Blessing and Cursing
In Luke 14:15–24 Jesus describes a banquet scene. In the parable, a man goes out and invites many guests to his feast, but they all decline the invitation, citing a variety of excuses, but the main reason being that they are too busy. When word of their declined RSVP reaches the man’s ears through his servant, he becomes angry. In response, he commissions his servant to go out and invite the poor, the crippled, and the lame until the whole banquet is full.
Jesus prefaces the parable by saying, “Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!” What the parable illustrates is that bread and meals are a metaphor for the kingdom. To partake of Jesus’ provision is blessing, and to decline or be excluded is the ultimate curse.
Couple this imagery with our understanding of how food is portrayed in the Old Testament. Meal imagery in feasting and in famine is hugely prevalent in theme in the Old Testament. The big idea the Bible paints with the parable of the meal is that God’s blessing is symbolized through His provision for His beloved children. On the other hand, when God deprives people of the simple things of life, such as food, it can be the picture of punishment and wrath upon disobedience.
Herein lies the tragedy. We see countless instances where innocent people are affected with famine due to the mass majorities’ decision to turn away from God. In opposite manner, we also see countless times where guilty and disastrously sinful people are allowed to eat and dine abundantly despite their hatred toward God.
A meal, or lack thereof, presents a twofold picture. The presence of famine and want are pictures of life without God. The presence of poverty and hunger in our world today are not signs of God’s hatred, but are evidences of the fact that God has extended his invitation to all people and nations, and some have violently declined. On the other hand, whenever the least of these is provided for and fed, it’s a display of grace, and a visual invitation from God that He is still sending out invites, and wants His children to meet Him forever around His table.
This is why it’s a blessing to eat with the family of God—to dine with the church.