Food II – Food is Spiritual

Food is relational, food is spiritual. What was the first role of man? Gardener. It may be true, in a manner of speaking, that we were created to worship God, but according to the text we were made to grow food to eat. The first perversion of God's great creation was accomplished through eating. Eternal life is secured by eating from the tree of life. When sacrifices were made at the temple the priests and the offerer often ate of the sacrifice. They could eat anything but the fat, which was for God. In one of the most heinous acts in scripture the sons of the high priest ate from the meat of sacrifices before all the fat had boiled off. God became so angry at this sin (they also caused the people offering the sacrifice to eat the fat as well) that Israel lost the ark of the covenant for a time.

In his own day people saw that Jesus loved eating. John the Baptist may have had a taste for locust but the Son of Man came “eating and drinking.” How many times has it been pointed out that Jesus was at a wedding when he performed his first miracle? A wedding feast in fact. He made sure they didn't run out of wine. Two times he provided bread for thousands of people to eat. It seems he talked about food so often the disciples misunderstood when he told them to avoid the yeast of the Pharisees, they took him literally. He even opened up the entire realm of food for all people when he declared that pigs and other such animals were no longer unclean. When Jesus was tempted what was the first tactic? Bread. It would be blasphemous to say that Jesus was gluttonous but the imagery of food surrounding his ministries and promises is profound. Most Sundays we celebrate the Lord's Supper and even this is based on the Feast of Unleavened Bread. God's most profound truth can be found in the accidents of wine and bread. While eating this last meal with his disciples Jesus made them a promise, “I will not eat it again until it is fulfilled in the Kingdom of God”. Eating is a kingdom activity! What is the first thing we will do in heaven? Celebrate at the wedding feast. Food and images of food open and close the pages of history and attend nearly every significant promise made to mankind.

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  • Amira

    Adam, you’re writing so fast, by the time I can think of a response to one blog, you’ve written another. It used to be one every week…
    Anyway, to make the obvious point about Jesus, could it not be as simple as the fact that all His lessons related to everyday things that His mostly uneducated audiences could understand. Food is universally understood on a basic level, you eat or you die.
    Steve, I have also been accused more than once of being functional about food, ie not really enjoying food and only eating out of necessity. When you discover the deep significance of that, tell me.

  • Amira,
    I put the “Recent Comment” section on the sidebar so that we can interact with several blogs at one time and still see what has been commented on recently. I would love to hear your thoughts on the first post.
    I think that you are exactly right about why God uses food to illustrate things to us. If there is anything we all have in common it is that we eat.
    At the same time, I find the sheer diversity in how food is used in the Bible profound. There have always been questions about why God limited certain foods from Israel to begin with. Some have suggested it was a health thing but I think that Peter’s vision shows that it was intended to show a line of separation from the Jews and the Gentiles. What can be more useful than food to demonstrate that you are not like me? It was one of the hardest things for the Jewish believers in Jesus day to accept and it is still one of the most defining characteristics of practicing Jews today. Food, while common, is also a powerful force in our lives and makes for powerful images, types, and illustrations.
    Maybe we can get more into the significance of eating for sustenance in a future post, or perhaps Steve would like to co-op with me on this effort and write a post I can link to from my blog. A series and a team effort! We are breaking all the blogging rules here.

  • Amira, you’re on your own to find that significant depth, I mean come on, I can’t even slice bread properly.

  • Adam,
    You should go visit my parents. Eat with them, and the Native Canadians they work with. You will really see how community, spirituality, meaning, and food all entertwine.

  • Lonnie,
    Perhaps you could enlighten us, I would love to hear. If you want you can send me a word doc and I can post it as a unique post in this series!

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