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The Master on eating & drinking

November 4, 2009

I recently had a conversation with my tee-totaling parents who I love dearly but who almost never imbibe alcohol that ended with me saying, “I’m not sure how anyone who calls themselves a Christian can go to a wedding and not drink wine. Christ actually extended a wedding celebration by making more wine.” This is how I justify homebrewing (“Just trying to be like Jesus!”) and how I challenged my parents who seemed judgmental about wine at Christian weddings. Two birds, one stone. Now I also have several friends and family members (which is partially why my parents, especially my dad don’t drink) who’s lives have literally been destroyed by drinking too much. So there’s that side of the story as well… but that is outside the scope of this post.

What i really want to do in this post is talk about Christ’s approach to food and drink and celebration and the social-political-religious statements he made in how he ate and drank and who he ate with. I found a great littel summary of this in the book The Emergence of the Church by Arthur G. Patzia. So first off i want to credit my source. Now i want to plunder it.

Jesus ate with tax collectors (the socially despised) like Matthew (Matthew 9), ditto on Zaccheus the wee little man (Luke 19.5), women – the lowest ranking citizens of the time – like Mary and Martha (Luke 10.38-42) and many “sinners,” the religiously “unclean and undesirable” which enraged the religious establishment (Matthew 9.11, Luke 5:30, 15.1-2, Mark 2.16). He also undoubtedly ate many meals with his closest followers and apprentices the most famous being what we call “Last Supper” on the night he was betrayed. Multiple times he fed the large crowds that followed him (Matthew 15.32-39; Mark 2, 6, 8; Luke 9; John 6). He also alluded to an epic, universal banquet (Matthew 22, 25; Luke 12-14) that would be coming.

I don’t think it is overstating it to say that eating and drinking were a major component of Jesus’ work and mission. Tomorrow i want to look more deeply at how the ‘Last Supper’ (the one Jesus ate on the night he was betrayed) became the ‘Lord’s supper’ (the central element of Christian worship from the start).

Eat well.

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