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A Meal with Jesus: Discovering Grace, Community, and Mission Around the Table

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  1,159 ratings  ·  158 reviews
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
Paperback, 143 pages
Published April 7th 2011 by Crossway Books (first published April 5th 2011)
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 ·  1,159 ratings  ·  158 reviews

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Valerie Kyriosity
Jan 30, 2013 rated it liked it
I was really excited to read this book, and I really wanted to love it, but I just kinda didn't. I didn't hate it either, and there was certainly some good stuff in there, but it didn't offer the inspiration and encouragement I'd hoped for. That may be my fault -- I may have been wanting it to be something other than what it was, and therefore rendered myself unable to appreciate it.

I think what was most lacking was illustrative stories. How does eating together change us and our world? This
Becky Pliego
Excellent book. I read it on Kindle but enjoyed it so much that I want to re-read it in paper! My only problem (big disagreement with Chester) is his view on the Lord's Supper.

NOTE: I read it on the paper for the second time in April 2013. Read it again on 2015.

I appreciate that Chester in the second chapter of his book (p.52) deals with the issue of excommunication.

Here are a few of my favorite quotes:

"Food matters. Meal matters. meals are full of significance. 'Few acts are more expressive of
Douglas Wilson
Feb 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
Really worthwhile. A lot of good stuff in here. There were some meh moments also, but it was good.
Aimee Byrd
Aug 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
If you thought I was through with my passion to learn about the eschatological factor of feasting, especially how it is portrayed in the gospel of Luke, you are sadly mistaken. Interestingly, I can be the same way with my theology as I am with food. I seem to have a propensity to get hooked to the point where I begin weaving my new cravings into all kinds of recipes. It takes a long time for me to move on. Currently, I am in an avocado, asparagus, jalapeno, coconut, and peanut butter ice cream ...more
Jesvin Jose
Mar 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
All of us spend a lot time eating and drinking. But not many of us think of meals as opportunities for grace, community and mission. In A Meal with Jesus: Discovering Grace, Community & Mission around the Table, Tim Chester explains in 6 chapters how the meals of Jesus in the gospel of Luke embody grace, community, hope, mission, salvation and promise. Indeed, meals were pivotal to Jesus work on earth and were the medium he used to relate to people. We will often find Jesus reclining at ...more
Read in our college CE class at church. Didn't finish until the summer.

I love the way books like this take seemingly mundane topics (food/eating) and show their theological significance. Books like this are powerfully formative and can reshape people's thinking in significant ways. Leithart's Blessed Are the Hungry is mentioned/cited a lot.

Introduction: The Son of Man Came Eating and Drinking
9: expressing appreciation for food can be "an involuntary exclamation of delight"; meals are
Will Barbour
Jan 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
"Jesus got himself killed because of the way he ate."(30) I never noticed how food was such a central feature of Christ's ministry (he came "eating and drinking" says Lk 7:34) and portrayed so much about his mission and identity as the true Moses and better Elijah. This book was thought-provoking in multiple ways for me. I never realized Jesus received hospitality more than he gave it (96). I never thought much of how (and what) Jesus ate while he was on earth. I never considered how church ...more

And I tend not to overhighlight in general, but sat down wanting to really process this one. Know what I had questions about, wanted to come back to, what resonated with me. Found that most pages were highlighted in multiple places. Its that good.

And reading it doesnt leave you feeling either crummy about yourself for what youre not doing or better about yourself for what you already believe. It was challenging without being preachy and exegetical without being academic.
Kara Larson
May 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wow did I love this book read for the College Sunday School at Redeemer! From the beginning surprise reminder that Jesus didnt just come to seek and save the lost but also eating and drinking which is the foundation of these chapters which teach us lessons through the various accounts of Christ eating in the gospels.

I loved the reminder that Jesus, coming to earth in humanity, also humbled himself by needing or replying on food/eating.

Ive also spend many hours contemplating the ideas of
Nathan Chapman
Sep 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: theology
This book was really good. I was skeptical when I first picked it up because I think we have downplayed the importance and spirituality of food in America, but so glad that I did. I don't think I will ever read the Book of Luke the same. I think I will read Jesus through a different lens and my personal walk with Jesus will reflect principles that I found in this book. I would recommend any Christian to read this book.
Jul 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: food
This book had not only detailed observations about the spiritual significance of food and meals but also wonderful thoughts into the importance of community and ministry of hospitality. The overlap of theology and practice of eating with others intentionally is explained in fascinating depth. I am not a foodie or an avid cook, but I am inspired from reading this to give more thought into the role of food in faith and serving God rather than having only a pure utilitarian attitude. This book is ...more
May 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Andrea Bond
Apr 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Four stars bc this book makes some excellent points and draws from scripture to support those points. It does get a little wordy and redundant in places but well worth the read!
May 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
After reading this book, I have to ask: Should we be serving wine at church instead of coffee?

Here's a book that actually makes the Christian life feel much simpler and more obvious than we've made it. Forget the anxieties that a book like Crazy Love can produce. Read A Meal with Jesus and you'll walk away with the realization that Jesus' method can be our method: Just eat with people. Take the time to prepare food and sit down to eat it with others and in doing so get to know your neighbors,
Adam Bradley
Jan 31, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: theology
I feel I should apologize for only giving this book three stars. It really is very good, and succeeds at what it tries to do. My only real complaint is that it falls short of what it could, indeed should, have been.

