So you're sitting there hanging out with your friends. There's some decent wine, some laughs, some food and maybe some stories being passed around the table.
The doorbell rings. Surprise, it's Jesus!
You're like, "No way!"
He's like, "Yes way!"
You briefly exchange a hug as you explain how you "just can't believe" it's really him.
Then looking towards the fridge he asks, "so whatcha got to eat?"
36 While they were talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 37 They were startled and terrified, and thought that they were seeing a ghost. 38 He said to them, “Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39 Look at my hands and my feet; see that it is I myself. Touch me and see; for a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” 40 And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. 41 While in their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” 42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43 and he took it and ate in their presence.
So what's up with Jesus, huh? I mean, doesn't it seem a little rude to just show up unannounced for a get-together and raid the pantry? While plenty of people would be quick to say that this is just Luke trying to help the readers understand that Jesus' resurrection was bodily, I think that there's more going on here than just proving Jesus' resurrected body had a stomach.
Jesus is a foodie apparently. All throughout Luke's gospel, we find Jesus eating and feeding. Here's the general breakdown:
Luke 5, Jesus eats with tax collectors and sinners.
Luke 7, Jesus anointed during a meal.
Luke 9, Jesus feeds the five-thousand.
Luke 10, Jesus eats with Mary and Martha.
Luke 11, Jesus criticizes Pharisees and teachers during a meal.
Luke 14, While eating Jesus tells a parable about eating to teach others to invite the poor to eat with them.
Luke 19, Jesus invites himself to a meal with Zachaeus
Luke 22, Jesus' last meal.
Luke 24, You know...
The portrayal of Jesus in Luke's gospel is one that kind of pictures Jesus as a social butterfly: going from meal to meal and mingling with everyone around. I mean, he's even called a "glutton and a drunkard" (Luke 7:34). Luke's Jesus was pretty much a party animal. Of course, Jesus isn't just a foodie because he likes to eat (though I'm sure he did); Jesus is a foodie because meals offer moments of transformational opportunities. Of these opportunities, one that is most profound is radical hospitality.
From the very beginning of Luke's gospel in 2:7, the hospitality of God is displayed by serving Jesus to us on plate (an animals trough). Later in 22:19 Jesus serves us himself as bread to be eaten. Yet, it's not all about ourselves being served but back in Luke 14, Jesus gives one of his biggest food-teachings about how we are to serve each other. Here, Jesus is eating at a Pharisees house when they start to talk about a great eschatological banquet feast in the kingdom of God. Jesus proceeds to tell a parable about who will be invited. He says, "the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind" will be the ones invited to feast. Jesus is saying that radical hospitality is a fundamental key to cultivating the kingdom of god.
This is the kind of message that meals convey. Meals offer an opportunity for grace, radical inclusion, and social justice for "the other" within society. Food is for Luke the perfect tool for bringing about the kind of "kingdom of god" that Jesus spoke of. If so much of Jesus' teaching could be understood and practiced through hospitable eating, then it makes sense why Jesus would come back from the dead and ask for something to eat. Jesus is reaffirming the message he had been teaching them by letting them become hosts to him; and he was after all an outcast, a stain on society that was presumably eradicated and killed off.
After all maybe it makes sense that Jesus would crash your party and eat your food. He's not just trying to eat off your own plate, but perhaps Jesus is trying to reaffirm his message of radical hospitality and remind the disciples that they can still see the kingdom of God cultivated in their community.