by Barbie Perks
There’s a popular TV reality show in Britain, as well as an off-shoot produced in South Africa – and possibly in other countries – called “Come Dine with Me.” Supposedly, it’s about sharing fine dining experiences in your home with random strangers, but in reality, it’s all about criticising the host/hostess, the other guests, the home, the meal, and generally behaving badly, while competing to win the coveted cash prize at the end of the week.
However, there’s another invitation to “come dine with Me” found in Scripture that I have been pondering this last week. “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” Revelation 3:20
It strikes me that I am not quite sure what this statement actually means. It’s not quite the same as issuing an invitation to a friend to come round for lunch, where you prepare the meal, answer the knock at the door and sit down together for a pleasant hour or so. This is Jesus! Just pitching up and saying, “I’m here, invite me in! Let’s eat together.”
There seems to be an element of surprise, an unexpected encounter – this knock on the door that comes and disturbs me. Do I answer it? Do I just ignore it? (I am sure we all have those moments when we pretend we’re not at home!) And then, there’s that “if” – if anyone hears – if anyone opens the door – oh, that IF is so big, so telling! Do I want to hear his voice, do I want to open the door? Do I want to spend precious time with him? Or am I delighted, do I throw the door wide open and shout out “Come in, come in!”
The meal – oh dear, he wants to eat with me, and he wants me to eat with him. What does that mean? This is where I panic a bit, I suppose, just like Martha did in Luke 10:38-42 when she opened her home to Jesus. She was trying to cook a meal for him, but he said basically that listening to him was the better thing to do. So it isn’t a physical meal that Jesus is talking about, is it? When his disciples urged him to eat after his encounter with the Samaritan woman, he said “I have food to eat that you know nothing about – My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.” John 4:32-34
I think there’s a clue in Matthew 4:4: “Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” The meal that Jesus wants to share with me is just the time to sit together and read, listen and digest the word of God.
The last year has been a very trying year for me personally, and I admit to having fasted a bit – more than a bit, if I am to be totally honest with myself! Fasted from fellowship, from church attendance, from Bible study, from personal quiet times. Maybe that is why this invitation to dine with Jesus is so precious to me.
Lent is upon us – the season of preparation for the gift of Jesus, the bread of Life (John 6:35-58). Instead of fasting this year, I am going to feast!!
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