Strictly from the perspective of content, I agree with much Tim Chester has to say in this book, particularly with his (too brief, in my opinion) criticism of the ritualization of the Lord's Supper/Eucharist/Communion in our churches. "We're the group in town whose central meal
Cho Yim
Sep 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
4 stars only because it had some insightful moments and because it has such unique content.
Really appreciated how it encourages meal times as an opportunity to live out the gospel and get into the life of others. Definitely was thought-provoking in seeing how Jesus used meals and what meals represent. I feel as though meals have lost so much of its value since many like to eat alone these days watching TV shows instead and dis-engaging from the community. However, meals promote community and
Jan 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
A great book dealing with the centrality of meals in the gospel story with a particular focus on Luke. Chester does a good job showing the importance of hospitality for Christians and does so in an encouraging way.
Jun 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
A great book by an author I was unfamiliar with but really have enjoyed. Lots to think on and encourage the reader. Especially loved chapter two!
Stephen Temple
I liked this book. It set forward a great model of Christian living around a meal table. A lot of what we do as community and fellowship is done around foodwhat a great opportunity to use that time to live out Gospel truths. The introduction really explains the entire principle behind the whole book; this book belongs to the same vein of thinking as Ordinary by Horton: it is through the everyday, ordinary act of eating around a table that we do community, mission, grace etc. Tim Chester spends ...more
Jan 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: theology
I already hinted around about my review of A Meal with Jesus here (Missional Living: A Meal for the Sake of the Gospel). Over the last year the Spirit is really moving my heart into a deeper understanding of the gospel. Three themes have contributed to this growth in my own life: racism, adoption, and food. These three are all connected directly to our understanding of the gospel and how that looks practically. I would argue it looks primarily like a family. A Meal for Jesus is an exposition of ...more
Eliza Barnett
Mar 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
What are the Christian communitys meals for? They achieve many things. They express so much of Gods grace. They provide a glimpse of what its like to live under Gods reign. They express and reinforce the community that Christ has created through the cross. Theyre a foretaste of the new creation. Theyre a great context in which to invite unbelievers so they encounter the reality of God among us. But theyre not for any of these things. Its a trick questions.
Everything else creation, redemption,
May 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
A bit dry and hard to read at times, but this book has some good, thought-provoking nuggets.

"Meals bring mission into the ordinary. But that's where most people are-living in the ordinary. That's where we need to go to reach them. We too readily think of mission as extraordinary. Perhaps that's because we find it awkward to talk about Jesus outside a church gathering. Perhaps it's because we think God moves through the spectacular rather than the witness of people like us. Perhaps it's because
Aug 30, 2018 rated it liked it
This book wasn't exactly what I expected, but I wasn't really sure what to expect. I think I went into it assuming it would be a biblically-grounded practical guide to using meals to care for and reach others the way Jesus did. In reality, it was what seemed like six sermons on Jesus' meals in Luke's gospel spun into a book with very little practical guidance other than to have meals with other people. Not necessarily bad, just different.

The chapters (sermons) didn't seem to be making one
Jeffrey Brannen
Nov 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christian, religion
Main question of the book: In a post-Christian world, what is the role of hospitality in evangelism and living as a faithful community of Christ?

Using this as the basis of a six week Sunday School study on the topic of hospitality. The pastor would discuss for 15 minutes the chapter and passage under consideration and then two couples were invited to speak about their own practice of hospitality and meals. Extremely edifying and moving format.

Six smallish chapters each focusing on one key
Hayli Brewer
Feb 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Jesus didnt run projects, establish ministries, create programs, or put on events. He ate meals. If you routinely share meals and you have a passion for Jesus, then youll be doing mission. Its not the meals that save people. People are saved by the gospel message. But meals will create natural opportunities to share that message in a context that resonates powerfully with what you're saying.
If you have any excuse why you arent living your life on mission, this book takes it away. I leave reading
Oct 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: theology
An investigation of the role of food in Christian community and evangelism. It was surprising to me that the Bible addresses the subject of food quite often. Though the overall focus of this small book is practical, Chester also develops a mini-theology of food and eating that begs further investigation. Pastoral in nature, and sometimes a bit haughty in tone, the book is a small and inspirational guide to approaching eating as a devotional engagement with God and a more intentional engagement ...more
Jul 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I expected this book to be an encouragement in hospitality, about how we should feast with others because fellowship happens around a table. It was this, but it was much, much more. I came away with a desire to practice radical love, a more healthy & appreciative view of food, and an appreciation for just how important eating & drinking with people was in Jesus' life. It offered such a beautiful picture of celebrating the Lord's goodness now and looking forward to celebrating with Him ...more
David Meldrum
A really excellent, accessible and well-applied study of the importance of meals in Scripture - particularly though not exclusively in the Gospel Of Luke. Draws out the depths of the ideas clearly, and leaves plenty of room for exploration of the idea, along with good examples of how to live this out in church life. A good resource for a group of Christians looking to explore an important theme, or as a basis for a preaching series (which is how I came to the book).
Jan 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
"When you combine a passion for Jesus with shared meals, you create potent gospel opportunities." A short read but it packs a big punch. This is not a book merely meant for people to be more hospitable. Nor is this a book that says we just need to throw more parties and eat more good food. Looking, primarily, at the meals of Jesus in Luke's gospel, Tim Chester challenges the reader to consider a theology of God as seen through the table and shared meals.
Bryan Kuranaga
Feb 07, 2019 rated it liked it
I am encouraged and challenged to think more deeply about food and my relationship to it. I also see the necessity behind hosting and inviting people to share a meal with my family and I. I have been challenged by this book to "take pause" before I eat and thank God for all the people involved in the food gathering/preparation. I have realized how I have taken [and still do take] food for granted.
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Dr Tim Chester is involved in The Crowded House, a church planting initiative in Sheffield, UK. He was previously Research & Policy Director for Tearfund UK, and has been published widely on prayer, mission, social issues and theology. He is married to Helen and has two daughters.

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