Have you ever watched someone eat? Once you get past some of their individual quirks like chewing too loud or eating while talking, you start to discover that you can learn a lot about a person by observing them in this environment. By looking at the kind of food someone purchases, you might get a glimpse into the financial status or lifestyle preferences. Or by observing who they invite to their table, you might discover the kind of people they value spending time with or truly love.
In A Meal with Jesus, Tim Chester spends a significant amount of time watching Jesus eat. As he observes Him around the table, he discovers that the way he ate shows us a great deal about Jesus’ priorities and about how we ought to live as His followers. Specifically, he argues that Jesus’ meals and conversations about meals show us how to carry out God’s mission, build community and learn to live in grace.
In the introduction, he makes the distinction between why Jesus came (to give his life as a ransom for sinners) (Mark 10:45) and how he came (eating and drinking). (Luke 7:34). In order to make his point, the author focuses on references in Luke’s gospel, arguing that it is “full of stories of Jesus eating with people.” (13)
As Jeremiah continues to work through the gospel of Luke, I challenge you to watch Jesus eat. Pay careful attention to the references about food and meals in Luke to see what you can learn about God’s character and kingdom.
Here is a list of meal references in Luke (taken from A Meal with Jesus, 13)
- Luke 5: Jesus eats with tax collectors and sinners at the home of Levi
- Luke 7: Jesus is anointed at the home of Simon the Pharisee during a meal
- Luke 9: Jesus feeds the five thousand
- Luke 10: Jesus eats in the home of Mary and Martha
- Luke 11: Jesus condemns the Pharisees and teachers of the law at a meal
- Luke 14: Jesus is at a meal when he urges people to invite the poor to their meals rather than their friends
- Luke 19: Jesus invites himself to dinner with Zacchaeus
- Luke 22: Jesus eats with the disciples at the Last Supper
- Luke 24: Jesus eats with two disciples in Emmaus and later with the disciples in Jerusalem after His resurrection
All of these accounts tell us a great deal about how we ought to live as Jesus’ disciples. If you want to be challenged to grow in your understanding of God’s expectations of you, spend some time working through each of the references and pay careful attention to them when they are explained during our Sunday gathering. Also, you may want to consider finding a copy of A Meal with Jesus to help you along the way.
May God continue to enrich us as we work our way through Luke and help us discover how to more effectively live in the kingdom by watching Jesus eat.