Food is an extremely important part of the Christian life and is an important theme in the Bible. Food is a source of tremendous blessings, especially to those who know about it and are able to enjoy it. I am extremely thankful to have been born in the U.S. at the end of the 20th century, able to enjoy refrigeration, appliances, and food from all over the world shipped a few blocks from my house. Lets look at the importance of food in the Bible with a little humor:The Old Testament was filled with feasts
· They had at least one feast every month
· Three of those feasts lasted at least a week
· God set up the feast system
· God commanded that the feasts be filled with joy
· That surely meant Jesus wasn't skinny, since no one that you know of who was skinny was ever accused of being a glutton. Jesus ate fish, lamb, drank wine, and even though He knew He wouldn't live to be an old man, I'm sure He considered this eating healthy. Jesus was definitely not a vegetarian and He even ate carbs (lots of bread!) so I guess He wasn't on any diets.
· Most of the gospel of John was written around a table.
· The family of Jesus (in Mark chapter 3) thought he had gone crazy because he was not eating his lunch.
Lets not forget the famous Last Supper and command to "break bread" and drink wine in Holy Communion! It is recorded in four places in the Bible but Matthew starts out, "Now on the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying to Him, "Where do You want us to prepare for You to eat the Passover?" (Matthew 26:17). So it's the first day of "the Feast of Unleavened Bread" (we should have feasts named after food, I want a feast of steak!) and the disciples are asking Jesus where He wants to eat. Jesus tells the disciples to go into the city, look for a guy carrying a jar of water and follow him to the house he enters, then ask the owner of the house (we don't know who it was) where the guest room is. Jesus said it would be a large upper room, all furnished. (Mark 14:13-15; Luke 22:10-12) They find everything and prepare the supper (Mark 14:16; Luke 22:13). It is interesting that Mark and Luke then tell us that Jesus and His apostles "reclined at the table" (Mark 14:18; Luke 22:14). Originally the Passover meal was eaten standing (Exodus 12:11) but in Jesus' time it was customary to eat it while reclining. Then the Bible says, "Now as they were eating, He said, "Assuredly, I say to you, one of you will betray Me" (Matthew 26:21). Can you say "awkward?!" They all start saying "not me!" Then Jesus spills the proverbial beans and states, "It is one of the Twelve," he replied, "one who dips bread into the bowl with me. The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born" (Mark 14:20-21 NIV). Ouch! Surely Jesus had Psalm 41:9 in mind which prophetically states, "Even my close friend, someone I trusted, one who shared my bread, has turned against me" (Psalm 41:9 NIV). Matthew reveals what happened next. "Then Judas, who was betraying Him, answered and said, "Rabbi, is it I?" He said to him, "You have said it" (Matthew 26:25 NKJV). I can't imagine the tension in the room right about then. Regardless, Jesus continues to take some bread, gives thanks and breaks it and tells everyone to eat it, that it is symbolic of His body. "Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father's kingdom." And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives" (Matthew 26:27-30 NKJV). What a remarkable event!Even Jesus got grumpy when He was hungry
Jesus became angry only a few times. One time was when he was hungry and a fig tree, though well leaved, did not yield any fruit. It made him angry enough to kill the tree!
"The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. Then he said to the tree, "May no one ever eat fruit from you again." And his disciples heard him say it" (Mark 11:12-14).After the Resurrection, every time you see Jesus, what is he doing? Eating!
· Right after he appeared to the scared Apostles hidden in a room and told them not to fear, he asked them if they had anything to eat. Luke 24:41 And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, "Do you have anything here to eat?" Luke 24:42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish, Luke 24:43 and he took it and ate it in their presence.
· The two men on the road to Emmaus did not even recognize Jesus until He sat down to eat. Then they said, "Now we know you."
· The Early Church had only a few constant habits--items that would readily identify them. Eating together was one of them:
"So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart" (Acts 2:46).
· How is Heaven going to begin? A feast - the Marriage Supper of the Lamb (Revelation 19:9).
· Jesus Himself said, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me " (Revelation 3:20)
God clearly recognized that food would be important to us, and it was to Jesus. However, Jesus also recognized that our desire and pleasure for food needs to be tamed. Jesus regularly fasted, even up to 40 days, and we should fast when able and led to by the Holy Spirit. Jesus didn't say "if you fast," He said "when you fast" (Matthew 6:17). There are a lot of reasons to fast and more on this topic can be found by clicking here.
© Todd Tyszka
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