On the last night before his execution, Jesus gathered at the table with some of his best friends for one last meal.
During the meal, He pointed back to two of His early miracles.
He took the bread, broke it, and gave it to them. Just like the time He fed thousands with two fish and five small loaves of bread. Once He had done His work, there was enough for everyone and plenty left over.
Later, He took the cup and told them that the wine was the new covenant of His blood. Wine had a special significance in Jesus’ ministry because His very first miracle was turning water into wine. He was at a wedding and they had run out of wine. This oversight would bring shame to the bride and groom and their families. Jesus’ miracle not only kept the party going, His wine was better, and stronger, than the original wine.
Jesus is the bread of life. There’s enough for all of us and then some.
Jesus offers us the new wine. He frees us from shame, brings joy to our hearts, and invites to lose our inhibitions and dance with Him through the wedding party of life.
There’s something beautiful about sharing bread and wine with dear friends. Pulling the warm loaf from the oven as the aroma of bread fills the house; pouring good red wine into each raised glass; toasting to our common love and appreciation for one another; sharing stories of those moments we all hold dear; laughing together; crying together; comforting one another; encouraging those who are low; reminding one another of who we are, and how much we are treasured. These are the basic elements of friendship, and community, and family.
This is what Jesus had in mind when he raised the cup and broke the bread.
His body, like the loaf, was broken for us. Yet, we are now the Body of Christ, and when we come together, like torn pieces of bread, we form one whole loaf that declares “Here I am in the midst of you.”
We celebrate His love. We experience it, and we share it, and we sense it begin to swell and to grow and to fill the entire room – like the aroma of warm bread from the oven fills the house with joy.
Being in the presence of Christ, and being in the presence of one another, are the very same things. We recognize Christ in the faces of our friends and family, and they help us to recognize Christ in us, the hope of glory.It’s not an accident that all of this takes place around a meal. God intends for us to love one another. This is how we demonstrate our love for God. If we say we love God and we fail to love one another, we’re missing the entire point.
When everyone has a seat at the table, and everyone has enough to eat, and when everyone is welcome and fed and loved, this is when we know that God is in our midst.
This starts small, but it’s not intended to stay that way. The table is meant to grow larger. The seats are meant to be added as we go.
There’s room at the table for everyone, even the people we tend to want to exclude. In fact, those are exactly the people that need to be there, and given the seat of honor, nearest our gracious and adoring host.
This invitation is for everyone. Yes, that means it’s for you, but it’s not only for you.
There are many rooms in the Father’s house, and the table is already prepared in the presence of our enemies. Let’s sit down and enjoy the meal together as Jesus intended.
Keith Giles is a former pastor who left the pulpit 11 years ago to start a church that gives away 100% of the offering to the poor in their community.
His new book “Jesus Unbound: Liberating the Word of God from the Bible”, is available now on Amazon and features a Foreword by author Brian Zahnd.
He is also the author of the Amazon best-seller, “Jesus Untangled: Crucifying Our Politics To Pledge Allegiance To The Lamb”.
Keith also co-hosts the Heretic Happy Hour Podcast on iTunes and Podbean. He and his wife live in Orange, CA with their two sons.
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