My wife and I enjoy having people over to dinner. We enjoy spending time with friends that we are very close with while we also enjoy eating with people with whom we don’t really know at all. It was only until recently that I realized that there was deep meaning behind sharing a meal together. I always knew that some fellowship and sharing took place, but I did not grasp the full extent of what sharing a meal actually meant.
Chris also quotes Crag Blomberg’s book Contagious Holiness: Jesus’ Meals with Sinners, a book that I haven’t read but have now added to my reading list:
Jesus’ table fellowship with sinners reflects his willingness to associate with them at an intimate level, but not merely for the sake of defying convention or enjoying a party. In each case various textual clues, if not explicit statements, demonstrate that Christ is indeed calling them to repentance and summoning them to become his followers. At the same time he is ready to accept them at the slightest sign of a positive response and does not follow the Essene pattern of requiring a lengthy period of probation for them to prove themselves…As to the meaning of Jesus’ behaviour, the unifying theme that emerges is one that may be called ‘contagious holiness’. Jesus discloses not one instance of fearing contamination, whether moral or ritual, by associating with the wicked or impure. Rather, he believes that his purity can rub off on them, and he hopes that his magnanimity toward them will lead them to heed his calls to discipleship. (pg. 167)
Good stuff. When we start realizing that all moments – and all meals – are sacred, and when we start living as God’s children in all moments – and all meals – I think we will see a marked difference in our own lives and in the lives of those around us. Invite someone to your home… eat with them… and “rub off on them”.