Wednesday, July 26, 2017

July 27, 2017

"The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is proved right by all her children.” Luke 7:34-35
"How did the Son of Man come? Luke 19:10 and Mark 10:45 tell us why he came – to seek and save the lost; to give his life as a ransom for many. But how did he come? What was his modus operandi? Preaching? Healing? Teaching? He certainly did those things. But Jesus himself says ‘the Son of Man came eating and drinking’ (Luke 7:34). Eating and drinking – a lot. New Testament scholar Robert Karris says: ‘In Luke’s Gospel Jesus is either going to a meal, at a meal, or coming from a meal.’ So much so that his enemies accuse him of being ‘a glutton and a drunkard’ – someone who eats too much and drinks too much. ‘The Son of Man’ is a reference to the representative of God’s people who comes in glory before the Ancient of Days to receive authority over all nations (Daniel 7). What is the Son of Man doing when he comes to earth? The Jews expected him to come with a bang, defeating God’s enemies and vindicating his people. Instead he shares a meal. 
Meals are a powerful of expression of welcome and friendship in every culture. This is why Jesus’ meals are so significant – they embody God’s grace and enact God’s mission. Jesus ate with tax collectors and sinners. Tax collectors were traitors not only to the nation, but also traitors towards God for they were collaborators with the Gentile occupiers who had defiled God’s holy land. So the table companions of Jesus led the Pharisees to conclude that he couldn't be from God (Luke 5:30; 7:39; 15:1–2). A reasonable conclusion – unless God’s grace is so amazing that it allows him to eat with his enemies and unless God’s grace explodes all our expectations (Luke 5:27–39). Meals are central to the mission of Jesus because they embody and enact the grace of God."  - Pastor Tim Chester
Maybe you never noticed how many of Jesus’ meals are in the gospels? Meals feature so prominently in the gospels that scholars have commented: ‘Jesus ate his way through the Gospels.’ Herbert Anderson and Edward Foley even claim: ‘… they killed him because of the way he ate; because he ate and drank with sinners.’ Jesus revealed the Kingdom as he shared meals with others. And Jesus’ ‘fellowship meals’ are formative for the mission of the local church today.
Part of the genius of the "BELLS" witnessing habits is that they are common things we all can do and do on a daily basis. In fact, they can become so routine we lose sight of the impact they can have. We tend to underestimate the power of small things done prayerfully, consistently and intentionally over time.
It is good to be reminded that eating meals with others was a PRIMARY method Jesus used for both evangelizing and making disciples!
So, that's why the "E" in BELLS stands for eat. The challenge is to schedule meals with at least three people each week for the purpose of building an evangelistic or a discipleship relationship. The book, "Surprise the World" suggests eating with at least one person in your church, one person not in your church and the third can be either.
If eating was an essential and effective method in Jesus' ministry, shouldn't you give it a try?

Reaching Hearts Through Stomachs

"For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is proved right by all her children.” Luke 7:33-35

There is an old saying that goes, "The way to a man's heart is through his stomach."

I'd like to think us men are a little more complicated than that, but maybe not. We do love to eat and a well prepared meal has our full attention!

If you know that's true and I know it's true we can be sure Jesus knew it was true and He used sharing meals with men as a powerful primary evangelism tool!

It may amaze you as you thumb through the Gospels how often Jesus ate with others. More often than not His dining companions were publicans, tax collectors and as many others sinners He could gather.

Sure He began His ministry with 40 days of fasting but after that He was heavy into feasting! His first miracle was at a wedding feast in Cana. His last gathering with His disciples was a Passover feast in an Upper Room. 

Following His resurrection Jesus restored Peter from a fisherman back to a follower with an impromptu fish breakfast on the shore of Galilee.

I'm looking forward to the first official event in the New Heaven when all God's people sit down to the Feast of the Ages referred to as the Marriage Supper of the Lamb!

Maybe the old saying IS right! Maybe the way to a man's heart IS through his stomach! And if that is true maybe you and I should develop an intentional habit of having meals with those we want to reach for Jesus!