Breaking bread together occurs at many church, family, and other spiritual occasions. A meal after Sunday worship. Before Bible study on a designated evening during the week. Homecomings. Anniversaries. Family reunions. Birthdays. Thanksgiving. Christmas. How would those occasions ever occur without food.
Jesus was fond of breaking bread with others, particularly in the Gospel of Luke: with Levi and other tax collectors (5:27-32, NIV); with Simon the Pharisee and the prostitute who washed Jesus’s feet with her tears (7:36-50); with Mary and Martha (10:38-42); with Pharisees when He dressed them down for being more concerned about what’s on the outside than the inside (11:37-52); with Pharisees when he taught lessons on table manners and banquet etiquette (14:1-24); with Zacchaeus, who repented his cheating ways (19:1-10); with the apostles at a Passover meal when He instituted the Lord’s Supper (22:14-32); with two disciples on the road to Emmaus, finally recognized as the resurrected Christ while his companions ate a meal (24:28-32); with the apostles and other disciples when Jesus, over a meal of fish, “opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.” (24:36-43)
Jesus ate meals with believers and non-believers. The breaking of bread created for Him the opportunity to teach, discuss, and answer questions. It’s little wonder that the early Christians ate together often. They were following Jesus’s example.
Among 21st century Christians, church and food continue to go together. We don’t eat together every day. Dinners on the ground are rare. But meals organized for believers to fellowship, discuss, teach, read scripture, and pray are, by today’s standards, frequent. By gathering around food, we get to know each other, share our faith, ask questions, offer words of encouragement, and even debate with each other.
When we eat together, do we realize how much we are following in Jesus’s footsteps by the breaking of bread?
Tomorrow, the conclusion.