Note from Jesus
The fellowship of My disciples as they gather around a table for a meal is a precious and holy time. This meal can be a common meal or Holy Communion. Any time My disciples gather in My name to “break bread” (1 Corinthians 10:16) and remember Me, their time together can be a sacramental experience. Each meal can be a holy time when I join with you in fellowship (Matthew 18:20).
Your verses today remind you of the power of this kind of holy moment. The verses talk about holy meals in four contexts:
- I join two disciples on the road to Emmaus during the late afternoon after My resurrection, and they recognize Me when I “break bread” and share it with them.
- The first believers in Jerusalem get together to “break bread” regularly in the temple and daily in their homes.
- Paul reminds the Corinthians of the essence of Holy Communion, the Lord‘s Supper.
- Paul shares a holy meal with the 276 men — prisoners, soldiers, and ship’s crew — on the storm-tossed ship on his way to Rome.
Please recognize that meals can always be a holy and sacred time. As you eat, no matter where you find yourself or with whom you share the meal, invite Me to join you. Recognize that I long to share this table fellowship time with you. Realize that our time together can be a sacramental moment of grace. Bread is never just bread when you gather in My name, remember what I have done for you, and enjoy the presence of others. I long to be made known to you as you “break bread”!
Verses to Live
These verses speak of several different kinds of meals and several different types of people gathered to share the meals. Each of these occasions is a holy time that brings grace and restores life because I AM a part of the gathering.
Picture this [as Jesus meets disciples on the road to Emmaus after His resurrection]:
That same day, two other disciples (not of the eleven) are traveling the seven miles from Jerusalem to Emmaus. As they walk along, they talk back and forth about all that has transpired during recent days. While they’re talking, discussing, and conversing, Jesus catches up to them and begins walking with them, but for some reason they don’t recognize Him.
You two seem deeply engrossed in conversation. What are you talking about as you walk along this road?
They stop walking and just stand there, looking sad. One of them — Cleopas is his name — speaks up.
You must be the only visitor in Jerusalem who hasn’t heard about what’s been going on over the last few days.
What are you talking about?
It’s all about the man named Jesus of Nazareth. He was a mighty prophet Who did amazing miracles and preached powerful messages in the sight of God and everyone around. Our chief priests and authorities handed Him over to be executed — crucified, in fact.
We had been hoping that He was the One — you know, the One Who would liberate all Israel and bring God’s promises. Anyway, on top of all this, just this morning — the third day after the execution — some women in our group really shocked us. They went to the tomb early this morning, but they didn’t see His body anywhere. Then they came back and told us they did see something — a vision of heavenly messengers — and these messengers said that Jesus was alive. Some people in our group went to the tomb to check it out, and just as the women had said, it was empty. But they didn’t see Jesus.
Come on, men! Why are you being so foolish? Why are your hearts so sluggish when it comes to believing what the prophets have been saying all along? Didn’t it have to be this way? Didn’t the Anointed One have to experience these sufferings in order to come into His glory?
Then He begins with Moses and continues, prophet by prophet, explaining the meaning of the Hebrew Scriptures, showing how they were talking about the very things that had happened to Jesus.
About this time, they are nearing their destination. Jesus keeps walking ahead as if He has no plans to stop there, but they convince Him to join them.
Please, be our guest. It’s getting late, and soon it will be too dark to walk.
So He accompanies them to their home. When they sit down at the table for dinner, He takes the bread in His hands, He gives thanks for it, and then He breaks it and hands it to them. At that instant, two things happen simultaneously: their eyes are suddenly opened so they recognize Him, and He instantly vanishes — just disappears before their eyes.
Two Disciples (to each other):
Amazing! Weren’t our hearts on fire within us while He was talking to us on the road? Didn’t you feel it all coming clear as He explained the meaning of the Hebrew Scriptures?
So they get up immediately and rush back to Jerusalem — all seven miles — where they find the eleven gathered together — the eleven plus a number of others. Before Cleopas and his companion can tell their story, the others have their own story to tell.
The Lord has risen indeed! It’s true! He appeared to Simon!
Then the two men report their own experience — their conversation along the road, their moment of realization and recognition as He broke the bread. At that very instant, as they’re still telling the story, Jesus is there, standing among them!
[Describing the life of the early disciples in Jerusalem after Pentecost.] They were unified as they worshiped at the temple day after day. In homes, they broke bread and shared meals with glad and generous hearts.
