enigmatic, obscure, and difficult to understand. This comes across in our translations as a rebuff, but I don’t think that’s what happening at all. It doesn’t fit, Mary has not asked Jesus to do anything, she has just observed that they were, in fact, out of wine. NT Wright says we would benefit greatly from a simple punctuation change – Woman? What! Has this to do with me? Or how about this. Jesus response is really, if we could understand, more like this – “What’s that for us? I’ve got time. I can take care of that.”
Jesus says My hour has not yet come. Jesus knows that an hour will come when he can not work. The hour of darkness. The hour that he’s betrayed and turned over to the Romans. The hour that he’s crucified. But Jesus knows that’s a ways off. So Mary says oh no They have no wine, Jesus responds and says “What’s that for us? We can take care of that. I’ve got the tine. I’m not in a rush. I can handle this.”
Here’s an example so we can better understand. Imagine you’re in the grocery store, heading home after church to get your true worship on and watch some football, and at the front of the line is a young mother buying groceries, formula and diapers for her baby. Except she is coming up a couple of dollars short of being able to pay for what she has. And now she’s embarrassed, because there is a line of people in line behind her. She’s slowing the line down, and I mean, kickoff is in fifteen minutes! The back of her neck is white hot from the glowering stares behind her. This young mother is both embarrassed and a little desperate, because she needs those groceries. At which point your spouse whispers “She has no money.” So you grab a couple of bucks out of your wallet, discreetly head to the front of the line and give it to the cashier. “Here’s the rest of the money. I’ve got this covered.” Because, after all, what’s a couple of dollars? What’s that for us? We can take care of it.
That’s what’s happening here. That’s exactly what Jesus is doing. Mary says They have no wine. Jesus says No big deal. What’s that for us? He’s not saying “That’s not my problem.” What Jesus is saying here is “That’s no problem.” It’s all in how you hear the idiom, and there’s all the difference in the world.
How many times do we see others in certain situations and walk away without helping, telling ourselves “That’s not my problem. What’s that got to do with me?” But really, “Whats that for us?” It’s so easy for us to turn our backs and walk away. I do it everyday. But, again, “What’s that for us? We can handle that.” Can’t we?
“On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples. When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. And he said to them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast.” So they took it. When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.” This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.” John 2:1-11 ESV
We read and pray Psalm 88 and we find that “my eye grows [dark] through sorrow…” Psalms 88:9 ESV. Some people have dark eyes from the sorrows they have seen in life. They say the eyes are a window to the soul. You can look in some peoples eyes and they tell a story, oftentimes a story that is sad. Some people have dark eyes because of the sorrows they have seen in life, we understand that.
But some people have dark eyes because of the way they look at life. Jesus talks about that in the sermon on the mount. “”The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!” Matthew 6:22-23 ESV. Jesus talks about the eye, how we look at life, being the lamp of our entire being. He says this in the sermon on the mount in the context of where he is talking about money. The text is bracketed by Jesus speaking about those who would be his disciples and how we view money. Right before this text, he says “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:21 ESV. At the end of this passage he says “.…You cannot serve God and money.” Matthew 6:24 ESV.
So this dark eye that causes our being to be filled with darkness has something to do with a wrong approach to money. We could say it like this : there are those who go through life with the squinty eyes of greed. The squinty-eyed have dark eyes that darken their own soul because they have learned to look at life in the wrong way. We can look at life through the squinty eyes of greed, calculation, and cynicism. There is a way of looking at life through little slits, sizing people up, looking for an advantage, calculating, cynical, jaded, greedy. If you look at life that way, the light pouring into your soul is in fact darkness. We can look at life with the squinty eyes of greed, calculation and cynicism, but we end up with dark eyes and a dark soul.
Or we can look at life with wide-eyed wonder, love and acceptance. With our eyes wide open, wide-eyed wonder of love and acceptance, we have bright eyes and a bright soul. Some have dark eyes because of how much sorrow they have seen in life. But some have dark eyes because of how they shut out the light by how they look at life.
