This week we come to the third stage of how to bless people. This is something most of us do at least three times a day. It is a basic requirement for human life. We share life as we Eat * together. When you share a meal with people, you spent time with them, barriers come down and you get to know each other better.
We read of an encounter of Jesus and two of his followers. Jesus spoke about himself as they walked together for about seven miles, but it was only after reaching their destination and sitting down to a meal that they recognised it was Jesus himself. Luke 24: 29-31 (CEV) They begged him, “Stay with us! It’s already late, and the sun is going down.” So Jesus went into the house to stay with them. After Jesus sat down to eat, he took some bread. He blessed it and broke it. Then he gave it to them. At once they knew who he was. In this instance, and when Jesus met with Zacchaeus (Luke 19: 6-7), Jesus accepted hospitality from others, at other times he multiplied the provision of others to feed five thousand and then four thousand people, showing that there is enough for everyone with lots to spare! (Mark 6: 44 & Mark 8: 9).
There are many more examples of Jesus turning a simple meal into a special occasion, showing us different sides to his character and provision for us, who he really is.
The first miracle of Jesus was at a wedding at Cana, he turned water into wine, rather a lot of wine in fact! John 2: 11 (CEV) This was Jesus’ first miracle, and he did it in the village of Cana in Galilee. There Jesus showed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him. Jesus is willing to celebrate with us in the good times.
Again we see Jesus meeting with his disciples and eating with them. On one special occasion we read that Jesus was celebrating the Passover feast, a Jewish tradition, and it was during this meal he used the normal everyday parts of the meal, bread and wine, to ask the disciples to remember him every time they ate. Luke 22: 14-20 (CEV) When the time came for Jesus and the apostles to eat, he said to them, “I have very much wanted to eat this Passover meal with you before I suffer. I tell you that I will not eat another Passover meal until it is finally eaten in God’s kingdom.” Jesus took a cup of wine in his hands and gave thanks to God. Then he told the apostles, “Take this wine and share it with each other. I tell you that I will not drink any more wine until God’s kingdom comes.” We still remember as we share communion together.
On another occasion recorded in Luke 21: 15-17 Simon Peter had been fishing all night and caught nothing! Jesus waited for him on the shore cooking breakfast over an open fire. Peter had just a few days previously denied he knew Jesus, but to show that he had forgiven Peter, he enabled him to catch a great number of fish. After eating with the disciples he spoke to Peter personally and restored their relationship.
We are also promised God’s presence with us during dark times and victory over our enemies In one of the most well known passages of the bible it says in Psalm 23: 4-6 (CEV) I may walk through valleys as dark as death, but I won’t be afraid. You are with me, and your shepherd’s rod makes me feel safe. You treat me to a feast, while my enemies watch. You honour me as your guest, and you fill my cup until it overflows. Your kindness and love will always be with me each day of my life, and I will live forever in your house, LORD.
Eating is part of life, we need to eat to live. May we, like Jesus, not be afraid to share our lives with others and also share the new life we have in Jesus. God himself has promised his presence, protection and provision for us.
So as we reach out to people we Begin with prayer.
We take time to Listen. We give them our time and attention .
As we Eat with them we demonstrate some of God’s character and provision.
Next week ……?
- Bless: 5 Everyday Ways to Love Your Neighbor and Change the World by Dave & Jon Ferguson