I hate when I get an earworm and keep singing something over and over. Mowing the grass not too long ago I found myself singing the song, Breakfast at Tiffany’s. I’m not sure why. The song is just okay, and I’ve never even seen the whole movie. I do like breakfast, though. It’s probably my favorite meal.
We all like to eat. We all have our favorites. We talk about food, watch shows about food, exchange recipes, and delight ourselves in plating food. If you’ve never been to a church potluck (pre-COVID of course), you’re really missing out. Center stage is generally the official Baptist bird: fried chicken.
Have you noticed there is an intimacy involved with eating? Most of us have invited people into our homes to share a meal. It’s a special occasion. We do our best to make our guests feel warm and invited and try to delight their palette.
Also, when two people enjoy one another’s company, they take the relationship to the next level and often go on a date to a restaurant. As seen in Elf, the movie, Michael, Buddy’s little brother, encourages him to ask his love interest, Jovie, out on a date to eat food and then advised him, “If she says yes, you’re in. It’s like a secret code girls have.”
We also serve food at most of our social gatherings and for holidays. What would a birthday party be like without a birthday cake? Families also build holiday traditions around food. It may be odd to you, but my family’s Christmas would not be complete without my wife’s black beans and rice with roast pork.
It’s a staple of our family and celebrates the Cuban heritage of my wife. We’ve enjoyed it for as long as I can remember and our family wouldn’t have it any other way.
The Bible has a great deal to say about eating—much more than I could write about here. The Bible even talks about eating with God. For example, in Exodus 24, Moses and some of the elders of Israel went up on Mount Sinai and “beheld God and ate and drank” (Exodus 24:9-11).
Jesus used the metaphor of food to symbolize eternal life.
In Revelation 3:20, Jesus says, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.” It’s an invitation to intimacy. An invitation to dine with the Savior—forever.
It’s interesting that we can eat a huge meal and be totally stuffed, but when someone says, “You ready for dessert?” we find room—especially if it’s one of our favorites!
But it’s also true that, as stuffed and as miserable as we might be after eating a huge lunch, in just a few hours, we feel the need, or the want, to eat again. The food is delicious and nutritious—but temporary. We are not fully satisfied.
The “food” that Jesus offers is real and fulfilling. He says, “Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you” (John 6:27). This spiritual food can’t be obtained. It must be attained and is available for the asking. It is a free gift of God (Eph 2:8-9).
Food is also a part of our worship. Jesus gave His followers a wonderful meal to commemorate His life and substitutionary death. He gave us the bread and the cup.
It’s a visible, tangible reminder of a deeper, spiritual truth. Some churches call this meal the eucharist (which means thanksgiving), some call it communion (idea of participation), while some call it the Lord’s Supper (term used by Paul in First Corinthians 11).
The meaning and frequency change from church to church, but the basic truth is consistent. It calls us to reflection and remembrance.
Jesus celebrated a final meal with His twelve disciples. This is often called, “the last supper.” As you remember, Jesus and His disciples were actually eating the Passover meal together. They commemorated the fact that God redeemed them from slavery in Egypt. Redemption came from the powerful hand of God and the provision of the Passover lamb.
During the Last Supper, Jesus redefined the meaning of the Passover meal. He called it the new covenant (Luke 22:20). The bread would symbolize His body and the wine, His blood. At this meal the focus was on Him--the perfect, Passover Lamb.
Anticipating His passion Jesus said, “as often as you do this, do it in remembrance of me” (1 Cor 11:24-25). Jesus gave us the bread and the cup to represent powerful symbols to memorialize His ultimate sacrifice. As humans, we tend to forget all kinds of things. Jesus gave us this powerful visual aid to call us to remember.
When we see the bread, we remember that Jesus called Himself, “the bread of life.” When we break the bread, we remember His body that was broken and that we are all part of one body (1 Cor 10:17).
When we eat of it, we remember that man does not live by bread alone” (Matt 4:4). Regular bread just leads to the vicious cycle of more hunger. We’re invited to “taste and see that the Lord is good” (Ps 34:8). We remember that Jesus satisfies the deepest need of our soul.
He also gave us the fruit of the vine. A reminder of the ultimate sacrifice to purchase our pardon—His precious blood. In the Old Testament, sacrificial lambs had to continually be offered for atonement. Jesus, the perfect Lamb of God, died once. No other sacrifices are needed.
As we partake, we remember. We remember our former hopelessness. We remember the emptiness and the wandering. We also remember the cost. God did not just flip a switch in heaven to purchase our pardon.
The free gift to us cost God the life of His only Son. Finally, we remember that in this life of pain and frustration, we’re just passing through. We’re remember that which is to come. The Bible says, “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes” (1 Cor 11:26).
And when He comes, it will be party time. Jesus promises, at that time, another meal. The table is already set and He waits for His own. He tells His disciples that He will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom comes (Luke 22:18). Breakfast at Tiffany’s is probably overrated. The social event of eternity, we’re told, is the marriage supper of the Lamb” (Rev 19:9).
Heaven will be a glorious, eternal party with food. Jesus Himself invites us to come and to celebrate. The best news is that everyone is invited to participate. He stands at the door and knocks, but the human heart must be opened from the inside. You hungry?
Dr. Wayne Geiger is the Pastor of First Baptist Grain Valley, an Adjunct Professor of Speech, and freelance writer.