Turning the Tables: Meals of Messiah in the Gospel of Luke

Luke 7:34 says, “The Son of Man came eating and drinking.” Indeed, a major feature of Luke’s Gospel is that Jesus is usually going to a meal, at a meal, or coming from a meal. If you love to eat, Luke is your Gospel. But wait a minute. Does that sound like the lifestyle of a holy man to you? Does that sound like the behavior of a prophet? More feasting than fasting? More parties than protests? What kind of rabbi is this? 

The rap on Jesus was that he was “a drunkard and a glutton” (Luke 7:34). Now, Jesus was neither of those things—the Bible says he never sinned—but he did give his enemies enough ammunition to make the charge stick. And they made the charge stick, not because he was eating and drinking per se, but because of the kinds of people he had at his table—those who were awfully low on the religious food chain. And there’s no indication such folks even had to “repent” before they could come and eat at Jesus’ table! The fact that they came at all—and ate and enjoyed his welcome—was apparently repentance enough for Jesus.

What’s going on here? It’s called grace. And grace is often a threat to the religious mind. Tim Chester has said, “In Luke’s Gospel Jesus got himself killed because of the way he ate.” That’s hardly an overstatement. Before Jesus ever picked up the cross, he picked up the fork. And when he did, he turned the tables—and everything changed!

Part 1: The Son of Man Came Eating & Drinking (Luke 7:28-35)

Part 2: The Banquet at Levi’s House (Luke 5:27-39)

Part 3: Dinner at Simon the Pharisee’s House (Luke 7:36-50)

Part 4: Breaking Bread at Bethsaida (Luke 9:10-17)

Part 5: Hospitality at Mary & Martha’s House (Luke 10:38-42)

Part 6: When Jesus Burns the Meal (Luke 11:37-54)

Part 7: Adjusting the Guest List (Luke 14:1-24)

Part 8: At the Home of Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-10)

Part 9: Jesus, the Host & the Meal (Luke 22:14-34)

Part 10: Breaking Bread in Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35)

Part 11: Dinner with the Disciples (Luke 24:36-53)