How Mephibosheth’s Story of Acceptance Points Us to God’s Extravagant Grace
Paul Tautges


This past Sunday, as most of you know, I read my new children’s book, Dinner with the King, to the elementary children during our worship service. Several teachers also read it to the toddler and preschool classes, and our daughter with autism got to read it to her Together disAbility class. As a result, some people asked where I got the idea to write a book about how an invitation to a crippled boy in the Old Testament points us to Jesus and the invitation to eat forever at the table of the Lord.


Years ago, the Holy Spirit used one of Jerry Bridges’ books, Transforming Grace, to help me move away from legalistic tendencies I had drifted toward. In the first chapter, entitled The Performance Treadmill, highlights the grace shown to Mephibosheth and then applies it to our understanding of the gospel. Here are the paragraphs that grabbed me and changed the course of my Christian life—from performance-driven legalism to resting in the acceptance provided by God’s grace through the finished work of Christ.



There is a beautiful story in the life of King David illustrating God’s grace to us through Christ. Mephibosheth was the son of David’s bosom friend, Jonathan, son of Saul. He had been crippled in both feet at age five. After David was established as king over all Israel, he desired to show kindness to anyone remaining of Saul’s house “for Jonathan’s sake.” So Mephibosheth—crippled and destitute, unable to care for himself and living in someone else’s house— was brought into David’s house and “ate at David’s table like one of the king’s sons” (2 Samuel 9:11).


Why was Mephibosheth treated like one of David’s sons? It was for Jonathan’s sake. We might say Jonathan’s loyal friendship with David “earned” Mephibosheth’s seat at David’s table. Mephibosheth, in his crippled and destitute condition, unable to improve his lot and wholly dependent on the benevolence of others, is an illustration of you and me, crippled by sin and unable to help ourselves. David, in his graciousness, illustrates God the Father, and Jonathan illustrates Christ.


Just as Mephibosheth was elevated to a place at the king’s table for Jonathan’s sake, so you and I are elevated to the status of God’s children for Christ’s sake. And just as being seated at the king’s table involved not only daily food but other privileges as well, so God’s salvation for Christ’s sake carries with it all the provisions we need, not only for eternity but for this life as well.


As if to emphasize the special privilege of Mephibosheth, the inspired writer mentions four times in one short chapter that Mephibosheth ate at the king’s table (2 Samuel 9:7,10,11,13). Three of those times he says he always ate at the king’s table. But the account both begins and ends with the statement that Mephibosheth was crippled in both feet (verses 3,13). Mephibosheth never got over his crippled condition. He never got to the place where he could leave the king’s table and make it on his own.



What Others Are Saying about “Dinner with the King”

“There are never enough ways to convey the grace of God to children, and that’s why I’m so excited about Pictures of Gospel Grace. This marvelous series is a great way to tell the story of God’s favor and mercy over and over again to young readers!”

—Joni Eareckson Tada, Founder, Joni and Friends International Disability Center


“Everyone likes to be invited to dinner, but an invitation from a king would be truly special. In this engaging retelling of the story of David and Mephibosheth, simple words and bright pictures lead readers to consider what it would be like to be an enemy who becomes a king’s friend. I highly commend this book, which applies the gospel to young hearts and asks readers (and their parents!), ‘What would you say to dinner with a king?’ The answer, for Mephibosheth and for us, is an emphatic yes!”

—Megan Hill, Managing Editor, The Gospel Coalition


“Bible story books for children tend to retell only the more familiar, ‘important’ stories. Dinner with the King is a delightful exception. Children may not recognize Mephibosheth’s name, but they will enjoy this rendering of his story. And in it they will see something of who God is and how he shows us grace in our Lord Jesus Christ.”

—Starr Meade, Author, Training Hearts, Teaching Minds


Dinner with the King is available in the church resource center at a discounted price.

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