The Domestic Sphere
A dinner in the Greco Roman world is not a private affair. Privacy is a modern concept that does not exist in the world evangelist Luke writes for.
The domestic sphere inside an ancient Roman house reflects and reenforces the social hierarchies of Greco Roman society. The ancient Roman world values and judges all people according to a strict honour/shame classification that is based on pedigree. In this worldview a few people matter and most people don’t.
Jesus goes to dinner
When Jesus goes to dinner in a Pharisee’s house it is a “quasi public” event that everybody watches.
Teaching about places on honour at the table Jesus clarifies that there are no place of honour in God’s kingdom. In God’s kingdom all people matter. God’s love knows no favorites.
Rev. Olaf Baumann, sermon, Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Port Angeles WA, 8/28/2016.