Jesus regularly redraws religious boundaries, and He does so by means of table fellowship. But when we do what He has commanded, and we observe what He has established—as we are doing right now—there is a constant temptation to reestablish the old boundaries, the boundaries that He abolished.
This is a table for cleansed sinners. There is no food here for those who are not cleansed. But here is the point where we veer off. We tend to morph this observance into a meal that, instead of celebrating the cleansing, we celebrate the fact that we don’t need cleansing. But there is a vast difference between those who have been forgiven and cleansed, their sins and lawless deeds remembered no more, and those who believe they are in no need of cleansing. Both come before God in the conviction that He requires us to be clean.
But self-righteousness is not clean. Table fellowship with Christ is conducted with a demeanor of repentance, not a demeanor of being above it all. The table conversation sounds like humility and love, and does not sound like the tones heard in an exclusive club.
But ironically, it is an exclusive club. This is because a humble and contrite heart is a rarity, and it is so rare because we tend to focus on how humble and contrite everybody else’s hearts are. How did those others get in here? There real question is how did I get in here, and to ask that question with trembling boldness. So come and welcome, to Jesus Christ.