Occasionally I have some thoughts about Table Talk that will either 1) make it easier to understand or 2) give greater depth when talking about something so central and important to our faith. I like what William Willimon says about the Cross which is also instructive for Table Talk.
“Jesus was upfront in saying that the cross is not optional equipment for discipleship: ‘If anyone wants to follow after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake and for the sake of the gospel will save it’ (Mark 8:34-35).
The Cross is the central metaphor for discipleship. The Cross defines what a Christ-centered life looks like in its practice. The Cross upends every model we humans have for what victory, success, and meaning look like. Because of that, the Cross should be central to what we say about our own discipleship. Here are several passages which can be used to give shape to what you want to say at Table Talk.
- Isaiah 53 is a great, poetic description of Jesus’ suffering.
- Matthew 27:26-56 is one of the accounts of Jesus’ crucifixion. It is good to read one of these occasionally to be reminded of what Jesus went through when he was crucified. See also Mark 15:1-47; Luke 23:1-46; and John 19:16-42.
- Mark 8:34-35. In this text Jesus tells all who would follow him that they must first take up their own cross. In other words, Jesus is calling us to a life of sacrifice.
- Luke 24:35-49 is the story of two friends who encounter Jesus on the road from Jerusalem to Emmaus. In the eating of a meal with Jesus, the two gained recognition of who this unexpected guest was.
- John 6:35-51. In this text Jesus describes himself as the bread of life, come down from heaven. In him we can have life that transcends this life.
- John 13:1-20. The apostle John records in this passage Jesus’ own action and words pertaining to the last supper he ate with his disciples before his crucifixion. He put on a towel and washed their feet prior to the meal, and then he told them that he did this to provide an example of how he wanted them to live with others.
- Romans 6:1-11 is a passage about baptism in which Paul teaches that baptism reenacts the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.
- 1 Corinthians 1:18-25 says that talk of the cross is foolishness to the world but wisdom to the disciple of Christ.
- 1 Corinthians 11:23-34 is a teaching from Paul regarding the Lord’s Supper. It is the longest passage in the New Testament about the practice of the Lord’s Supper.
- 1 Corinthians 15:1-11. Paul says, in this passage, that the most important thing he gave to the Corinthians church was his teaching about how Christ died for them, was buried, raised, and then appeared.
- 1 Corinthians 15:12-24 is a part of a large text on the resurrection. This is a good text to read when talking about why it is important that Jesus, after dying on the cross, rose from the grave.
- 2 Corinthians 4:7-15 discusses how the power we have from God overcomes the suffering and difficulty we experience.
- Galatians 6:11-16 says that Paul doesn’t want to boast about anything but the Cross of Christ.
- Philippians 2:1-11 is Paul’s soaring reflection on what it means to have the same attitude that Christ had.
- Colossians 1:15-20 is about Christ’s role in creation, the Cosmos, and God’s plan for his people.
- Colossians 2:8-15. Paul warns the Colossian church about the dangers of various heresies. He describes the superiority of Jesus who disarmed the rulers and nailed our sins to the cross.
- Hebrews 2:14-18 explains the importance of Jesus’ death and how it figured into the victory he created over the power of the devil.
- Hebrews 10:1-18 talks about the inability of all those ancient sacrifices to produce enduring forgiveness.