Meals play a central role in Scripture. Our presence in the new heavens and earth is sometimes described as a huge feast where we take our places at a banquet table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and the central part of our favorite Psalm is about God’s preparing a table in the presence of our enemies.
It’s no wonder, then, that Jesus made meals an important part of his ministry, and of all the gospel writers Luke emphasizes them the most. Some of Jesus’ most important work and teachings happen around the dinner table, and tomorrow we’ll focus on one of two meals that he ate with disciples on the Sunday of his resurrection.
We’ll actually spend a fair amount of time on verses 13-27, which are not a part of the Scripture reading but are important for understanding the actual meal of verses 30-31. Jesus approaches these two disciples who are returning home to Emmaus, and they’re discouraged. They don’t recognize Jesus, and they don’t know that he’s been resurrected, of course, and in their minds they can’t fathom how crucifixion could be connected in any way to redemption. Jesus helps them see that the entire Old Testament should’ve created an anticipation for exactly the kind of Messiah that Jesus was.
And then he breaks bread with them, and their eyes are opened. They see who he is, and they understand.
This meal has all kinds of Lord’s Table implications. Around the table just three days earlier he had given Passover new meaning, and now he breaks bread with disciples for the first time since then. He opens their eyes, and they understand that in the cross and resurrection Jesus did what he said he would do . . . he is the fulfillment of everything Israel had been hoping for.
As we reflect on this story tomorrow, we’ll consider why it is that sometimes we struggle to recognize Jesus, and we’ll continue our emphasis on seeing Jesus at the Table. We’ll celebrate the hope we have because of what he shows us when we eat with him.