Audio from Associate Pastor Josh Carpenter on Sunday morning April 15th, 2018.
What is the significance of sharing a meal together?
To look forward, let's first look back:
Many mealtime customs described in ancient Biblical writings are still practiced by those living in the lands the Bible describes. In a harsh environment like the Near East, hospitality was and is valued.
◦ Meals can affirm Kinship, friendship and good will. Genesis 31:33-54
◦ Meals can acknowledge one’s status. 1 Kings 17:8-16, 2 Kings 4:8-11
◦ Meals would be used to recognize a peaceful disposition and a commitment to non-aggression. Genesis 26:26-33
More meals in the Text:
◦ Abraham is blessed by Melchizedek Genesis 14:17-20
◦ Abraham and Sarah are visited by three significant guests. The birth of Isaac is announced over a meal. Genesis 18:1-15
◦ A yearly calendar of seven major feasts and a weekly day of rest commanded for a people who had spent 400 years in bondage. Leviticus 23
The importance of the family table in Jewish culture:
A quotation from the Jewish Talmud (a Rabbinic discussion of Biblical text) after the destruction of the Second Temple by Rome:
“And now that we no longer have the Temple in Jerusalem and its altar to bring about atonement for sin, a person’s family table gains reconciliation and forgiveness.”
Today's research on the physical, mental and emotional benefits of regular family meals:
◦ Better academic performance
◦ Higher self-esteem
◦ Greater sense of resilience
◦ Lower risk of substance abuse
◦ Lower risk of teen pregnancy
◦ Lower risk of depression
◦ Lower likelihood of developing eating disorders
◦ Lower rates of obesity
How can God use our Dinner Tables?
• Make your table a place of Remembering
Luke 22:14-19 NIV
14 When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. 15 And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.16 For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.”17 After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, “Take this and divide it among you. 18 For I tell you I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” 19 And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”
Why do we remember? So we can proclaim! We see what God has done in our past, to keep moving forward.
Exodus 12:24-26 NIV
24 “Obey these instructions as a lasting ordinance for you and your descendants. 25 When you enter the land that the Lord will give you as he promised, observe this ceremony. 26 And when your children ask you, ‘What does this ceremony mean to you?’
What would children do around the table at Passover? They would ask: "Why do we celebrate?". A time to recall what God has done!
A professor and neuroscientist at Vassar University in NY claims “Taste memories tend to be the strongest of associative memories that you can make,”
When our 20-somethings recall a taste/smell from their childhood, will they remember the Word of God being spoken at the table?
• Make your table a place of Mending
An impersonal text or social media message can't repair our broken relationships.
Psalm 23:5 NIV
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
◦ Arabic meeting of reconciliation: Sulha A meal is shared between two parties, they would break bread and agree that the offense is finished.
John 21:7-9 NIV
7 Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water. 8 The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards. 9 When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread.
◦ Greek word: anthrakia (a fire of coals)
Only used twice in scripture: John 21 and John 18. Peter stands beside a fire of coals after his first denial of Jesus. We remember the day we were restored from our sins, will we use our table to extend the same to others?
• Make your table a place of Invitation
Matthew 9:10-11 NIV
10 While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples. 11 When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
Jesus is often smeared and criticized for his eating company. He was called a drunkard and a glutton.
The motives of his accusers attempting to compare his life with an unruly son: Deuteronomy 21:18-21. When the elitists saw a table full of people without hope, Jesus saw a table full of those on the outside who needed to be brought in.
See his interaction when invited to a Pharisee's home to eat: Luke 14:1-14
• We have a place setting at God’s Table
Exodus 24:4-11 NIV
4 Moses then wrote down everything the Lord had said.He got up early the next morning and built an altar at the foot of the mountain and set up twelve stone pillars representing the twelve tribes of Israel. 5 Then he sent young Israelite men, and they offered burnt offerings and sacrificed young bulls as fellowship offerings to the Lord. 6 Moses took half of the blood and put it in bowls, and the other half he splashed against the altar. 7 Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it to the people. They responded, “We will do everything the Lord has said; we will obey.” 8 Moses then took the blood, sprinkled it on the people and said, “This is the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words.” 9 Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and the seventy elders of Israel went up 10 and saw the God of Israel. Under his feet was something like a pavement made of lapis lazuli, as bright blue as the sky. 11 But God did not raise his hand against these leaders of the Israelites; they saw God, and they ate and drank.
How can we identify with this text?
Jesus has established a new covenant with his blood. His blood has been sprinkled on us for the forgiveness of our sins. We now have a place at the meal!
Revelation 19:9 NIV
9 Then the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!” And he added, “These are the true words of God.”
A place at God's table has been prepared for us. Have we prepared a place at our table for others?
Start a new nightly routine after dinner! Consider this family style devotional from Bible.com and the YouVersion Bible app: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/428-once-a-day-bible-family