Family meals are opportunities for communication, bonding, and learning about and from each other. There is no better place to share experiences, news, make plans, and voice and discuss concerns. In our home, family meals feel warm, secure. We care and sense that we belong here. We also try new foods and eat well.
Research says children perform better academically when they eat meals with their family. It also helps us build lasting, solid relationships, gives us a sense of identity, eases conflicts and establishes traditions and memories that can last a lifetime.
And when the hour came, he reclined at table, and the apostles with him. (Luke 22:14)
Jesus sat down to eat and drink with his apostles. What does this mean for them and for me as a Christian?
First, the twelve were convinced that He was the Messiah and began following Him, going where He went and imitating His example. This was a good beginning, but there was more.
Next, they became his disciples. That is, He was their teacher and He made truth clear to them. However, disciples do not necessarily sit and eat with their teacher. The relationship went beyond that.
These twelve became His servants. He trained them and they did what He asked of them, preaching the Gospel and doing His will in setting up His kingdom. Yet servants rarely eat with their Master. Their relationship included something more. Toward the end of His life, Jesus said something very remarkable . . .
No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. (John 15:15)
At this, the relationship went beyond Teacher/disciple and Master/servant to friendship, yet there was even more. Just before Jesus died, He invited these twelve to a special meal where they sat around the same table, ate the same bread and drank from the same cup. This relationship was soon to go even rather than friends . . .
But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God . . . (John 1:12)See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God . . . (1 John 3:1)
My fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. He made me His follower and disciple, His friend. But by faith, I am also a child of God with a permanent invitation to enjoy intimacy in His presence, both now and beyond this life. One day, we will sit down together at the marriage supper of the Lamb, Jesus and His children, my Friend and His family, and enjoy being together forever.