Eat. Drink. Change Lives.
Eat. Drink. Change Lives.
That’s Cafe Momentum’s tagline. Many of the staff members at this stellar Dallas restaurant are young people who have spent time in juvenile facilities. Through Cafe Momentum they rotate through aspects of the restaurant to learn life and job skills and gain confidence. I love their mission, and the food is amazing, too. Every time I am there, I have flashbacks to college as a dishwasher for a fancy restaurant and as a server at Outback Steakhouse. Restaurant work is hard work.
To some degree, the Cafe Momentum tagline could be adopted by the Church. Eat. Drink. Change Lives. Woven through the ancient story of our God is a theme around religious feasts involving eating, drinking, and changing lives. As we prepare our hearts for Easter to celebrate the redeeming work of Christ on the cross, it only makes sense to take a look at what the bible has to say about Passover meal because Jesus is our Passover.
"Observe the month Abib and keep the Passover to the Lord your God, for in that month he brought you out of Egypt by night. You must sacrifice the Passover animal (from the flock or the herd) to the Lord your God in the place where he chooses to locate his name. You must not eat any yeast with it; for seven days you must eat bread made without yeast, symbolic of affliction, for you came out of Egypt hurriedly. You must do this so you will remember for the rest of your life the day you came out of the land of Egypt." Deuteronomy 16:1-3 (NET)
God rescued the Israelites from slavery, oppression, powerlessness, abuse, ridicule, and grueling manual labor. And then he told them to celebrate and remember their exodus for the rest of their life with an annual feast.
He commanded them to eat, drink, and remember their lives had been forever changed. That's the purpose of Passover.
"The Jewish world of Jesus' day buzzed with speculation. Their great traditions told the story of the childless nomad Abraham, called by God to start a family through which the world would be rescued. This people would learn firsthand what rescue meant, since they would be enslaved in Egypt before being delivered by God in the Passover. God himself would lead them through the Red Sea, through years of wandering in the desert, until they finally inherited their promised land. That event (the exodus) remained central to Jewish life and thought. It shaped, and continues to shape, how Jews saw and see the world. It speaks of the one true God making himself known in power, defeating the powers of evil, and rescuing his people. It speaks of what, in later scriptures, came to be called the kingdom of God." N. T. Wright, Simply Good News.
The day before Jesus was crucified, we find Jesus and his disciples celebrating Passover by eating, drinking, and celebrating changed lives. God is rescuing us, too, along with all of creation through the final exodus...we call him Jesus.
"Now on the first day of the feast of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover lamb is sacrificed, Jesus’ disciples said to him, 'Where do you want us to prepare for you to eat the Passover?' He sent two of his disciples and told them, 'Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him. Wherever he enters, tell the owner of the house, "The Teacher says, 'Where is my guest room where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?”’ He will show you a large room upstairs, furnished and ready. Make preparations for us there.' So the disciples left, went into the city, and found things just as he had told them, and they prepared the Passover. While they were eating, he took bread, and after giving thanks he broke it, gave it to them, and said, 'Take it. This is my body.' And after taking the cup and giving thanks, he gave it to them, and they all drank from it. He said to them, 'This is my blood, the blood of the covenant, that is poured out for many. I tell you the truth, I will no longer drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.' After singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives." Mark 14:12-16, 22-26 (NET)
Now, as a true foodie, I have a very important question: What were they eating during this Passover meal?
“‘On the fourteenth day of the first month is the Lord’s Passover. And on the fifteenth day of this month is the festival. For seven days bread made without yeast must be eaten. And on the first day there is to be a holy assembly; you must do no ordinary work on it. But you must offer to the Lord an offering made by fire, a burnt offering of two young bulls, one ram, and seven lambs one year old; they must all be unblemished. And their grain offering is to be of finely ground flour mixed with olive oil. For each bull you must offer three-tenths of an ephah, and two-tenths for the ram. For each of the seven lambs you are to offer one-tenth of an ephah, as well as one goat for a purification offering, to make atonement for you. You must offer these in addition to the burnt offering in the morning which is for a continual burnt offering. In this manner you must offer daily throughout the seven days the food of the sacrifice made by fire as a sweet aroma to the Lord. It is to be offered in addition to the continual burnt offering and its drink offering. On the seventh day you are to have a holy assembly, you must do no regular work.'" Numbers 28:16-25 (NET)
As soon as I knew what they were eating and not eating this verse came to mind: "Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast affects the whole batch of dough? Clean out the old yeast so that you may be a new batch of dough—you are, in fact, without yeast. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. So then, let us celebrate the festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of vice and evil, but with the bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth." 1 Corinthians 5:6-8 (NET)
Christ our Passover has been sacrificed. It’s done. Whatever sin you’re dealing with today, WHATEVER it is, Jesus Christ’s death was the sacrifice for that thing in your life.
"For I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that our fathers were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they were all drinking from the spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ. But God was not pleased with most of them, for they were cut down in the wilderness. These things happened as examples for us, so that we will not crave evil things as they did. So do not be idolaters, as some of them were. As it is written, 'The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.' And let us not be immoral, as some of them were, and twenty-three thousand died in a single day. And let us not put Christ to the test, as some of them did, and were destroyed by snakes. And do not complain, as some of them did, and were killed by the destroying angel. These things happened to them as examples and were written for our instruction, on whom the ends of the ages have come. So let the one who thinks he is standing be careful that he does not fall. No trial has overtaken you that is not faced by others. And God is faithful: He will not let you be tried beyond what you are able to bear, but with the trial will also provide a way out so that you may be able to endure it. So then, my dear friends, flee from idolatry. I am speaking to thoughtful people. Consider what I say. Is not the cup of blessing that we bless a sharing in the blood of Christ? Is not the bread that we break a sharing in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all share the one bread." 1 Corinthians 10:1-17 (NASB)
Do any of these apply to you?
- I feel like I am in a wilderness
- I’m craving things I don’t want to crave
- I have idols
- I’m immoral
- I’m testing God
- I grumble often
Maybe you’re dealing with jealousy, envy, comparison, lying, lust, adultery, pornography, or gossip. Just remember…"No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it. Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. I speak as to wise men; you judge what I say. Is not the cup of blessing which we bless a sharing in the blood of Christ? Is not the bread which we break a sharing in the body of Christ? Since there is one bread, we who are many are one body; for we all partake of the one bread." 1 Corinthians 10:13-17 (NET)