Imagine that God came to earth and took on human form. Describe what you think this God would look like and what sort of behaviour would you expect from this holy God-in-the-flesh person? How did you go? Did you come up with fairly poor, growing up in obscurity, unattractive and unremarkable? Would you think the God-man would be described as being a “drunkard and glutton”?
Christians believe that the historical person of Jesus of Nazareth was more than a man; much more, in fact. Jesus spoke of himself as God’s Son and being one with God. Whatever you believe, just think of this for a moment: God entered our world and looked and acted just like us in so many ways, but was so unique:
He was the meekest and lowliest of all the sons of men, yet he spoke of coming on the clouds of heaven with the glory of God. He was so austere that evil spirits and demons cried out in terror at his coming, yet so gentle and winsome and approachable that the children loved to play with him, and the little ones nestled in his arms. His presence at the innocent joy of a village wedding was like the presence of sunshine…There is nothing in history like the union of contrasts which confronts us in the gospels…Jesus is the mystery of divine personality. (James Stewart)
Jesus beautifully integrated the obedience to God and the grace of God into everyday living, and this is seen so clearly when he is at a table sharing meals with others:
If you take the mountains and meals out of the Bible, it is a very short book. In a world of competing church models and strategies … Jesus employed one practice over all others: sharing a meal with people.… grace, mission and community are never enacted best through programmes and propaganda, but rather through the equality and acceptance experienced at the common table. May our lives never be too busy to live this out. (Mike Breen)
What would it mean for those who follow Jesus to move beyond a Sunday faith or a compartmentalised spirituality that sees little connection with our faith and our daily lives? What if every meal was sacred and a sign of God’s grace and presence in our lives? And who do we eat with and not eat with and why?
Our new teaching series is called “Love Pray Eat” and we will learn from Jesus how to live for him and like him in our everyday lives — especially around the table. We will graze though the gospel of Luke stopping to join Jesus at the table. Get ready now and start reading through Luke and take notice how many references to food and how many times Jesus is at the table with others. You won’t be surprised to hear his critics call him a “glutton and a drunkard”.
Feb 12: God Moves into the Neighbourhood (Lk 4:14-30)
Feb 19: The Healing and Liberating Message of Jesus (4:31-44)
Feb 26: When Jesus Gatecrashes Your Party (5:27-38)
March 5: The Lost and Lonely Find Love (7:36-50)
March 12: Jesus Satisfies our Needs (9:10-20)
March 19: Opening up our Homes to Jesus (10:38-42)
March 26: Jesus Insults Religious People (on purpose!) (11:37-54)
April 2: Jesus Dines with the Rich and Infamous (19:1-10)
April 9: Jesus is King! (Lk 19:28-44)
April 16: Welcoming Jesus in Every Meal (24:13-35)