But the gospel message is this – Jesus can save us from both the dark eyes of sorrow and the dark eyes of cynicism. So that if you have seen so much sorrow and pain and suffering in your life, and you feel like your soul has been darkened, I want to tell you the good news that Jesus can come to you and heal you from your sorrows. He can give you bright eyes and a bright soul.
And if you’ve been looking at life through the squinty eyes of greed, calculation and cynicism, Jesus wants to teach you a brand new way of looking at life through the wide eyed wonder of love and acceptance so that you can have bright eyes and a bright soul…
Did some reading aver my vacation, including Philip Yancey’s book What’s so Amazing About Grace? In a world full of ungrace, grace is the one thing Christians have to offer that is found nowhere else. As George MacDonald once said, “You need not be a Christian to build houses, feed the hungry, or heal the sick. There is only one thing the world cannot do. It cannot offer grace.”
At one point in the book, Yancey takes an interesting look at Peter’s encounter with God in Acts Chapter 10. It is in Acts chapter 10 that the diet of the new church was greatly expanded. As far as we are concerned, that is the point and the end of the story. Before, Jews were not allowed to eat many foods, many things were just not “kosher” for them. Know that “kosher” may best be translated into English, if we would, as “fit”. So we would say that if something were not “kosher”, that means it is “unfit” for us to eat. Or that dreaded term in the Old Testament, “unclean”.
So we see in Acts 10 Peter’s vision on a rooftop. Peter has gone up onto the roof to pray in privacy, but he begins to get hungry. His mind begins to wander, and he fell into a trance and saw the heavens opened and something like a great sheet descending, being let down by its four corners upon the earth. In it were all kinds of animals and reptiles and birds of the air. And there came a voice to him: “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.” This is not very specific about what the animals on the sheet were, but if we read Leviticus 11 we can get an idea. Pigs, camels, rabbits, vultures, ravens, horned owls, screech owls, storks, bats, ants, beetles, bears, lizards, skinks, weasels, rats, snakes, all would have been on the do not eat list. Being raised a Jew is Palestine, Peter would have been raised from his earliest memories that these foods were not just off the diet – they were an abomination to be detested.
If during the course of the day Peter had so much as touched the carcass of a dead insect, he would wash himself and his clothes and be unclean until evening, not allowed in the temple until he was clean of such errors. If a lizard or a spider had fallen into one of the clay cooking pots, whatever was in the pot would have been thrown out, and the pot smashed along with it.
So now, all these unclean animals, birds, reptiles, and insects are all crawling around on a sheet falling from heaven with the instruction “Rise, Peter; kill and eat”. To which Peter reminded God of his own rules – “By no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean.” To which Peter is told “What God has made clean, do not call common.” This is repeated a total of three times, followed by Peter immediately descending from the rooftop back downstairs to be confronted with a group of “unclean” Gentiles who wanted to follow Jesus.
While this incident may have greatly expanded our diets (hurray for shrimp and bacon!!), why were all these foods banned in the first place? What did God have against shrimp, lobster, bacon, sausage? This is how God himself explains the ban – “For I am the Lord your God. Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy…” Leviticus 11:44 ESV. Lots of room for interpretation here, and it’s been interpreted lots of different ways.
First, there were certain health benefits that could be cited as a reason. The ban on pork would have protected the Israelites from trichinosis, the ban on shellfish kept them safe from viruses sometimes found in oysters and mussels.
Some of the banned animals were scavengers who would have fed on carrion. Other portions would have insulated God’s people from participating in the customs of their pagan neighbors. Specifically, the seemingly strange ban against boiling a young goat in its mother’s milk would have kept the Israelites from imitating a magic spell ritual of the Canaanites.
So, if we think about it many of these animals we can understand why it makes sense to declare them “unclean”. But others just don’t. What’s wrong with lobsters or shrimp? Or rabbits, which have no health risk and eat grass, not carrion? Or camels and donkeys?
