At the Table

feast

It has been said that twenty five percent of everything that happens in the Gospels of Jesus Christ happens around a table. I’ve also heard it said that for Christians church is like a banquet around a table. We might look at our church as a temple, but that would be wrong. At least I hope it’s wrong. The temple was exclusive. It had many different layers.
First of all, everyone who entered had to be ceremonially “clean.” So no leper, no one who had touched a dead body, no woman who was on her fun time was allowed in. Then there was a first layer inside the temple, where Gentiles might be allowed in. But past that first layer, no more Gentiles. Maybe a little farther, no ore slaves. Then go a little farther in, women are not allowed. Women are not as holy as men. A little farther in, only certain priests are not allowed. Finally, all the way in, you would get to the holy-of-holies, and only one high priest each year would be allowed in to commune with God, once a year.
There were lots of rules, lots of systems that were used to keep people out. As a matter of fact, what made the temple “holy” were all the things which were not allowed. Exclusive, not inclusive. If you weren’t the right ethnicity, the right tribe, the right sex, the right family line, you were only going to be allowed so far in.

day-of-the-lord
The prophet Isaiah saw that this would not stand forever. He saw a time coming when all would be welcome at the table of the Lord. On this mountain the Lord Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine— the best of meats and the finest of wines. On this mountain he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations; he will swallow up death forever. On this mountain (Mt Zion, Jerusalem), the Lord will prepare a feast for ALL people. It will be inclusive, not exclusive. Isaiah is not beholden to ethnicity, to social class, to status. And did you miss this – On this mountain he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations; he will swallow up death forever. Wow. Seven hundred years before Christ Isaiah is telling us that the burial shroud will be removed and death will be defeated, all in the shadow of Mt Zion, accompanied by the feast for ALL peoples. The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove his peopleʼs disgrace from all the earth. The Lord has spoken. In that day they will say, “Surely this is our God; we trusted in him, and he saved us. This is the Lord, we trusted in him; let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation.” That’s some good stuff right there!! So on the mountain, at the table prepared by the Lord almighty, the shroud is coming off, death will be defeated, all the tears will be wiped away, and we will rejoice in the Lord and be glad in His salvation.
So, seven hundred years later, at the end of a longer question about how many will be saved (aren’t we still trying to answer that one?), Jesus tells us this – “And people will come from east and west, and from north and south, and recline at table in the kingdom of God. And behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.” People will come. They will come from the north, south, east and west. So many will come y’all will be trying to keep ’em out! People will come, and recline at table in the kingdom of God.

break-bread

“Recline at table” – this is how they ate. We eat sitting upright in a chair, during Jesus time you reclined at the table, propped up in your left elbow, eating with your right hand. People will come from all around to recline at the table, to join the feast, in the Kingdom of God. And behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last. And guess what? The question asked was ….“Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?”…‭‭Luke‬ ‭13:23‬ ‭NIV‬‬. Jesus, quite plainly, answers by saying “Boy, are you going to be surprised. A lot of those you thought weren’t coming…are. And many you thought were coming…aren’t.” We think we know who’s being invited to the feast, but we don’t. But, we do know that there is a feast.

bloof-shed-for-you
And when the hour came, he reclined at table, and the apostles with him. And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, “Take this, and divide it among yourselves. For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” Stop. Read that again. Jesus desired to eat this Passover meal with His disciples before He suffered. But He will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the Kingdom of God. Jesus at the last supper, instituting for us the Lords supper. Starting the feast which we are still enjoying and eating from today. 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.” And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.” The breaking of the bread, the shedding of the blood. The table around which our Christian lives are, or at least should be, centered. The feast which never ends. And where is this happening? In Jerusalem, on Mt Zion. Just as Isaiah told us seven hundred years prior. But – Jesus said I tell you I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God. So, does that mean He’s been on a two thousand year fast?

kingdom-of-heaven
Then the disciple Jesus loved said to Peter, “It’s the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his tunic (for he had stripped for work), jumped into the water, and headed to shore. The others stayed with the boat and pulled the loaded net to the shore, for they were only about a hundred yards from shore. When they got there, they found breakfast waiting for them—fish cooking over a charcoal fire, and some bread. “Bring some of the fish you’ve just caught,” Jesus said. So Simon Peter went aboard and dragged the net to the shore. There were 153 large fish, and yet the net hadn’t torn. “Now come and have some breakfast!” Jesus said. None of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. Then Jesus served them the bread and the fish. This was the third time Jesus had appeared to his disciples since he had been raised from the dead.” No, He has not been on a two thousand year fast. He was on a three day fast. Just as Isaiah predicted, the shroud is lifted, death has been defeated, and a feast had been prepared for ALL people by the Lord almighty.  The Day of the Lord is here, the Kingdom of God is announced.   He saved us, He is our God, we trust in Him. This is the Lord, we trusted in him; let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation. Who is welcome at His table? Everyone!! And who are we eating with when we come to the feast He began two thousand years ago. We are eating with God Himself. And you just can’t get any more holy than that.
Let us come to His table and break bread.

“On this mountain the Lord Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine— the best of meats and the finest of wines. On this mountain he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations; he will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove his peopleʼs disgrace from all the earth. The Lord has spoken. In that day they will say, “Surely this is our God; we trusted in him, and he saved us. This is the Lord, we trusted in him; let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation.””

‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭25:6-9‬ ‭NIV‬‬

http://bible.com/111/isa.25.6-9.niv

“And people will come from east and west, and from north and south, and recline at table in the kingdom of God. And behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.””

‭‭Luke‬ ‭13:29-30‬ ‭ESV‬‬

http://bible.com/59/luk.13.29-30.esv
“And when the hour came, he reclined at table, and the apostles with him. And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, “Take this, and divide it among yourselves. For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” 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.” And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.”

‭‭Luke‬ ‭22:14-20‬ ‭ESV‬‬

http://bible.com/59/luk.22.14-20.esv

“Later, Jesus appeared again to the disciples beside the Sea of Galilee. This is how it happened. Several of the disciples were there—Simon Peter, Thomas (nicknamed the Twin), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples. Simon Peter said, “I’m going fishing.” “We’ll come, too,” they all said. So they went out in the boat, but they caught nothing all night. At dawn Jesus was standing on the beach, but the disciples couldn’t see who he was. He called out, “Fellows, have you caught any fish?” “No,” they replied. Then he said, “Throw out your net on the right-hand side of the boat, and you’ll get some!” So they did, and they couldn’t haul in the net because there were so many fish in it. Then the disciple Jesus loved said to Peter, “It’s the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his tunic (for he had stripped for work), jumped into the water, and headed to shore. The others stayed with the boat and pulled the loaded net to the shore, for they were only about a hundred yards from shore. When they got there, they found breakfast waiting for them—fish cooking over a charcoal fire, and some bread. “Bring some of the fish you’ve just caught,” Jesus said. So Simon Peter went aboard and dragged the net to the shore. There were 153 large fish, and yet the net hadn’t torn. “Now come and have some breakfast!” Jesus said. None of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. Then Jesus served them the bread and the fish. This was the third time Jesus had appeared to his disciples since he had been raised from the dead.”

‭‭John‬ ‭21:1-14‬ ‭NLT‬‬

http://bible.com/116/jhn.21.1-14.nlt
John Lewis

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