It is just about time to gather at the table.
You probably already did so for Thanksgiving, and now comes an even greater round of dinner parties and get-togethers. There is something special about sharing a meal as a means of celebration. It isn’t a cultural phenomenon unique to the West, but shows up in every civilization. From the humble office party, to the Life Group Christmas Dinner, the Dynamic Ministry Progressive dinner, to the family Christmas meal, there are plenty of opportunities to gather round the table. It is a human tradition.
You gather around a table with friends, with those you care about. We don’t invite our enemies to our table, unless, of course, we hope to make peace with them. We eat together, tell stories, laugh, and learn. Romance begins at the dinner table, like when a man takes a woman on a date. We celebrate a new marriage with a meal following the wedding. We also find comfort eating together after a funeral. Families grow closer during those 15-30 minutes around the table each evening than in perhaps any other daily activity.
One of the more interesting moments captured in the gospel is the meal in the upper room that Jesus shares with his disciples. Luke 22: 14-18 says:
This was Jesus’s last meal before his death on the cross, so he shared it with his closest friends (Jn. 15:15). It was Passover, a feast instituted under the Old Covenant to remember God saving his people from the plague of the death of the firstborn, by the blood of the lamb on the door. He himself would become the fulfillment of the Passover soon after this meal. His blood would be shed to rescue his people from death. Jesus would make peace between the rebel image bearers and the God who made them. He will bring them to the Father’s table.
Jesus says twice in this passage that he will not partake of this meal again until he eats it in the kingdom of God. The Revelation to John chapter 19 describes the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, when the church of Christ is brought before him in perfection, cleansed from every sin. For this great day, God is preparing a banquet, a feast with his people. When we gather around the Lord’s table in worship and take the bread and the cup, we look forward to this day.
So as you gather around the table with family and friends, as you enjoy good food and good company, remember that God is preparing for you and all his people a great feast. He longs to share it with you. Comfort yourself with these thoughts, and wait eagerly, with great anticipation for that day. It’s just about time to gather at his table.
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.