"When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them" (Luke 24:30).
At the village of Emmaus, the two disciples invited Jesus into their home. As they hosted the Lord at the table, he turned the tables on them. Though the guest, Jesus becomes the host who serves them.
Luke, the gospel writer, does not tell us what happened inside the home. But he tells us just enough to see that the guest is now a host-cum-servant.
At the table, Jesus rises up to serve.
This image reminds me - and no doubt reminded the two disciples - of the Last Supper in John 13. After the meal, Jesus got up, took the towel and basin, and began washing the disciples' feet. Jesus who is our Messiah serves us in humility.
In our life of discipleship, do we experience the God who serves us? The key message of the gospel is to know the true mission of Jesus. Mark tells us, "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many" (Mk 10:45).
In our life today, do we recognise Jesus as our suffering and servant Messiah? Or do we expect him to make a difference as our political and economic Messiah?
In his incarnation and life on earth, Jesus turns the table on us: the guest is now a servant.
The guest is also a host.
In any meal, it is normally the host who serves. I recall some years ago when our Singapore relatives visited, my parents were such generous hosts. My mum joyfully cooked up a storm and served them five big meals a day. On top of that, she told me to buy back local delicacies and kuih muih. Our Singaporean relatives enjoyed their stay and ate their fill as guests in our Kuala Lumpur home.
There is a beautiful story in 2 Samuel 9 that describes King David as a generous and kind host. He welcomes the lame and crippled son of Jonathan, Mephibosheth, into his palace. We read that Mephibosheth ate at David's table like one of his sons. Mephibosheth experienced the "table of grace" from the hands of David.
In Psalm 23, the psalmist tells us that the Lord is not only our Good Shepherd in our lives but He is also our Generous Host: "You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies" (v 5a).
Our daily life is marked by "ungraceful" situations, as well as our ungracious and self-righteous attitudes. Amid all these things, the Lord Jesus invites us to join him at the "table of grace." Today, we can experience this table of grace in the presence of our kind and gracious host.
Lord, we are thankful that through this Emmaus account, we can be reminded about the key message of the gospel: you are our suffering Messiah who serves us. You are our generous host who blesses us with your grace. Today help us to respond in our life to serve and bless others. Amen.