FREE delivery: Wednesday, Dec 7 on orders over $25.00 shipped by Amazon.
Ships from: Amazon.com Sold by: Amazon.com
Other Sellers on Amazon
Follow the Author
A Meal with Jesus: Discovering Grace, Community, and Mission around the Table Paperback – April 7, 2011
Enhance your purchase
The meals of Jesus represent something bigger. They represent a new world, a new kingdom, a new outlook.
Tim Chester brings to light God’s purposes in the seemingly ordinary act of sharing a meal―how this everyday experience is really an opportunity for grace, community, and mission. Chester challenges contemporary understandings of hospitality as he urges us to evaluate why and who we invite to our table. Learn how you can foster grace and bless others through the rich fare being served in A Meal with Jesus.
The Amazon Book Review
Book recommendations, author interviews, editors' picks, and more. Read it now.
“We all know fasting can be a spiritual exercise, but eating is really more like Jesus. In this book, Chester points out that Christianity was meant to be conducted at a table with the intimacy of a shared meal. Church was never meant to be holy services held in sacred buildings conducted by saintly men in long robes passing thin wafers and a thimble of juice―removed from real life. Chester rightly puts us back where we belong...at the table in front of a meal―a feast actually. This is an outstanding treatise on an important subject that was long ago lost in the mire of sacred rituals. It is time we come back to the table and enjoy the life given to us.”
―Neil Cole, Founder and Director, Church Multiplication Associates; author, Organic Church
“I have always told the congregations I've served that if you take the mountains and meals out of the Bible, it's a very short book. In a world of competing church models and strategies, Tim shows us that Jesus employed one practice over all others: Sharing a meal with people. This book serves as a poignant reminder that grace, mission, and community are never enacted best through programs and propaganda, but rather through the equality and acceptance experienced at the common table. May our lives never be too busy to live this out.”
―Mike Breen, Global Leader, 3DM; author, Building a Discipleship Culture
“Tim Chester has a keen ability to reflect on gospel, community, and mission, making them accessible to the common person through the mess and movement of everyday life. Tim certainly accomplished this again in A Meal with Jesus. With each meal, my convictions about how the gospel informs all of life and relationships went deeper, and my affections for Jesus grew stronger. I want everyone in my church to read this book.”
―Jeff Vanderstelt, Visionary Leader, Soma; Pastor, Doxa Church, Bellevue, Washington; author, Saturate
About the Author
Tim Chester (PhD, University of Wales) is a faculty member of Crosslands and a pastor with Grace Church, Boroughbridge, North Yorkshire. He is an author or coauthor of over forty books, including A Meal with Jesus; Reforming Joy; and, with Michael Reeves, Why the Reformation Still Matters.
Pastor, Grace Church Boroughbridge, North Yorkshire; Faculty Member, Crosslands Training
- Publisher : Crossway (April 7, 2011)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 144 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1433521369
- ISBN-13 : 978-1433521362
- Item Weight : 6.5 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.5 x 0.36 x 8.5 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #127,133 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Top reviews from the United States
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
"The Son of Man," rather, "came eating and drinking..." (Luke 7:34). This astonishing truth about Christ, along with the Bible's repeated use of food and feast related imagery, is the subject of Tim Chester's fantastic book, A Meal with Jesus: Discovering Grace, Community & Mission around the Table. Chester's main burdens in this book are as follows: to explain the startling significance of Christ's desire to eat with sinners and Pharisees alike; to reveal the deeper spiritual realities that these shared meals with Christ point to; and to encourage us as Christians to make the sharing of meals an integral part of our fellowship with others, so as to regularly enact and reflect upon the grace that Christ so freely gave to us.
This is a neat book because it addresses some of the concerns commonly raised by the emergent church - our lack of connectedness, our desire for authentic community, the need for social justice and equality, the call for the church to reflect people from every tribe, tongue and nation. And yet, it does all this in a completely gospel-centered way, a way that does not depart from historic Protestantism. This is a book about food and fellowship, yes, but, ultimately, this book is unabashedly about the gospel. It's about substitutionary atonement. So, how does Chester connect the topics of food and fellowship with the cross?
