Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Book Review: A Meal With Jesus

If you know me at all, you'll know I like my food. This book sounds like a perfect one for me, and it really was. Tim Chester has written a great book on the theology and practice of hospitality - 'A Meal with Jesus: Discovering grace, community and mission around the table.'

Through the book, Chester follows the meals mentioned in Luke's gospel, echoing the complaint that the Son of Man came eating and drinking. And when you think of it, there are so many meals in Luke, and each adds to the story and mission of Jesus. There's the enacted grace of the party in Levi's house; the anointing of Jesus in Simon the Pharisee's house; the feeding of the five thousand; the rush to get the seats of honour at the banquet in Luke 14; the Lord's last supper and then the meals in Emmaus and Jerusalem on the first resurrection day.

The chapters follow the meals above (although, the astute may have realised that there are a few more as well - as Chester quotes someone saying, 'In Luke's Gospel Jesus is either going to a meal, at a meal, or coming from a meal.') The circumstances and events of the meals are discovered and explained, and the practical meaning is examined and applied. Throughout, there's a focus on mission, with the challenge to come and receive from Christ and then to go and share that grace and hospitality with others.

All in all, this book is like a six course feast (with an aperitif to set the scene). Each course follows perfectly from the last, and grace is on every plate, with lashings of extra grace. Reading it is like reading a menu - the reader's hunger is stirred, the desire to enjoy these good things is intensified; except that in the reading, the 'eater' is also satisfied. Hungry souls will find fulfillment because Christ is served up in this fine feast.

A Meal with Jesus is available from The Good Book Company.

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