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Week Five | Come to the Table

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Week Five | Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus Online Book Study
Reading Assignment – Ch. 9 & 10
Scripture Passage: Psalm 23:4-5, NIV
Listen to the Audio version | Read time 10.5-minutes

Come to the Table

Growing up some of my fondest memories are of the times we would spend with extended family on Sundays.  After church we would gather at my great grandparent’s farm for time together and a home cooked meal.  

As we sat around their small table and said grace, there were no distractions.  Times were simpler.  Cell phones weren’t readily available and my grandparents only had a small rarely used TV in their living room, so our focus was solely on the meal we were sharing and the time we were spending together.  

In our Western world, meals have become an opportunity to simply fuel our bodies.

“In our rush-rush world, many of us dine alone or while doing something else.  Of course, we still have our celebrations with family and friends, but the habit of leisurely family mealtimes has almost become extinct.  We’ve lost the close tie that for centuries has existed between food and community.  Maybe it’s time for us to restore this dimension to our daily lives, sitting down together in order to celebrate our relationship with God and others.”

ann spangler & lois tverberg, sitting at the feet of rabbi jesus

So, what would it look like to take a more Biblical approach to coming to the table?  Before we can answer that, we must first understand the significance of sharing meals and how we can connect with God and each other during each one.

Discovering Jesus in the Jewish Feasts

In the Jewish culture there are seven biblical feasts that are still celebrated today.  If you’re like me, you have probably seen their names in scripture, but also on your phone calendar.  Even though I have seen their names, I never truly knew their purpose until reading chapter nine of Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus.  

“The Lord said to Moses, “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘These are my appointed festivals, the appointed festivals of the Lord, which you are to proclaim as sacred assemblies.”
Leviticus 23:1-3, NIV

The seven feasts in the order they are celebrated are Passover, Unleavened Bread, Firstfruits, Pentecost (Shavuot), Feast of Trumpets (Rosh Hashanah), Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), and Feast of Tabernacles.  These feasts are “multilayered and rich in significance, pointing toward the saving work of Christ”. (pg. 121)

These feasts each hold a significant purpose, but the feasts as a whole were an opportunity for Israelites to celebrate their past, acknowledge how God provides in the present, and rejoice in all that is to come in the future.  

Through these feasts,

“You see Abraham ready to plunge a knife into the breast of his son Isaac.  You watch with relief as an angel intervenes, providing a ram to take Isaac’s place on the altar.  You see the Israelites smearing blood on their doorposts in haste as death sweeps Egypt into mournful darkness.  You see Jesus- in Gethsemane, betrayed by one of his own, and on the cross in agony, and then standing serenely outside the defeated, empty tomb.  Finally, you realize something of what God was doing all along, performing the greatest of all wonders by giving us his only Son, the Lamb of God, who is Christ himself.”

ann spangler & lois tverberg, sitting at the feet of rabbi jesus

At Table with the Rabbi

“Many biblical scenes in both the Old and New Testaments take place around meals.”


The biggest part of these biblical feasts were the presence of hospitality.  If you joined us for our last study, Jesus & Women, by Kristi McLelland, you may remember how hospitality is a way of honor in Middle Eastern societies.  So the providing and inviting in to a meal was expected.  

What was the significance of coming to the table together?  

“For them, the table was much more than a place to eat.  It was a place of mutual trust and vulnerability.  Sitting down at the same table with someone meant that you shared a protected relationship with them.  Whom you ate with revealed something about who you were, showing to whom you belong.”


This is even more significant when you remember that Jesus frequently ate with the poor, the sinners, the tax collectors.  

The word table itself could also hold a different meaning.  To the Israelites, table could have meant family and friends.  Table fellowship meant coming together with those that you loved and trusted to share not only a meal, but discussion of scripture as well.  

Imagine for a moment if your Sabbath meals took on the same image.  Coming together with your friends, family, trusted individuals, and sharing a distraction-free meal.  Sitting alongside those who mean the most to you, who you vow to protect, and discussing scripture.  What would it look like for your Sabbath to resemble those of Jesus’ time?

Dining with Jesus

When reading the scriptures I am often in awe of the experiences that those who showed hospitality to Jesus would have beheld.  How speechless they may have been, reclined at the table, sharing table fellowship with their Savior.

In Revelations 3:20 (NIV), Jesus says, “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 that person, and they with me”. 

When the Lord talks about dining with us, He does not only mean to join us at our table to share a meal.

“He is inviting us into an intimate relationship that is to be celebrated by a meal together.”


So, what would it look like to take a more biblical approach to coming to the table?  

  • Show hospitality.  Invite those around you, including the “sinners and tax collectors” to join you at your table.  
  • Be free of distractions.  Turn off or silence your cell phone, join together at the table and partake in the meal together. 
  • Past, present, and future. Take time to celebrate your past, praise God for His provisions in the present, and rejoice for what is to come in the future. 
  • Discuss Scripture.  Spend time in prayer and discussion about scripture.  
  • Invite God to your table.  Your table, your life, your heart, your mind.  Say yes to the intimate relationship with God. 
Let’s recap…

Today we learned:
– The Lord commanded that the Israelites partake in seven biblical feasts, each one serving a specific purpose.
– The feasts are a way to celebrate the past, be thankful in the present, and rejoice for the future. 
– The feasts signify the saving work of Christ.
– Many biblical scenes take place around meals.

What is the most joyful celebration you remember, either as an adult or as a child? What made it such a joyful experience?  How often do you sit down with your family and share a distraction-free meal?  What would it look like for you to restore the practice of the Sabbath as discussed in Chapter 10?

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Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus | Lois Tverberg

A 7-week study to change the way you read Scripture and deepen your understanding of the life of Jesus, by taking a fascinating tour of the Jewish world of Jesus, offering inspirational insights that can
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