Meals as a Model for Ministry
Theologians have noted in Luke’s Gospel that there is not a moment where Jesus is not going to, at a, or coming from a meal. The sinners who knew Jesus, met Him as a “friend of sinners” at meals, and Jesus’ enemies were always at odds over the fact that He kept eating with sinners. The famous historian and doctor Luke keeps alive the rhythm of meals and their symbol as blessing or curse. Jesus used meals as a visual display to demonstrate His desire to invite all men, women, and children to His table. However, through each individual’s acceptance or rejection of the eating-fellowship-invitation, we also see a remaining sign in the meal that there were those who were inside and those who chose to remain on the outside of God’s kingdom.
The following diagram shows a bit of Luke’s outline and demonstrates that Jesus’ method of church planting, kingdom building, and his model for sovereign ministry, replication, maturing, and edification not only remains consistent with Genesis’ beginnings but only grows deeper in meaning in Jesus’ work:
TEXT MEAL PARTICIPANTS SIGNIFICANCE TEACHING MOMENT
5:27–39 Banquet at Tax Collectors Evangelism "Jesus came to call
Levi's House Sinners sinners."
7:36–50 Dinner at Pharisees, Guests Reconciliation "Your sins are
Simon's the & the Sinful Woman forgiven."
9:10–17 Break bread 5000 Males Mission/Service "You give them
at Bethsaida something to eat."
10:38–42 Hospitality at Disciples Discipleship "Mary chose what is
11:37–54 Noon meal Pharisees/Friends All Invited "Clean the inside
not the outside."
14:1–24 Sabbath at Pharisees & Friends All Invited "When you give a
a Pharisees banquet, invite the
House poor, crippled, lame
19:1–10 Zacchaeus Tax Collectors Salvation for All "Son of Man came to
seek and save the
24:36–53 Lord's Supper Disciples Missional "You are witnesses."