Post by Pastor Tim – We tend to think of sharing our bread as in the movie Field of Dreams, “If you build it, he will come.” In other words, if we just make the invitation to our home for a meal, everything else will fall into place. As we study some meals in Scripture, we find that rejection is more common than you might think.
In the three passages that DOTW Church has studied this month we see the theme of rejection in each one of them; John 6:1-4, Matthew 22:1-14 and Matthew 25:31-46.
John 6:1-14 – Jesus feeding the 5,000 is a favorite Sunday school passage, but we never really teach the kids what happened after the meal. A few verses later in v. 26, Jesus indicates that the people are only seeking him because of the physical bread that he gave. In verse 36, Jesus says that they “have seen me and yet do not believe.” And finally they started to grumble and argue when Jesus told them that he was the bread of life and that they must eat his flesh to live forever! You see, Jesus didn’t simply offer them food, but he offered himself within the context of the meal. It was not the physical food they were rejecting, they were rejecting the message that went along with the food. And of course the message was Jesus.
Matthew 22:1-14 – In the Parable of the Wedding Feast the rejection is not simply a “tack on” at the end of the story, it is woven throughout. Listen to these Scriptural phrases; “they would not come,” “they paid no attention,” “seized his servants,” “ treated them shamefully” and “killed them.” I’d be confident to say that if we hosted a meal like that in our home, we would consider it an utter failure. This passage ends with the verse, “For many are called, but few are chosen.” One Bible commentator interprets this verse by saying, “All are called to enjoy the feast, but not all are willing to trust the Giver to provide the robe that fits for the feast.”
Matthew 25:31-46 –The whole second half of the passage is about people who didn’t share their bread with Christ! They rejected Christ by withholding their bread, and now Christ is withholding his bread from them. Ultimately, when Christ appeared to them in his most vulnerable state, they rejected the opportunity to invite him to their table.
As we share our bread, if we find that our guests are as frequent as our invitations, we may not be really fulfilling this Work of Mercy. The physical sharing of our bread is a great first step, but the John passage teaches us that there should be a message with our meal. It needs to be clear to our guests that God is the provider of the blessings that we are sharing. And as the message shines brighter, we’ll also be sure to experience the rejection that Jesus spoke of in John 15:19.