We Eat With Jesus Every Week
We Eat With Jesus Every Week
Whenever God wants to describe what life is like in his family, the word-picture he keeps coming back to is the idea of a feast:
- On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples, a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine, of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined. (Isaiah 25)
- Many will come from east and west and recline at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 8)
- The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son. (Matthew 22)
Thinking of God’s kingdom as a feast helps us understand many things about God and ourselves. That’s why we celebrate communion every week at Harbor, imitating the Passover feast Jesus shared with his disciples the night before he was crucified. When you take communion, you’re eating with Jesus and his family. Every week he wants you to experience three things:
Communion Shows God’s Majesty and Generosity.
A feast is different from a regular meal. A meal could be a protein bar that you shove down your face on your way to work. A meal could be a spam musubi that you swallow in two bites while you’re walking from one class to another. But a feast is so much more. We’re talking ten-course meals, and ice-sculptures, and chocolate fondue fountains!
When I do pastor training in Southeast Asia, we often end the week with a feast. We’ll go to a local buffet, and there will be table after table, piled three feet high with food. One table piled with roast duck, another roast beef, another with five different kinds of fish, another with shrimp, and another with crab. But guess what table my local friends will all run to first? The snails! There’s a huge table with 10 different kinds of snails, and all their eyes will be wide open. They’ll be in snail heaven!
A feast isn’t just a meal, it’s an experience. It displays the generosity and graciousness of the host. He’s spending all this money and going to all this effort, just to give you joy and contentment.
When God invites us into his kingdom, he wants us to experience his majesty and his generosity. That way, when we’re worried about something, and we’re tempted to lie a little bit, or cheat a little bit, or manipulate things a little bit, it’s much easier to resist that temptation if we’ve experienced God’s majesty and generosity in life. We know he’s got everything under control, and he’ll provide everything we need. That’s what communion reminds us of every week.
Communion Gives Us Strength.
When you’re at a feast, and there’s all this gorgeous food that looks like it could be on the cover of a magazine, you don’t just look at it and admire it and then go home. You get to eat it! It’s nourishment. It gives you strength.
That’s why we take communion every week. It’s a feast Jesus hosts for us every week to remind us of the way he’s given us strength through his death on the cross, and through the power of the Holy Spirit living inside of us.
Isaiah 40 says, “They who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”
I know a lot of weary people right now. But God wants to give us strength that’s far beyond our own. Communion reminds us of that.
Communion Connects Us to Each Other.
There’s something about food that brings people together. When our son played baseball, after every game there was a big feast with the whole team. We would hang out for hours together, just talking story. Then we would go to our other son’s flag football game. After the game, maybe somebody brought a Costco pizza and juice boxes for the team, but there was nothing else. So we would stand around and talk politely for 10 minutes, then everyone would dip out.
Food brings people together! And communion is a symbol of the way God has brought his people together as a family. And there’s a reason for that. Look at what Paul says in Colossians 3:
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
God wants to build compassionate hearts, and kindness, and humility, and patience in us. And the only way to do that is to bring us into deep relationships with other people. The only way we can show compassion is if we’re around other people who need compassion. The only way we can show patience is if we’re around other people who try our patience.
God gave us communion to bring glory to himself, strength to his people, and unity to his family.