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The Foretaste of the Feast to Come

Feasting and the imagery of meals are common in the Bible.  These are used to show that the people are in relationship and fellowship with God.  This is why the Old Testament Covenants were concluded with meals.  This is why so many of the Old Testament sacrifices also included a meal.  Likewise, the New Testament is sealed with a meal – the Lord’s Supper.  But that is not the only meal the New Testament points to.  The New Testament also points us forward to a great feast to come.

This feast to come is alluded to in many places, including Matthew 8:10-12, Luke 13:22-30, and Luke 14:15-24.  These texts, as well as others, depict a coming feast in heaven when we will eat with all of the Saints who have ever lived.  It is a meal of celebration like no other.  Revelation 19:6-9 goes a step further and describes this as “the marriage supper of the Lamb.”  What a wonderful, beautiful image of heaven and the new creation, but as a huge feast with our God!

But what about now?  Are we left to just live in the hope of this feast to come?  What about a foretaste?  It would be nice to have something to give us a little bit of this feast and an assurance that the feast is truly coming.

You know, sometimes the best turkey you will ever taste is actually the little bits you snatch in the kitchen before the actual Thanksgiving meal; taken from the turkey as it is being carved.  There is something extra special because it not only gives you a taste, but it promises more to come.

Jesus, in His institution of the Lord’s Supper ties it directly with that feast to come.  Consider Luke 22:15-20:

And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, “Take this, and divide it among yourselves. For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood. (ESV)

Notice how Jesus’ next big meal will be the marriage feast in the kingdom of God.  Is this just Jesus’ way of saying that it will be a while before He gets to feast with His people?  No, Jesus is in fact tying these two meals together.  While we live in wait for the great marriage feast of the Lamb, we have the foretaste in the Lord’s Supper.

Granted, the little wafer of bread and the sip of wine hardly seem like a feast to us, or even a gourmet sampling, yet it is here that we receive the grandest of all possible fare: Jesus!  This supper is given to us to feed us now, but also to whet our appetites for the greater feast to come.

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