Read Part 1.
In the early years of church history, there were men who denied the true humanity of Jesus. They were the Docetists, a significant branch of Gnosticism. They considered it blasphemous to imagine an infinite, holy, transcendent God contaminating Himself by assuming human flesh. This attitude reflected Greek philosophy, which held that matter is evil and that only the mind and spirit are good.
This was a deadly heresy that was confronted head-on by the Holy Spirit in the New Testament Scriptures, especially in the writings of John. Note, for example, this statement: “By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God” (1 John 4:2). And, “many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist” (2 John 7).
The creation account in Genesis assures us that every physical, material thing God ever created, including the human body, was “very good” (Gen. 1:31). Moral, ethical evil is found in man’s heart (the center of rational thought, moral choices and self consciousness), not his body: “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries…” (Matt. 15:19; cf. 12:34).
The Apostle Paul echoes this thought with regard to those who follow demonic doctrines, such as “commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused” (1 Tim. 4:3, 4).
Doctor Luke, “the beloved physician” (Col. 4:14), Paul’s frequent travel companion and medical helper, was especially fascinated by the physical body that Jesus manifested after His resurrection from the dead. Luke assures us that it was “Jesus Himself [who] stood in the midst of them” having passed through the locked door into their hiding place (Luke 24:36). It was not “a spirit” that looked like Jesus (Luke 24:37-39).
To demonstrate the genuineness of His physical body, the now-glorified Christ said to them: “‘Have you any food here?’ So they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish and some honeycomb. And He took it and ate in their presence” (Luke 24:41-43). The way He partook of this food immediately reminded them of the many times they had shared meals with Him during the previous three years.
Similarly, the two disciples on the road to Emmaus “knew Him” when “as He sat at the table with them…He took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them” (Luke 24:30, 31). Something about His gestures and mannerisms at meal times in His public ministry fully confirmed His identity to them.
There were no fast food restaurants in ancient Israel. Meal times were special occasions to get acquainted with people. It is significant, therefore, that our Lord “presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them [the apostles] during forty days” (Acts 1:3). It is often overlooked that one of these “infallible proofs” of His true identity was the way He “assembled together with them” (Acts 1:4), literally, “shared salt [i.e., ate] with them.”
The Apostle Peter never forgot these precious meal times with the resurrected Savior. In his message to the Roman centurion Cornelius (and his relatives and friends), Peter said: “Him God raised up on the third day, and showed Him openly, not to all the people, but to witnesses chosen before by God, even to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead” (Acts 10:40, 41).
Our Lord Jesus Christ thus demonstrated most convincingly that He was the same person as the One who died on the cross.
But the greatest recognition and appreciation meal with our Lord is still in the future. On that occasion, at the beginning of the millennial kingdom on the earth, He will partake again of the juice of grapes. He announced to His apostles, “I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom” (Matt. 26:29).
Pointedly, He assured them “that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom” (Luke 22:30).
But who else will be invited? Unbelievers will be excluded – by their own choice. Nevertheless, there will an enormous number of participants, including “Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets… They will come from the east and the west, from the north and the south, and sit down in the kingdom of God” (Luke 13:28, 29).
Soon after He had said this, our Lord “went into the house of one of the rulers of the Pharisees to eat bread” (Luke 14:1). After telling His host how guests should be invited on an impartial basis, “When one of those who sat at the table with Him heard these things, he said to Him, ‘Blessed is he who shall eat bread in the kingdom of God!’” (Luke 14:15).
That was the providential opportunity for the Lord Jesus to give His parable of the great supper. Sadly, in this amazing parable, our Lord described those who declined the gracious invitation with unbelievable excuses. He then concluded, “The master of the house, being angry, said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in here the poor and the maimed and the lame and the blind… For I say to you that none of those men who were invited shall taste my supper’” (Luke 14:21, 24).
It was not that the invitation was unclear or that the menu was questionable. The defining issue was a lack of desire to bond personally with “the master of the house.”
Isaiah gives us even more information about that great kingdom banquet and its ultimate purpose:
“And in this mountain
The LORD of hosts will make for all people
A feast of choice pieces,
A feast of wines on the lees,
Of fat things full of marrow,
Of well-refined wines on the lees.” (Isa. 25:6)
But note the purpose and outcome of this stupendous banquet:
“And He will destroy on this mountain
The surface of the covering cast over all people,
And the veil that is spread over all nations.
He will swallow up death forever,
And the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces;
The rebuke of His people
He will take away from all the earth;
For the LORD has spoken.
And it will be said in that day:
‘Behold, this is our God;
We have waited for Him, and He will save us.
This is the LORD;
We have waited for Him;
We will be glad and rejoice in His salvation’” (Isa. 25:7-9).
Yes, at the dawn of the kingdom age, on the occasion of the great banquet,
“They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain,
For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD
As the waters cover the sea.” (Isa. 11:9)
Thus, “No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more” (Jer. 31:34).
He will not be a mere theophany. No one will question that the Savior truly rose from the dead with a glorified body as the God-man forever.
It will be like that never-to-be-forgotten meal with two disciples on the road to Emmaus, when the Lord Jesus “took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they knew Him” (Luke 24:30, 31).