Chester demonstrates that hospitality is a recurring theme in God's story. From the forbidden fruit of Genesis to the banquet imagery of Revelation, food and feasting - or lack thereof - is symbolic of our standing before a holy God. In the Old Testament, when Israel enjoyed peace with God, food was abundant. And, conversely, in times of judgment, the reality was famine. But, though we deserve the famine, God demonstrates his faithful love to undeserving people through abundant feasting, made possible only by the free distribution of his grace. Chester cites a rich and beautiful passage in Isaiah that embodies this gospel reality:
"On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine, of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined..."
But, how can that be, when our sin separates us from God? Here's the best part!
"...And [the Lord] will swallow up on this mountain the covering that is cast over all peoples, the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth..." (Isa. 25: 6-8)
Chester explains: "No one need ever leave this feast. In Isaiah 25 death itself is on the menu - God himself will swallow it up. So this is a perpetual feast" (59).
How beautiful and coherent the Bible is, that we see substitutionary atonement in the Old Testament, God taking the sin of his people onto himself, so that they can be reconciled to him. We eat good food; God eats death. And all of this points to the cross. Throughout his book, Chester just relishes this fact.
It should, then, come as no surprise to us that Jesus is the host of and a participant in many shared meals, as he prepares a way for us to have fellowship with God. "Jesus is the Passover lamb. His blood is daubed over our lives; the Lord passes over us, and we're redeemed...so we can come to the mountain of God, and eat and drink with God" (113).
Chester, then, charges us to live in light of this gospel reality, inviting others, particularly those we are in the habit of rejecting, to join us around the table. I loved this book. I've been resisting this cheesy cliché, but, what the heck; it truly was "food for the soul."
So, while I appreciate Gandhi's aversion to gluttony and his desire to see hungry people fed, I have to disagree with his assertion that a full meal is "a crime against God and man." For people who put their faith in Christ, a full meal - especially one shared with others - is symbolic of our reconciled relationship with God through Christ, and a pointer to the feast to come.
There are quite a few books I enjoyed reading, many more that I did not. Only a few are really impactful and this is one of them. I reviewed one of Tim Chester's earlier works, Total Church, back in 2010 (see my review here) and really liked it. I liked A Meal With Jesus a lot more.
The basic premise of A Meal With Jesus is that sharing a meal is far more than just getting a bite to eat. By looking throughout the New Testament, Tim shows us example after example of meals that Jesus was involved in and how often the meal was the setting for something profound. That is true even today. Meals shared with others represent times of fellowship, gatherings of the church, community witness and of course opportunity for mission. As Chester walks us through Luke's Gospel account, we see meals as enacted grace, enacted hope, enacted promise, etc. I am not sure if Tim would go this far but I see shared meals as even more crucial to the life and mission of the church than Sunday morning meetings.
I liked that Tim uses real examples of how this works because that helps us to see the practical and not just the theoretical but I really liked that he didn't let anecdotes take over the story. This is not a book about "How we do it and why you should to" but instead "This is how Jesus did it and why He did it and we should all do likewise". Too many books recently are nothing but a string of anecdotes with an occasional Scripture verse tossed in. A Meal With Jesus is (pun intended) a feast of God's Word. These are all stories you have read before, events in the Bible many of us know by heart but Tim manages to tie them together into a cohesiveness that is really outstanding. This is a book that made my head hurt several times, not because it was so wordy and hard to read but because of the really profound ramifications of what he has laid out. When you think about it, the Bible starts off with people eating (the forbidden fruit in the Garden) and ends with people eating (the Wedding Feast of the Lamb) and the pivotal moment in the Bible, the cross, is preceded by an intimate meal that we still remember and commemorate today.
The church lost our understanding of hospitality, fellowship and community long ago. It is even worse today than ever. With constant attention grabbing from electronics, lives stuffed full of rushing around from activity to activity and the church relegated to an hour long performance on Sunday morning, sharing meals and our lives with one another seems both quaint and impractical. Tim is calling the church back to a place where deliberate, intentional sharing of our food, our home and our time takes priority in the life of the church and I believe this can recapture some of what we have lost when it comes to being a particular people of God. I can unreservedly recommend A Meal With Jesus as a book that will open your eyes.