I may not be able to get a good seat at a popular restaurant anytime I want (of course at the moment no one can get a good seat because restaurants are closed) but I can take comfort in the assurance that I have a seat at my Father’s table. I guess thinking about eating out isn’t so unusual during this time of COVID-19 imposed closure of restaurants and shutting down of all family get togethers and celebrations such as weddings, all of which would include feasts, food, barbecues, banquets, picnics in the park and fancy dining of all kinds. Being invited to share a meal with others is the height of acceptance and inclusion in any culture.
This got me to thinking about The Last Supper and my Father’s table. My Father’s table is a table of remembrance, a table of things past, a shadow of things to come, a table of preparation for the future, of preparation for the wedding feast yet to be celebrated – it is a table of inclusion, it is a table of abundant provision, it is a table of fellowship and of sweet communion – and I am invited!
It is not a pitch-in, this banquet. Jesus told us He is the Bread of Life and He is. “Then Jesus declared, ‘I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me will never go hungry, and he who believes in Me will never be thirsty.” (John 6:35) Jesus will provide the food. Abraham told his son, Isaac, that “God Himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering,” (Genesis 22:8) And God provided a ram caught by its horns in a thicket.
Good thing, God is the Provider of the Table, because my hands are empty. I bring nothing to the table. I have nothing good to offer up. And I am wearing filthy rags. But my Father,who issued the invitation, says to me, “come as you are, My child. My righteousness will clothe you.”
“I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For He has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.” (Isaiah 61:10)
I breathe a sigh of relief. His righteousness will clothe me! I am free to accept His invitation to dine at His table. My Father’s table is a table with a history. Jesus ate the Passover meal, which became The Last Supper, at that table with His disciples. (a meal which turned out to be “the first supper” of many until He returns)
“do this in remembrance of Me.”, Jesus said to His disciples. The Passover itself, is a meal of remembrance, as is now The Last Supper or the Lord’s Supper, which we also call communion. When Jesus took the bread, gave thanks, broke it and gave it to His disciples He said, “This is My body given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” (Luke 22:19)
How often had Jesus broken bread with His disciples before that Last Supper in the upper room? They had seen Jesus do this many times, this breaking and this blessing of the bread. The feeding of the five thousand and the feeding of the four thousand were two of the more memorable occasions when they had witnessed Jesus presiding over His Father’s table. The sequence was always the same,
“When He (Jesus) had taken the seven loaves and given thanks, He broke them and gave them to His disciples to set before the people, and they did so.” (Mark 8:6) That Last Supper with His disciples gathered around His Father’s table was no exception. Jesus did what He had done so many times before,
“While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to His disciples, saying, ‘Take and eat; this is My body.’ ” (Matthew 26:26) Jesus’s pattern of taking the bread, giving thanks for the bread, breaking the bread and then giving the bread to be shared, played out once again at the Last Supper with an additional twist.
Jesus, having already identified Himself as the Bread of life, now made sure His disciples knew that this bread was to represent His body which would soon be broken for them on the cross. And there was something else, too.
“Then He took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you. This is My blood of the new covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.’ ” (Matthew 26:27-28)
The purpose of the Passover meal had always been for those who partook of it, for those who participated in it, to remember – to remember how God had delivered them from slavery in Egypt to freedom in the Promised Land – and now the Last Supper was to be a meal for remembering also – for all who would come to the Lord’s table to remember this new deliverance that was about to take place before their very eyes.
The disciples and all of humanity with them, were about to be delivered once and for all from sin to salvation, from death to life, from the temporal to the eternal – a deliverance made complete at Jesus’s cross. From this meal forward, the Lord’s Supper would be a meal of remembrance. My Father’s table is a table of remembrance.
“For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.” (1 Corinthians 11:26)
“until He comes.” My Father’s table is a table of hope, a shadow of things to come. Jesus is coming back! Until He does, when we come to my Father’s table we remember what He did for us on that cross and we rejoice that our price is paid, our redemption complete. My Father’s table is a table of rejoicing.
We are able to rejoice when we remember what Jesus did for us on that cross. Remembering makes rejoicing possible. All their lives, the Passover meal had been the disciples’ ritual of remembrance. But now, from this day forward, this last Passover meal eaten with Jesus would become their new ritual of remembrance. This, their last supper would become the Lord’s Supper or communion.
Communion is a fitting description of my Father’s Table. I participate in community with others as I partake of my Father’s provision for me. In the process I am connected to Him and connected to the others at the table with me. We have communion with God and with each other as we share the Lord’s table together.
This present day table is but a shadow of the table that awaits us in heaven. “Then the angel said to me, ‘Write: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!’ ” (Revelation 19:9)
Until then, I have a seat at my Father’s table here. My Father’s table is a table of protection and of provision, as well as of remembrance and of rejoicing.
“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.” (Psalm 23:5)
“You have made known to me the path of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at Your right hand.” (Psalm 16:11)
how grateful I am to have a seat at my Father’s table,
sincerely, Grace Day