Why Jesus Loved to Party

Doug Bender

July 20, 2023 | 3 minute read

I love to party. 

I love poker night with the guys. I love smoking a piece of meat to share with friends. I love making homemade pizza and inviting a crowd. I love birthday parties, 4th of July parties, swim parties and back-to-school parties. I just love getting people together for any reason at all. And last night, I discovered a new kind of party and it made me think of some of Jesus’ parties.

I met Steve a few weeks back through a mutual friend. He and my friend, Bob, know each other from work. Bob runs a construction company and Steve has a metal fabrications shop. Basically, if you want a piece of metal that you can’t buy at a local hardware store, then Steve is your guy. He can take a scrap piece of metal and turn it into about anything you want. A couple weeks ago, Steve decided that his metal shop could be used for making friends as easily as it could a piece of metal. 

It ended up being just the five of us last night. We started off in the yard behind the shop. He hauled out a few seats and we sat around enjoying the summer air. Steve is a Christian and he told us ahead of time that he wanted to share a few things that he had been learning in his journey with Jesus. 

He had scribbled out a few notes in pencil about a Bible passage that he had been contemplating. It wasn’t a sermon, more of a guided discussion. He read a few verses. He shared a story and some thoughts. We did the same, as we reflected on Jesus’s words and our own lives. And after about twenty minutes of this, we proceeded back into the shop for the blacksmithing part of the party.

Andrew is another guy who came to our party last night. He is a bit of a local legend. He leads blacksmithing workshops and even won an episode of Forged in Fire a reality television show where blacksmiths battle to make the finest bladed weaponry. It looked like magic watching Andrew and Steve take a strip of metal and turn it into a decorative s-hook. 

I succeeded in making something that sort-of resembles what Steve and Andrew made. One end of my s-hook split. The other end had a fine point to it, only because Steve cleaned it up for me. I also bent the metal the wrong way on the last step and ended up making an “o” instead of an “s,” but, again, Steve fixed it for me. I had a blast.

I drove home proud of my sad little s-hook. It was ugly but I made it with a hammer and my own two hands. I also made some friends last night. And because of the way that Steve started off our evening, we also added a spiritual dimension to our new friendships. We know a little something about each other’s personal lives, our struggles, and our families. As I got up this morning, I knew how to pray for my new friends.

The whole thing made me think of some of the parties that Jesus attended, like the one he initiated with Zaccheus. Zaccheus had heard the rumors of Jesus and his only objective was to see him as he came into town. Zaccheus was a short man, so this goal was not so simple to accomplish. He ended up climbing a tree to get above the crowd and get his glance at the famous Jesus. 

Jesus looked up at Zaccheus and said, “Tonight, I’m staying at your house.” 

The whole town took notice of the party that Zaccheus threw in response. He was as famous for his wealth as he was for the nefarious ways in which he gained that wealth. The party would have been well funded and the food the best that town had to offer. 

But the most important part of the party was not the food at all. I don’t know if Zaccheus and Jesus sat out in the backyard like we did at our blacksmith party. But at some point, a conversation was had. And at the end of that conversation, Zaccheus announced, “Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”

Jesus attended an impromptu party with a tax collector named Zaccheus and ended up changing someone’s life in the process. And this wasn’t the only party that Jesus attended. If you read through the stories of Jesus in the Bible, you see that he made attending dinner parties a major part of his ministry. 

He let the parties be parties. There was food, good drink, friends and more. But he also found a way to bring his message of hope to those parties. He had a way of sparking serious spiritual conversation while also relaxing and enjoying time with people. 

It was the same skill that I found my friend, Steve, was able to wield last night at his metal shop. While nobody stood up and dedicated their fortunes to the poor at his shop, I did walk away with a commitment to make the most of my next party. Like Jesus and like Steve, I want my parties to have a spiritual element to them. In addition to some good food and a board game, I can share with my friends what God is doing in my life and what God might want to do in their lives, as well.

And as the summer rolls on, you will have the same opportunity. There will be birthday parties, grill-outs and more. You can go to these parties and can host a few yourself. And as you do, think about what Jesus might say if he were there. What conversations would he have? What stories would he tell? If you follow his lead, you’ll see that parties are great places to share the great truths of God. 

Doug Bender

Doug Bender

Doug Bender is an I Am Second writer and small groups coach. He developed many of the small group tools found at and has coached churches, organizations, and individuals to use I Am Second groups to share the message of Jesus with their friends and family. He also works with I Am Second's parent organization, e3 Partners, as a church planter and pastor in countries such as Ethiopia, Colombia, and the US. Doug and his wife, Catherine, have four children: Bethany, Samuel, Isabella, and Jesse.

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