The Real Food Network
God started the real Food Network. God starts talking about food in the first chapter of the Bible, creating the raw ingredients. And by the end of the Book, preparations for a great and wonderful feast are well underway. In between we have a fruit tree, goat stew, leeks and onions, manna and quail, cheese and bread, locusts and wild honey, fresh fish bbq, and raisin cakes (careful! on the raisin cakes), just to name a few. As far as presentation goes – i’ve never seen anything that comes remotely close to the presentations we see in the Bible! Manna presented like dew on the ground. Water from a rock. Honey from a lion carcass. Steaks delivered by ravens. A feast lowered down on a sheet from heaven. (ok, i know it is a vision)
You know the Food Network show where they open the baskets and have to prepare a meal from what’s in the baskets? They stole that idea from the Gospels. Remember the very large crowd of people that were hungry after being with Jesus all day? Jesus invented a game right there on the spot – it’s called, “What’s in the Basket?”. Jesus told his disciples to give the people something to eat and then sent them into the crowd to see “What’s in the Basket?” The Food Network adopted the idea but has made it so much more simple for their contestants. Jesus opened the basket and had only 5 loaves and 2 fish. His dish was not on the chopping block.
Consider some of the other significant events that happen around food and meals: Eve plans a fruit tasting event, Shadrach and his friends stake their reputation on a particular diet. Queen Esther throws a couple dinner parties to save her entire nation. Joseph uses food to test his brothers and then prepares a meal to reconcile with them. I wonder if Esau ever enjoyed a pot of stew after the one Jacob traded with him. David goes to deliver lunch to his brothers who are fighting the Philistines. The first temptation of Jesus.
We haven’t even identified the big ones yet. God established the table and a meal as the pinnacle of revelation and relationship first through Passover and now through Communion.
The Gospels only reinforce the food/meals theme. Consider how much ministry Jesus did around meals. Matthew’s house, Zaccheus’ house, Lazarus’ house, Pharisee’s house, discpile’s house after walking down Emmaus Road. Add numerous “picnics” sometimes on the beach, sometimes along the road, or in a field.
It seems the early followers of Jesus picked up on a theme. We read that they ate together, a lot. In fact, one of the earliest problems they had to solve was how to be more efficient at serving tables and still getting everything else done. The first promotion of those who were followers of Jesus was to take the place of the apostles in serving the meals.
How many parables did Jesus tell in which a meal or a banquet features prominently in the story?
And what angered the Pharisees so deeply? “He eats and drinks with sinners.” They called him a “drunk and a glutton”. (Matthew 11:19) Really now?
Perhaps Christianity should be known as the Food Network. We are the ones with the Living Water and Bread of Life. We even have the Fruits of the Spirit.
I think God is trying to tell us something through this food thing? Do you have any ideas as to what that might be?
Let’s chew on it for a bit,