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Soul Food: When a Meal with Jesus was more than Food | Week 3

Week 3- Day 1

“We have no more than five loaves and two fish—unless perhaps we go and buy food for all these people.” (For there were about 5,000 men.) And He said to His disciples, “Have them sit down to eat in groups of about fifty each. 15 And they did so, and had them all sit down.” Luke 9:13-15

 “Although our English translations say ‘sit’ in verse 15, the word could be translated ‘reclined’; Luke says the crowd reclined on the grass just as they would at a meal. This is more than a picnic; this is a banquet with Jesus as the host.” Tim Chester, A Meal with Jesus, p. 57

Before this passage, we learn that Jesus and his disciples had been hard at work doing ministry, healing sick, teaching, and traveling to various towns. Now they’re looking to rest, but crowds of people sought them out. Despite being tired, we read in Luke 9:10 that Jesus welcomed the crowds. And a few verses later we see an impromptu dinner party taking place!

Being fully God, Jesus is never too tired to welcome those who seek him. In this story the disciples were fatigued and unprepared, but they had Jesus. This reminds me of a lesson Jesus would share later, “Come to me all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.” Have you ever thought about the fact that the disciples were among the 5,000 fed that day? Jesus’ welcome and rest extends to all.

Pray

God, thank you that you never get tired and that you offer us rest and energy in our weakness. Help me to remember to look to you in my weakness and to welcome others in your name.  Amen.

 For Further Reading

Matthew 11:25-30

A Meal with Jesus, pg. 55-59

 

Week 3- Day 2

“They all ate and were [completely] satisfied; and the broken pieces which they had left over were [abundant and were] picked up—twelve baskets full. Luke 9:17

 A basket for each disciple! This has always been striking to me. The disciples start off this story telling Jesus there is not enough food to go around and by the end they are each holding an entire basket of leftovers! What a lesson!? Not only did 5,000 + people eat, but did you notice the emphasis in this passage on the fact that they were completely satisfied?

When it comes to hunger, we know the satisfaction will not last. The crowd will get hungry again. Yet this miracle is evidence that Jesus is able to feed them again. Tim Chester puts it like this:

“The twelve baskets of leftovers are a sign that this feast will continue.” A Meal with Jesus, p.61

And the next feast will be more than just food. It’s no coincidence that Jesus would later call himself the Bread of Life. The next feast would be a celebration of life eternal and salvation! Because more than food, Jesus has the power to fully satisfy everyone who comes to him. He does not just fulfill our basic needs, but our need for a Savior.

Pray

Lord, thank you for giving us above and beyond what we need. Thank you for sending us Jesus as the Bread of Life. Help us to look to you for our satisfaction in life. Only you can fulfill our every need.  Amen.

 For Further Reading

John 6:35; Luke 6:20-21

A Meal with Jesus, pg. 60-61

 

Week 3- Day 3

Then He took the five loaves and the two fish, and He looked up to heaven [and gave thanks] and blessed them and broke them and kept giving them to the disciples to set before the crowd”. Luke 9:16

“I think Luke tells the story of feeding the five thousand to bring out the responsibility of the disciples and their inability. Tim Chester, A Meal with Jesus, p.62

Feeding five thousand people with a few loaves of bread and a couple of fish seems like an impossible task. So does the idea of twelve men taking the message of the gospel to the ends of the earth! But Jesus showed the disciples that the impossible is possible with God.

There was no way that the disciples were going to feed a large crowd with only a few resources, but when the resources they had were placed in the hands of Jesus, a miracle took place.

It’s the same for us today! We may feel ill-equipped for the calling Jesus has placed on our lives. The calling might be large, to go on a mission trip, write a book, or speak to a large crowd. Or perhaps it’s sharing the Gospel with our neighbors, our family, our own children. Either way, it may feel daunting. But just like the disciples learned in this story, if we are willing to give God the few resources we have, He can do anything.

Pray

Jesus, take the few talents and resources I have, they aren’t much, but they are yours. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your miracles! Help me answer your call. Give me faith and courage. Amen.

 For Further Reading

Luke 9:7-20; 2 Corinthians 9:6

A Meal with Jesus, pg. 61-64

 

Week 3- Day 4

“And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” Luke 22:19

Does this sound familiar?

 “Taking, thanking, breaking, giving – the same words in the same order. Luke is making a connection. Jesus is the Messiah who provides for God’s people and hosts God’s great banquet” Tim Chester, A Meal with Jesus, p. 31

Jesus miraculously provided in Luke 9:16. Yet in Luke 22, Jesus boldly foreshadows a miracle of provision that was yet to come. Tim Chester points out that in the same way Jesus provided for the five thousand, Jesus was about to provide at God’s great banquet by dying for His people. His body would soon be broken, and he would become our Bread of Life.

This past weekend we celebrated Communion as a church family. But in light of this week’s devotion, the words spoken on Sunday strike differently. Did we understand the weight of this statement on Sunday? Take and eat this is my body, broken for you. Do this in remembrance of me. Or were we going through the motions, honoring tradition? Did we remember the miracle of Jesus? God’s ultimate provision to satisfy death once and for all.

Pray

God, thank you for providing Jesus to be the ultimate satisfaction of death’s hunger. Thank you for reminding us through a simple meal to recount the miracle.  Amen.

 For Further Reading

Luke 9:16, 22:14-23

A Meal with Jesus, pg. 64-65

 

Week 3- Day 5

“And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food.” Genesis 2:8-9

I love food and I’m not picky, but I do know the difference between a quality meal and a cheap one! When you enjoy a wholesome, good meal, you walk away feeling great. Satisfied. And then there’s something about that one food…you know the one, where the first bite feels magical and makes you audibly sigh, Mmmm! For me it’s a quality piece of chocolate.

Food was the first gift that God gave us, to both sustain us and for us to enjoy. As Tim Chester puts it:

“…food isn’t just fuel…food is to be received as a gift from God. Food is a central ingredient in our experience of God’s goodness. It’s not merely an illustration…” A Meal with Jesus, pg. 67

When we experience the gift of our favorite food, it should remind us that God doesn’t just provide for our basic needs but gives us so much more. In His goodness He created food to be enjoyable and meals to memorable. And He’s blessed us abundantly with the creative variety of options we have to enjoy.

So next time you bite into a rich brownie or a juicy steak, remember God’s love for you. You’re experiencing a taste of heaven.

 Pray

Heavenly Father, thank you for the gift of good food. Help me to remember your goodness, the next time I experience a great meal. Amen.

For Further Reading

John 15

A Meal with Jesus, pg. 65-73

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