Recap of Part 1
To put it another way, if you are interested in evangelism you can become an evangelist right now! You don't need a church-initiative, a program, or the permission of your church board - all you need is love for others, an understanding of the gospel, and a kitchen table.
Also we saw that gathering around our tables with others is a wonderful way to follow the example of Christ, who in Luke's Gospel is practically always going to or coming from a meal. Having previously considered the "Messiah's Meal Ministry," today move on to consider "What Sharing a Meal Means"
(If you missed part 1 and would like to read it in full please click here.)
what sharing a meal means
This perhaps illustrates why Jesus’ meals are so significant – they embody God’s generous grace even as they enact God’s mission. For example, just think of the folks who Jesus often ate with. Jesus ate with tax collectors and sinners. Tax collectors were traitors not only to their nation, but also traitors towards God for they were collaborators with the Gentile occupiers who had, according to Jewish belief “defiled” God’s holy land. Because of this the “kitchen table” companions of Jesus led the Pharisees and other opponents to conclude that Jesus couldn’t really be from God (see Luke 5:30, 7:39, & 15:1,2). This was, of course, a reasonable conclusion for Jesus’ opponents to reach – unless of course the grace of God is so great and so generous that all of our narrowly truncated ideas about it are exploded in a bomb-blast of divine mercy and kindness when we really see grace in action (see Luke 5:27-39). And this is exactly why meals are central to the mission of Jesus, they represent grace in action.... and they still do! What was true in 1st century Palestine is true in 21st century North-Central Ohio. When a Christian extends his or her hospitality to another he or she is putting generous grace into action!
what sharing a meal does - 5 specifics
While sitting on a beach in Florida my father once casually voiced his belief that bathing suits are the world’s “great equalizer.” And in terms of the powerful businessman who at that very moment was slowly strolling the beach in front of us in a speedo that accentuated his pear-shaped frame, my father was right. Off of the beach in a 3-piece suit, sitting behind a desk in a penthouse office the man would have commanded respect. In a speedo, on the other hand, he was just another participant in the human freak-show that paraded past us, the sand on his feet, the sun on his back, a large straw hat on his head.
Here’s another thought, greater even than speedos, kitchen tables are the greatest equalizer of all because of what happens when we eat together. We share food as friends. We sit at the same level around the table. We can talk about our shared need of God’s grace. To mix my metaphors, kitchen tables and meals together allow us to freely acknowledge that we are all part of the freak-show. This, very simply, is what sharing a meal does.
To be continued.....
-They Build Community
-They Exemplify God's Lavish Grace
- They Exemplify Our Neediness
-They Are A Great Gospel Metaphor
Thanks for reading!