Remember, maybe the best English translation for “kosher” would be “fit”. The Levitical law judges some animals to be “fit”, or proper for the Jews to eat, others to be unfit. If we look a little bit closer though, we can see that all of the animals on the “unfit” have done anomaly, maybe they are just aren’t all the way “normal”. Fish are supposed to have fins and scales, shellfish are just a little bit weird. Birds are supposed to fly, ostriches and emus don’t fit in. Animals on the land are supposed to walk on four legs, not crawl on the ground. The domesticated animals like cattle, sheep and goats all eat grass (chew the cud) and have cloven hooves, shouldn’t therefore all edible animals be like that? As Rabbi Jacob Neusner says, “If I had to say in a few words what makes something unclean, it is something that, for one reason or another, is abnormal.”
And as the author Phillip Yancey sums up in his book, you might say there is one phrase, one principle, that can sum up all the Old Testament laws on uncleanness – No Oddballs Allowed. No oddball animals on the menu, and the same could be said about “clean” animals used in worship or for sacrifice in the temple. No worshipper could bring a defective, injured or otherwise imperfect lamb into the temple, because God only wanted the unblemished lamb from the flock. From the time of Cain forward, people followed precise instructions or risked having their offering rejected. God demanded perfection, God deserved only the best, no oddballs allowed.
And so this applies to people as well. In the very temple of God, there were rules that applied as to whom, exactly, was “fit” to go into the ever constrictive circles. There were the outer courts, where even the Gentiles were allowed. A little farther in, and Jewish women were no longer allowed. Beyond that, only the priests were fit to enter, all the way to the inner most holy-of-holies, where only the high priest was allowed once a year. And when he went in, he had a rope tied to his ankle just in case he screwed it up somehow and got struck down by God, they could pull him out without having to enter. Because, after all, they were unfit to enter the most holy meeting place of the most high God.
And now to what really is the whole point of writing this. It’s one thing to label certain animals unfit to eat, unclean. But the Old Testament does not stop there. How can we forget the long list of people who were rendered “unclean”, unworthy, less than, unfit? “”Speak to Aaron, saying, None of your offspring throughout their generations who has a blemish may approach to offer the bread of his God. For no one who has a blemish shall draw near, a man blind or lame, or one who has a mutilated face or a limb too long, or a man who has an injured foot or an injured hand, or a hunchback or a dwarf or a man with a defect in his sight or an itching disease or scabs or crushed testicles.” Leviticus 21:17-20 ESV. If you had a damaged body, or damaged family lines (bastard child), you don’t qualify, you’re not worthy. Menstruating women, men who had just had a nocturnal emission, women who had recently given birth, people with any skin disease or open sores (lepers), anyone who had touched a corpse, all these people were unclean, unfit to be touched or associated with. No wonder the religious leaders in Jesus’ story of the Good Samaritan ran to the other side of the street!! They would be made unclean just by the potential contact with that poor sap on the road.
To us, we don’t understand this blatant ranking of people based on gender, race, and bodily health, but this the exact system that defined Judaism. Jewish men would begin each day with a prayer thanking God, “who has not made me a Gentile…has not made me a slave…and has not made me a woman…”
Acts 10 shows us the result of this attitude. Peter, introducing himself upon visiting the house of a Roman centurion, says it well – “And he said to them, “You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a Jew to associate with or to visit anyone of another nation, but God has shown me that I should not call any person common or unclean. So when I was sent for, I came without objection. I ask then why you sent for me.”” Acts 10:28-29 ESV. God called Peter to go to the Gentiles. Peter argued. God won the argument. The revolution of grace was underway, whether Peter understood or not.
The customs and traditions of Judaism ran deep in Peters blood. Yet Peter had been there all along with Jesus as Jesus would systematically break down those barriers which separated Jews and Gentiles, clean and unclean. It seems in fact, if you read the Gospels, that Jesus always was much closer to the sinners than the saints, doesn’t it? (Of course, our true saints never lost sight of the fact that they, too, were really just sinners who needed a savior). Jesus never avoided all those branded “unclean” or unfit by the law. Yet, somehow, Jesus was never made “unclean” by his unsavory contacts. Somehow, by meeting and coming into contact with Jesus, all those who were once unclean became clean, the unfit became fit once and for all for the kingdom of God.
