I LOVE food
Obsessed – skinny.
There was a time a few years ago that I became borderline obsessed with losing weight and being skinny. And so I was never eating the foods that I wanted, but I was always eating tuna, and broccoli, and oatmeal.
Well one day, my wife told me that when I don’t eat good food, I’m just not as happy as a person. So since then, I still try to be healthy, but I love good food.
Jordan – married – planning meals
When Jordan became a part of the Eiffert family, one thing we laughed at together was that she observed that when we were eating, we were, while we eating, planning out our next meal. And that is SO true.
The vast majority of the quality time I have with my friends and family is while we’re eating together.
Like if you have a friend who wants to hang out, you’re probably like ‘Yeah totally. What are we eating?’
There’s a huge theme in the Bible about the significance of who you eat with.
And especially when it comes to Jesus.
Who’s always eating with the wrong people, according to religious people.
This of course is the primary scandal of the ministry of Jesus.
It’s odd, that for all the things he did that we find offensive and shocking. More than anything he taught, more than any miracle, it was this “That guy will eat with anybody.”
He will share a table with ANYBODY.
Think of Zacchaeus, the ‘wee little man’, Jesus saught him out and what’s the first thing he did with him? Hey man, get out of that tree and I can tell you what a horrible sinner you are!!! No, get down here, I must dine at your house tonight.
B/C especially in ancient jewish culture, to share a meal with them is to validate them.
To sit eyeball to eyeball, and eat with someone, is a radical act of hospitality.
The Table of Jesus is where Jesus turns his enemies into his friends.
Food is not just a big deal here in america.
It’s fascinating to study ancient feasts.
In the ancient near east there was a thing called a victory banquet.
The idea: When you win a great military battle, you’d return home and have a great feast.
And all the generals and commanders would come in and they would sits by how their ranked. So the highest ranking would sit closest to the head of the table.
Ancient mythology — feasts.
And then in ancient mythology there’s all this talk about feasts too.
So if you’re familiar with Beowulf, which is an epic poem.
When Beowulf defeats the monster, they throw him a great feast.
There’s an old Babylonian folk tale “Enuma Elish” where the God “Marduk” kills his own mother and creates Babylon with the remains.
And then there’s this great feast where all the Gods of war come, and they’re drinking beer, and feasting.
Caninite culture :
And then in caninite culture you have these stories of Baal defeats Yam, and then throws a big feast.
All throughout ancient culture there’s this connection with defeating enemies and having a feast.
We see it in the Bible as well:
In Exodus – After God wins the epic battle against Phaeroe, the people of God celebrate that with a passover meal.
The passover meal becomes a celebration of how God triumphed over Egypt.
In Ezekiel – When God defeats Gog who is this mighty king, there’s a great feast.
But then there’s these places in Isaiah that anticipate a very different kind of feast.
On this mountain the LORD Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine— the best of meats and the finest of wines. (Isaiah 25:6)
On this mountain he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations; (Isaiah 25:7)
he will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove his people’s disgrace from all the earth. The LORD has spoken. (Isaiah 25:8)
So I love this idea that God offers a feast for all people.
The best wine, the best food.
“Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.
Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare.
Give ear and come to me; listen, that you may live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David.
So there’s this culture where feasts are reserved for those who win great battles.
But then with God’s people, they’re also looking forward to a day where there’s a great feast for ‘all people’.
Book of revelation
Even in the book of revelation, part of the climax of the book, is that you’ve got this wedding feast of the lamb.
So there’s so much in the Bible about feasts.
Jesus himself tells a story about a great feast. And this feast is going to be very different from all the other ancient feast stories where people come in after a war, and sit according to rank.
When one of those at the table with him heard this, he said to Jesus, “Blessed is the one who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God.” (Luke 14:15)
Jesus replied: “A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. (Luke 14:16)
At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ (Luke 14:17)
“But they all alike began to make excuses. (Luke 14:18a)
So here we have great feast, and we have people making excuses for why they can’t come.
Deuteronomy Just a quick awesome detail, in the book of Deuteronomy, when it’s time to go to war, there’s a few excuses that would be acceptable to excuse someone from having to go to war. Here’s what’s fascinating, here in Luke 14, when people start making excuses about why they can’t come, they’re all taken from the list in Deuteronomy.
The first said, ‘I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.’ (Luke 14:18b)
“Another said, ‘I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.’ (Luke 14:19)
“Still another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’ (Luke 14:20)
“The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.’ (Luke 14:21)
“ ‘Sir,’ the servant said, ‘what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.’ (Luke 14:22)
“Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full. (Luke 14:23)
I tell you, not one of those who were invited will get a taste of my banquet.’ ” (Luke 14:24)
So immediately we can see that this is a very different kind of feast.
See normally in a great feast, what happens in people sit around toasting and drinking and celebrating their great victories in battle.
But now comes this different kind of feast where the guests have nothing to brag about, nothing to be proud of, nothing to toast to.
There’s no ‘rank’ that we could use to decide who gets to sit closest to the head of the table. Nobody has any battle stories to brag about.
But the owner says “Forget the people I invited, just bring in anybody you can find, the poor, the crippled, the lame. Invite everybody.”
This is the kind of feast that Isaiah was talking about.
And then by the time you get to the famous ‘Last Supper’
You see this invitation to eat with Jesus not just for the disciples that would remain faithful to Jesus, whoever that would have been, but it was also put out for Peter, who would leave this supper and deny Jesus. It was also put out for Judas, who would go out a betray Jesus unto death.
But hear me: Everyone who comes in unworthy. Everyone. And the thing that makes this table different than any other table is that everyone is invited.
It makes me think of the communion invitation that we recite all the time here. THIS is the table, not of the church, but of the Lord.
Where EVERYBODY is invited to come.
I’m convinced that this parable is acted out every time we get together and eat and drink together.
That’s certainly true of communion at the end of our services, but it’s also true with a meal.
And instead of the message being ‘only the people who are good and holy and stuff get to eat at the table’, the message is ‘all are welcome’.
And instead of us making him dirty, he makes us clean.
I want you to hear my heart here: There’s nobody who’s not invited to the table.
There’s nobody who’s unwelcome.
The only thing that would keep you away if your own excuse.
Meanwhile, the power of the gospel is found in a God who sees you as you really are, and loves you.
Even when you feel ‘I shouldn’t be here.’ Jesus is looking you square in the eye and saying ‘Come & Eat’.
And so, if you’re able to stick around, we’re gonna go eat dinner together.
It’s gonna be much of a ‘feast’. I mean we have burgers and chicken and chips on paper plates.
But I hope that you can in a way connect that to something that’s beautiful about Jesus and even beautiful about church. That people you would normally NEVER eat with (the other people in this room), we’re somehow united together with in Jesus.
And how in every other place in the world, it’s about rank, and status, but eating together just as fellow human beings who accept each other, imperfections and all.