Each month, you’ll hear from one of us on what we’re reading and a little bit about the book. Enjoy!
Eating is my favorite thing to do. Whether trying a new restaurant, watching a culinary hero on TV, flipping through a cookbook, or whipping up a staple recipe, I enjoy almost anything related to food.
A few years ago I read A Meal with Jesus by Tim Chester with my Bible study girls, and that little book gave my joy of eating a larger, more meaningful context. With Thanksgiving quickly approaching, I decided to read through it again. I saw the spiritual significance of meals with friends with fresh eyes. Mealtime has become synonymous with mission. Tim says:
We can make community and mission sound like specialized activities that belong to experts. … Or we focus on dynamic personalities who can hold an audience and lead a movement. … But the Son of Man came eating and drinking. It’s not complicated. True, it’s not always easy—it involves people invading your space or going to places where you don’t feel comfortable. But it’s not complicated. If you share a meal three or four times a week and you have a passion for Jesus, then you will be building up the Christian community and reaching out in mission.
Tim reminded me that Jesus uses food over and over again to teach and to develop relationships. From His first miracle of turning water into wine to the Last Supper, much of Jesus’ time on earth was spent around the table. Luke’s account in particular is full of Jesus eating with people. Robert Karris says, “In Luke’s Gospel Jesus is either going to a meal, at a meal, or coming from a meal.” Now that is my kinda Savior.
Before reading A Meal with Jesus, I hadn’t put together that after Jesus is resurrected one of the ways we know He is physically resurrected and not just a spirit is that He eats. He eats broiled fish! How specific is that? (Luke 24:41-13) And Jesus even cooks! He grills fish for Peter and the disciples (John 21:9-14).
This book also changed the way I think about communion. Your church may do communion every Sunday or once a quarter, but the truth is, every time we eat together in the presence of God, we can celebrate His generosity.
Communion should be a feast of friends shared with laughter, tears, prayers, and stories. We celebrate the community life that God gives us through the cross and in the Spirit. We can’t celebrate it with heads bowed and eyes closed, alone in our private thoughts and strangely solitary even as we’re surrounded by other people.
When we recapture the Lord’s Supper as a feast of friends, celebrated as a meal in the presence of the Spirit, then it will become something we can earnestly desire. It will become the high point of our life together as the people of God. In this sad and broken world, the Lord’s Supper is a moment of joy, because it’s a moment of the future.
This week as we prepare for Thanksgiving, planning our meals and inviting our neighbors, let’s also prepare our hearts. Let’s set our minds on Christ and truly invite others in. Let’s remember that the Son of Man came eating and drinking (Luke 7:34); in the most basic way He came to us in flesh, just like our families and friends do. And let’s remember these words from Tim:
Hospitality will lead to ‘collateral damage.’ Food will be spilled on your carpet. You’ll be left with clearing up. Your pantry may be decimated. But remember that God is welcoming you into His home through the blood of His Own Son. The hospitality of God embodied in the table fellowship of Jesus is a celebration and sign of His grace and generosity. And we’re to imitate that generosity.
Larissa Arnault Roach is the marketing strategist for LifeWay Women. She loves to eat meals with friends (particularly brunch) and considers Ecclesiastes 2:24-25 her life verse. She also loves to read and tells anyone who will listen about the Overdrive app—the easiest way she’s found to read books on her Kindle and listen to endless audiobooks all for free.