Today, we have a new holy-of-holies. We have a meeting place with God where all are invited, no one is considered unclean. In fact, the only way we can make ourselves unfit for this meeting place is by putting up barriers or otherwise making it hard for someone else to come to the meeting place of God. Isn’t this what Paul is telling us in 1 Corinthians 11 (message translation being used. I hear a lot of people don’t like this translation. I think a lot of people also don’t much care for the Bible once they actually understand what it says!). “And then I find that you bring your divisions to worship—you come together, and instead of eating the Lord’s Supper, you bring in a lot of food from the outside and make pigs of yourselves. Some are left out, and go home hungry. Others have to be carried out, too drunk to walk. I can’t believe it! Don’t you have your own homes to eat and drink in? Why would you stoop to desecrating God’s church? Why would you actually shame God’s poor? I never would have believed you would stoop to this. And I’m not going to stand by and say nothing.
Let me go over with you again exactly what goes on in the Lord’s Supper and why it is so centrally important. I received my instructions from the Master himself and passed them on to you. The Master, Jesus, on the night of his betrayal, took bread. Having given thanks, he broke it and said, This is my body, broken for you. Do this to remember me. After supper, he did the same thing with the cup: This cup is my blood, my new covenant with you. Each time you drink this cup, remember me. What you must solemnly realize is that every time you eat this bread and every time you drink this cup, you reenact in your words and actions the death of the Master. You will be drawn back to this meal again and again until the Master returns. You must never let familiarity breed contempt.
Anyone who eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Master irreverently is like part of the crowd that jeered and spit on him at his death. Is that the kind of “remembrance” you want to be part of? Examine your motives, test your heart, come to this meal in holy awe.” 1 Corinthians 11:20-28 MSG.
So we come to the holy-of-holies. No one is excluded. All are invited. Many of you like a good “altar call”, a call for all those who don’t know Jesus to come to the altar and meet him. Isn’t every time we take communion the best and truest “altar call” there is??!! Come to the table, meet Jesus Christ in his glory, all the glory of his shed blood and broken body!! As he himself told us, Take, eat, do this in remembrance of me. And just like those Emmaus Road disciples, we can know him best in the breaking of the bread.
Misfits and Oddballs are always welcome at the table of grace…
“The next day, as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the housetop about the sixth hour to pray. And he became hungry and wanted something to eat, but while they were preparing it, he fell into a trance and saw the heavens opened and something like a great sheet descending, being let down by its four corners upon the earth. In it were all kinds of animals and reptiles and birds of the air. And there came a voice to him: “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.” But Peter said, “By no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean.” And the voice came to him again a second time, “What God has made clean, do not call common.” This happened three times, and the thing was taken up at once to heaven.” Acts 10:9-16 ESV.
“Nevertheless, among those that chew the cud or part the hoof, you shall not eat these: The camel, because it chews the cud but does not part the hoof, is unclean to you. And the rock badger, because it chews the cud but does not part the hoof, is unclean to you. And the hare, because it chews the cud but does not part the hoof, is unclean to you. And the pig, because it parts the hoof and is cloven-footed but does not chew the cud, is unclean to you. You shall not eat any of their flesh, and you shall not touch their carcasses; they are unclean to you.
But anything in the seas or the rivers that does not have fins and scales, of the swarming creatures in the waters and of the living creatures that are in the waters, is detestable to you. You shall regard them as detestable; you shall not eat any of their flesh, and you shall detest their carcasses. Everything in the waters that does not have fins and scales is detestable to you. “And these you shall detest among the birds; they shall not be eaten; they are detestable: the eagle, the bearded vulture, the black vulture, the kite, the falcon of any kind, every raven of any kind, the ostrich, the nighthawk, the sea gull, the hawk of any kind, the little owl, the cormorant, the short-eared owl, the barn owl, the tawny owl, the carrion vulture, the stork, the heron of any kind, the hoopoe, and the bat.”
Leviticus 11:4-8, 10-19 ESV