Luke 24: 41-42
41While in their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” 42They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43and he took it and ate in their presence.
Today’s scripture abounds with potential sermon themes.
I hate that.
The endless possibilities practically overwhelm me: hospitality, seeing Jesus in the stranger, walking with Jesus, one’s faith journey, living out the resurrection, witness, believing, seeing, breaking bread, the eucharist. You name it, it’s in Luke 24:13-49. Ugh.
But the biggest problem for me isn’t the overwhelming number of sermon wannabes as much as the fact that I don’t even like any of them. They feel worn out. Tired. It’s sort of how I feel when preaching the prodigal son– I just can’t drum up one more even vaguely original word.
To make matters worse, as I jot down my first thoughts upon reading the scripture, I feel myself drifting off. I’m sure Fred Craddock would agree that if the pastor drifts off when writing the sermon, the congregation can be counted on for a communal snore.
The only line in the entire 36 line text that grabs me at all is when Jesus says “Do you have anything to eat?” How often have I stood in front of the open door of our refrigerator only to conclude we have nothing to eat (a very American consumerism conclusion of course–the more accurate statement is “we don’t have anything I want to eat”). Or what about when it is time to make dinner and Don and I look at each other and say “is there anything in the house to cook?” We’re usually on our way home from somewhere and unfortunately the question ends in our swerving the car into the closest restaurant, when we really should swerve into Hyvee and buy real food and go home prepare it.
There is some consensus among the commentaries that Jesus asks for food because the desire for food, and the subsequent eating of it (no one discusses digestion and elimination but maybe that’s OK), would prove that he was a flesh and blood human and not a ghost. Jesus’s request for food was a clear demonstration of the glory of God, the reality of the resurrection, and the nearness of the Kingdom.
Actually, I think he was hungry. And he did what we all do when we’re hungry– he opened the refrigerator door and stood in front of it. Well, in a 1st century kind of way. He asked the age-old question “do we have anything to eat?” And his friends gave him food and he ate it and they probably ate also. And then suddenly everything was right between them. They were friends again. They gave him food and he opened their minds. He opened their minds and they believed. He said, “Now it’s time for you guys to carry on without me.” And they did.
What are you eating tonight?
See You in the Pews,