Soul Food: When a Meal with Jesus was more than Food | Week 1
Week 1- Day 1
“On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, Luke 9:11
When Isaiah prophesied about the coming Messiah, he wrote of a promised banquet that would be for all peoples. All. Yet, by the time Jesus, the Messiah, arrived, the phrase “all the peoples,” seemed to be lost on some, namely the Pharisees.
“The Pharisees knew God’s kingdom was going to be a party. Their objection is with the guest list.” Tim Chester, A Meal with Jesus, pg. 18
The Pharisees believed the banquet would be for all the Jews, not all the peoples! So, they expected the Messiah to spend time with those he came to eat with…the Jews, the religious, the ones who had it all together, THEM. They were surprised to find out that the Messiah, Jesus, came to eat with everyone.
I don’t know about you, but as part of the “everyone”, I am so thankful Jesus didn’t just come for those who had it all together! Jesus came to conquer death, and pay the penalty for our sins, so that we could sit and feast with the Lord. He came to redeem sinners, Pharisees included. All peoples.
Thank you, Jesus, for making a place at the table for all peoples, including me. Help me love others the way you love others and to make a place for them, the way you made a place for me. Amen.
For Further Reading
A Meal with Jesus, pg.17-24
Week 1-Day 2
“After this he went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax booth. And he said to him, “Follow me. Luke 5:27
“Jesus is handing out God’s party invitations. They read: ‘You’re invited to my party in the new creation. Come as you are.” Tim Chester, A Meal with Jesus, pg.23
There’s a common phrase used during the telling of a Christian’s testimony when the story reaches the turning point. The phrase is “They found Jesus.” It may be familiar to you. It signifies the point when the individual met the Savior of the universe, decided to follow Him, and their life was forever changed! It’s a profound statement. But perhaps a more accurate one would be “Jesus found them.”
Jesus pursues us, the lost, the broken, the sinner. Levi is a great example. He was in a profession, known for swindling people out of money. He was more than likely despised by many, and he definitely wasn’t searching for Jesus, in fact he was interrupted by Him! He was at work, minding his own business, when Jesus found him and said, “Follow me.” What happened next was surprising.
“And leaving everything, he rose and followed him.” Luke 5:28
Levi’s response was immediate obedience. When Jesus found him, Levi left everything to follow him.
Like Levi, Jesus comes to us wherever we are, accepts us as we are, and invites us to follow him. The question is, are we willing to leave everything and go?
Lord, thank you for seeking out sinners, like me. Help me to respond in obedience like Levi and follow you, wherever you want me to go. Amen.
For Further Reading
A Meal with Jesus, pg. 25-29
Week 1-Day 3
“And Levi made him a great feast in his house, and there was a large company of tax collectors and others reclining at table with them. Luke 5:29
Levi may have had the gift of evangelism. In the previous two verses he leaves everything to follow Jesus and immediately after we see him throwing a huge party and introducing all of his friends to Jesus! The party was full of “interesting” characters. Plenty of tax collectors, as they were Levi’s work buddies, and lots of “other” people, the type who hung out with tax collectors. It was not the crowd people were expecting Jesus to be hanging out with, but it was the exact crowd Jesus was looking for! The crowd willing to come. Tim Chester puts it this way:
“When Jesus eats with Levi, the message is clear: Jesus has come for losers, people on the margins, people who’ve made a mess of their lives, people who are ordinary. Jesus has come for you. The only people left out are those who think they don’t need God…” A Meal with Jesus, pg. 30
Jesus came to feast with sinners because sinners need a Savior. The picture of Levi’s party could be considered a snapshot of the early church. All are welcome to come meet Jesus. He’s not ashamed to be seen with anyone. Bring your friends. Come as you are.
Jesus, thank you for coming to feast with sinners and for being willing to be seen with the likes of me. Help me have the boldness to invite others to meet you and the humility to be seen with anyone. Amen
For Further Reading
A Meal with Jesus, pg. 29-30
Week 1- Day 4
“And Jesus answered them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 32 I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” Luke 5:31-32
Physicians are for the sick…haven’t we heard this recently?
Over the last two years doctors and hospitals changed some of their approach to healthcare. They put a hold on “non-essential” surgeries and discouraged people from coming to get tested if they in fact had no visible symptoms. Why? Because we’ve been living in a state of emergency. The few medical workers we have in the US have been focused on one mission, healing the sick and keeping them alive.
Jesus had a similar mission, to heal the sick and to bring life…in his case, life eternal! That’s why Jesus intentionally sought out sinners and instructed his disciples to do the same. He was asking them to join him on his mission.
Today the mission hasn’t changed. Jesus still seeks out those in need of a Savior and has invited us, his disciples, to join him by sharing the Gospel and ushering in God’s kingdom.
Take time to Read Luke 15. Jesus explains his mission further through the three parables found in this chapter.
“In a sense they expand his statement in Luke 5:31-32 that he has come for sinners, not for the righteous. He’s come for those who are lost, and when the lost are found, there’s always a party.” Tim Chester, A Meal with Jesus, pg. 31
All of heaven rejoices when the mission is fulfilled.
Jesus, thank you for rejoicing when even one lost sinner is found. Help me to have your heart for the lost, to seek them out, and to bring them to you, Savior. Amen.
For Further Reading
A Meal with Jesus, pg. 30-32
Week 1- Day 5
“And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.” Luke 15:2
Receiving sinners. If you’ve been reading all week, you’ve probably noticed a theme by now. Jesus consistently spent time with sinners and was criticized for doing so. His critics expected him to associate with people who were “perfect.” They knew the Messiah was to be the holy, perfect one, sent from God. So, if Jesus was the Messiah, wouldn’t spending time with “sinners” blemish his cleanliness? Make him unholy?
No! Who has the power to make God unclean? What Jesus’ critics didn’t understand was that Jesus was God. He had the power to make the sinner clean. Sin had no power over Him. The same is true today and that’s why,
“God graciously includes those the world excludes…” Tim Chester, A Meal with Jesus, pg. 32
Jesus led by example. He was never worried about what others thought of Him.
It’s easy for us to find ourselves in the place of Jesus’ critics. Even good, church-going Christians fall prey to the temptation of judging others. We may look on certain people and think they’re too far gone for faith in Jesus. Or perhaps we fear being associated with those not honoring God with their lives, but this should not deter us from welcoming everyone.
Sunday’s message was a great reminder that Following Jesus means feasting with “sinners.” Jesus knew others needed Him. Do you think there’s someone in your life who needs Jesus? Perhaps dinner with you may be the next step in them finding Him.
Heavenly Father, please reveal to me this week any judgement that exists within my heart. Show me who I can invite to dinner and show your love. Amen.
For Further Reading
A Meal with Jesus, pg. 32-35