The Jews of Jesus’s day would have said the Son of Man will come to vindicate the righteous and defeat God’s enemies. They didn’t expect him to come to seek and save the lost. And they would have said the Son of Man will come in glory and power. The would never have said he would come eating and drinking. And Luke is talking about just subsistence eating and drinking. Jesus says: “The Son of Man has come eating and drinking and you say, ‘Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!” (7:34). A glutton, of course, is someone who eats too much, and a drunkard is someone who drinks too much. Jesus was seriously into eating and drinking–so much so that his enemies accused him of doing it to excess. Earlier in Luke’s Gospel the Pharisee’s and their scribes said to him, “The disciples of John fast often and offer prayers, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees, but yours eat and drink” (5:33). Jesus spent his time eating and drinking–a lot of his time. He was a party animal. His mission strategy was a long meal, stretching into the evening. He did evangelism and discipleship round a table with some grilled fish, a loaf of bread, and a pitcher of wine.
Luke’s Gospel is full of stories of Jesus eating with people:
- In Luke 5 Jesus eats with tax collectors and sinners at the home of Levi.
- In Luke 7 Jesus is anointed at the home of Simon the Pharisee during a meal.
- In Luke 9 Jesus feeds the five thousand.
- In Luke 10 Jesus eats in the home of Martha and Mary.
- In Luke 11 Jesus condemns the Pharisees and teachers of the law at a meal.
- In Luke 14 Jesus is at a meal when he urges people to invite to poor to their meals rather than their friends.
- In Luke 19 Jesus invites himself to dinner with Zaccaeus.
- In Luke 22 we have the account of the last supper.
- In Luke 24 the risen Christ has a meal with two disciples in Emmaus, and then later eats fish with the disciples in Jerusalem.
Robert Karris concludes: “In Luke’s Gospel Jesus is either going to a meal, at a meal, or coming from a meal.” We can make community and mission sound like specialized activities that belong to experts. Some people have vested interest in doing this because it makes them feel “extraordinary.” Or we focus on dynamic personalities who can hold an audience and lead a movement. Some push mission beyond the scope of “ordinary” Christians. But the Son of Man came eating and drinking. It’s not complicated. True, it’s not always easy–it involves people invading your space or going places where you don’t feel comfortable. But it’s not complicated. If you share a meal three or four times a week and you have a passion for Jesus, then you will be building up the Christian community and reaching out in mission. (Tim Chester, A Meal With Jesus)