The Great Feast of the Kingdom (2)
The Great Feast of the Kingdom of God (2)
1) The Foundations of the Great Feast. The foundational proof that the Kingdom of God is “like a Great Feast” is seen in three biblical examples. a) The Kingdom of God pictured in the Old Testament is predicted in the Great Feast. Many texts show feasting as a kingdom activity (Dt. 16:16, 1Kg. 8:65), but Isaiah 25:6–9 provides a vision of the fulfilled kingdom as a Great Feast: “On this mountain, for all peoples, Yahweh Sabaoth is preparing a banquet of rich food, a banquet of fine wines, of succulent food, of well-strained wines.” b) The Kingdom of God portrayed in the Gospels is described as a Great Feast. Christ uses the language feasting to provide lessons about the gospel (Mt. 21:1ff) and grace (Lk. 14:14-23). He directly envisions the future kingdom as, “many will come from east and west and will eat with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven” (Mt. 8:11). c) The Kingdom of God promised by Christ is fulfilled in the Great Feast. Speaking of the passover supper, He said, “for I tell you, I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God. . . . (Luke 22:16, 18). On the first day of the week with the Emmaus road disciples He sat at the table, then “their eyes were opened and they knew Him” (v31) and they reported, “He was known to them in the breaking of bread” (v35). Jesus fulfilled His promise of being with His disciples on the other side of His cross. He would not be at Table again “until the kingdom of God comes” (Luke 22:18). “Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread . . .” (Acts 20:7).
2) The Functions of the Great Feast. Seeing the Kingdom as a Great Feast functions to enrich our experience: a) The Kingdom and Communion - The Eucharist is central to a right understanding of the Kingdom. Therefore Lord’s Day Communion is central to worship. Communion requires active remembering that Jesus won the victory of redemption through the cross. If there had been no resurrection, there would be no Lord’s Supper, only a Last Supper. Christ’s command to “do this in remembrance of Me” promises that the Kingdom will come after His passover and His blood of the covenant is shed (Lk. 22:19, 1Cor. 11:24). b) The Kingdom and Creation - The Great Feast themes, culminating in Communion, display the creational nature of the Kingdom. Therefore our vision for the Kingdom is creational and “this worldly.” The Kingdom is for human creatures that eat and drink, rather than ghosts of the pietistic-gnostic-spiritual variety. Feasting is promised even in the future state of resurrected, embodied believers (Matt. 8:11). c) The Kingdom and Community - We can extend this Great Feast into our lives and community, being obedient to the very Eucharistic words: giving thanks, receiving the creation, valuing the work of human hands, and feasting in peace and fellowship.
Gregg Strawbridge, Ph.D., is the pastor of All Saints Church in Lancaster, PA. He became a committed follower of Jesus Christ at age 20, discipled in the context of a University Navigator Ministry. As a result of personal discipleship he went on to study at Columbia Biblical Seminary (M.A., Columbia, SC, 1990), as well as a Ph.D. in education and philosophy... read more