How would you complete the sentence “The son of man came. . . ?” Perhaps you would say something like “. . . to teach us about the Gospel!” or “. . . to die on a cross!” or “. . . to heal people!”
Tim Chester puts this provocative question to us in the introduction to his book “A Meal With Jesus.” In calling Jesus “The Son of Man,” the Gospels connect Jesus to the figure from the book of Daniel ch.7, who Israel was expecting to come and receive authority over all nations from God. So when Jesus, the “Son of Man”, comes, He challenges the status quo expectations. The Gospels say He came:
“. . . not to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45)
“. . . to seek and save the lost.” (Luke 19:10)
“. . . eating and drinking. . . ” (Luke 7:34)
That’s it! In place of what many expected (a military leader), Israel got a savior who Luke tells us was called a “glutton and a drunkard!” (Luke 7:34). Jesus was shocking! Not just because of the sheer amount He did these things (one commentator concludes “In Luke’s Gospel Jesus is either going to a meal, at a meal, or coming from a meal.”), but also because of his guest list: Tax collectors, sinners, Pharisees, women (the GALL!), the poor, and people who just keep getting the whole thing wrong (his disciples).
But Israel was not wrong. Jesus did indeed receive authority over the nations. When He came, he began the extension of his Kingdom, a task that he has now given us to steward. If we are to continue on in His work, we should take a cue from the Gospels and to serve, seek after the lost, and eat and drink! As Tim Chester puts it:
“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.” (p.16)
So let’s join Jesus, the Son of Man: What might your kingdom-extending meal look like? How shocking and uncomfortable can you make your guest list?. . .