Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Book Review: A Meal With Jesus by Tim Chester

It has been a while since a book so surprised and delighted me as did A Meal With Jesus by Tim Chester. The way in which something so mundane and average as a meal was vested with such theological depth and significance was astounding. And yet, Tim is only following in the pattern that Jesus set in his ministry. He has found the gospel in the grub, or as the subtitle puts it: "Discovering grace, community, and mission around the table".
Jesus is called "a glutton and drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners." This is why eating and drinking were so important in the mission of Jesus: they were a sign of his friendship with tax collectors and sinners. His "excess" of food and "excess" of grace a linked. In the ministry of Jesus, meals were enacted grace, community and mission. So the meals of Jesus represent something bigger. They represent a new world, a new kingdom, a new outlook. But they give that new reality substance. Jesus's meals are not just symbols; they're also application. They're not just pictures; they're the real thing in miniature. (p. 14)
This book has been a very timely one for me as I am just about to make a shift in my community group from one that was very content-heavy to one that is more community-driven (I know, where'd I come up with it, right?). The only unfortunate part to changing our format is that I can't make this book required reading.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5 stars

Recommended for: Ministry leaders, especially small group leaders, anyone looking for a fresh read from the usual Christian fare

Westminster Bookstore has A Meal With Jesus at the best internet price I could find: $10.04 (33% off)

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