“And when the hour came, he reclined at table, and the apostles with him.” (Luke 22:14)
Doesn’t that sound nice? Just sit back, relax, and in good middle eastern fashion, actually lie down around a table of good food with Jesus. Propped up on one elbow, you run a piece of bread through some hummus or grab some ripe olives. As you refill your wine glass, smiles and laughter fill the room as Jesus tells stories about farmers or fields or fish.
Is that how you picture an evening meal with Jesus? Or do you think it would be much more somber, serious and intense? Would you joke and kid around with Jesus? Or would you be very proper and polite? Would you eat as you usually do? Or would you take a few extra vegetables so he would think you ate healthy? Paper plates or nice dishes? Would you let your dog sit there and watch him eat, waiting for something to hit the floor? Would you tell your kids to sit up straight?
I find it hard to picture myself at a table with Jesus in my home, at a restaurant or at a banquet. It helps to think of Jesus at Levi’s house, with a big group of other tax collectors (Luke 5:28). I imagine that group knew how to have a good time. When he ate at a Pharisee’s house, he didn’t go through all the formal ritual washings (Luke 11:37-38). When he told the parable of the great banquet, the room was filled with anyone and everyone off the street (Luke 14:21). When the lost son comes home, the father throws a big party, complete with music and dancing (Luke 15:22-25). I’m not saying that Jesus got carried away, but some people did call him a “glutton and a drunkard” (John 11:19). He simply enjoyed being around all the people he came to seek and save.
So let’s take that and run with it. If Jesus is comfortable around us, we can let down our guard and be comfortable around him. If he likes holding kids, he won’t mind them spilling drinks across the table. After the resurrection, Jesus ate fish on the beach with his disciples, so it’s ok to grill a few burgers and brats. He may be a little messy when he eats if crumbs of his grace fall to the ground for anyone and everyone. You don’t even need to clean the house. Jesus told Martha to relax. He’d rather just spend some time with her.
I like to picture myself reclining with Jesus in the recliners in my living room. Just sit back, talk, have a snack. He wants to spend time with us, too. Eternity, to be exact. Which is why he came.
(Oh, and if he brings a bottle of wine when he comes over, open that one first!)
Lord, I can’t wait to sit back and relax with you. Amen.