There are three ways the New Testament completes the sentence, ‘The Son of Man came…’
'The Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many' (Mark 10:45)
'The Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost' (Luke 19:10)
'The Son of Man has come eating and drinking” (Luke 7:34)
The first two are statements of purpose. Why did Jesus come? He came to serve, give his life as a ransom, to seek and save the lost. The third is a statement of method. How did Jesus come? He came eating and drinking.
Jesus was seriously into eating and drinking - so much so that his enemies accused him of doing it to excess… His mission strategy was a long meal, stretching into the evening. He did evangelism and discipleship round a table with grilled fish, a loaf of bread and a jug of wine.
Jesus is called ‘a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners’. This is why eating and drinking were so important in the mission of Jesus: they were a sign of his friendship with tax collectors and sinners. His ‘excess’ of food and ‘excess’ of grace are linked. In the ministry of Jesus, meals were enacted grace, community and mission…
Jesus’ meals are not just symbols, they’re also application.
Perhaps … [the Western church] has drunk so deeply at the well of modern Western materialism that it simply does not know what to do with such cries and regards them as little short of embarrassing.
A diet of unremittingly jolly choruses and hymns inevitably creates an unrealistic horizon of expectation which sees the normative Christian life as one long triumphalist street party—a theologically incorrect and a pastorally disastrous scenario in a world of broken individuals.
Has an unconscious belief that Christianity is—or at least should be—all about health, wealth, and happiness corrupted the content of our worship?
… In the psalms, God has given the church a language which allows it to express even the deepest agonies of the human soul in the context of worship.
Does our contemporary language of worship reflect the horizon of the expectation regarding the believer’s experience which the psalter proposes as normative?
If not, why not?
Is it because the comfortable values of Western middle-class consumerism have silently infiltrated the church and made us consider such cries irrelevant, embarrassing, and signs of abject failure?
It was the unicorn who summed up what everyone was feeling. He stamped his right fore-hoof on the ground and neighed, and then cried: “I have come home at last! This is my real country! I belong here. This is the land I have been looking for all my life, though I never knew it till now.”
Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept. No-one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet, death is the destination we all share. No-one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because death is very likely the single best invention of life. It’s life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new.
- Steve Jobs, reflecting on surviving his first cancer scare