[Written by Paul to the Corinthians about the Lord’s Supper.] I passed on to you the tradition the Lord gave to me: On the same night the Lord Jesus was betrayed, He took the bread in His hands; and after giving thanks to God, He broke it and said, “This is My body, broken for you. Keep doing this so that you and all who come after will have a vivid reminder of Me.” After they had finished dinner, He took the cup and in the same way said, “This cup is the new covenant, executed in My blood. Keep doing this; and whenever you drink it, you and all who come after will have a vivid reminder of Me.” Every time you taste this bread and every time you place the cup to your mouths and drink, you are declaring the Lord’s death, which is the ultimate expression of His faithfulness and love, until He comes again.
(1 Corinthians 11:23-26)
[With Paul on his journey as a prisoner to Rome.] We had lost a lot of time already — it was late in the year for sailing — following the Day of Atonement, and conditions had deteriorated from adverse to dangerous. Paul tried to warn those in charge.
Sirs, if we proceed, I can see that our voyage will be dangerous and will involve heavy loss, not only of cargo, but of the ship itself; not only of the ship, but also of our lives.
But the officer ignored Paul and instead trusted the ship’s pilot and owner who felt they could proceed.
We had two choices. We could anchor in the harbor at Fair Havens and spend the winter, or we could proceed west along the coastline, hoping to reach Phoenix and wait there for calmer spring weather. Fair Havens was not a good option, though, being vulnerable to winter storms; so most of us agreed we should try to reach Phoenix, whose harbor was more protected. One day a moderate south wind began to blow, which made an attempt possible. We weighed anchor and sailed west, staying near shore. Then things got scary. A violent northeaster, the Euraquilo, blew down across Crete. We were caught. We couldn’t turn and sail into this fierce wind, so we had no choice but to let it drive us. We briefly found a bit of shelter from the wind near the island of Clauda. We had been having trouble securing the ship’s lifeboat; but we were able there to hoist it up and send down cables to brace the hull, which was in danger of breaking apart under the strain of the storm. The wind was relentless, and soon we were again being driven southwest at the mercy of the storm. We feared it would drive us all the way to the Syrtis Banks, down near the North African coast, so we threw out the sea anchor to slow us down. All through the night, the storm pounded us violently. The next day, the crew threw the ship’s cargo overboard; and the day after that, they discarded any of the ship’s equipment they could do without. Days passed without relief from the furious winds, without a single break in the clouds to see sun or stars, even for a moment. Despair set in, as if all hope of rescue had been cast overboard as well. On top of all of this, the crew had been unable to eat anything because of the turmoil. Paul saw the crew had reached a critical moment. He gathered them.
Men, if you had listened to my warning, we would still be safe in Crete and would have avoided this damage and loss. I was correct in my warning, so I urge you to believe me now: none of you will die. We will lose the ship, but we will not lose one life. So keep up your courage, men! The God I belong to, the God I worship, sent a heavenly messenger to me this night. He said, “Do not be afraid, Paul. I’m not finished with you yet. You are going to stand before the emperor! You can be certain that God has granted safety to you and all your companions.” So listen, men: you must not give up hope! Keep up your courage! I have faith in God that things will turn out exactly as I was told last night. Here’s what I foresee: we will run aground on some island.
Imagine what happened:
It’s the 14th night of our nightmare voyage; we’re being driven by the storm somewhere in the Adriatic Sea. It’s about midnight, and the sailors are taking soundings, fearing we might run aground. “Twenty fathoms,” somebody calls out in the darkness, then a little later, “Fifteen fathoms.” We’re nearing land! But hope quickly gives way to a new fear. At any moment in this darkness, they realize, we could be smashed onto unseen rocks. So they drop four anchors from the stern and pray for first light.
Then some of the crew decide to make a run for it on their own. They say they need to let out more anchors from the bow, and this will require lowering the ship’s lifeboat. They actually plan to abandon us; we realize what’s going on. Paul quickly speaks to the officer and soldiers.
Unless these men stay on board, you won’t survive.
So the soldiers intervene, cut away the lifeboat, and let it drift away. We wait. Just before dawn, Paul again gathers everyone on the ship — all 276 of us. He urges everyone to eat and encourages us not to lose hope.
Listen, men, we’ve all been under incredible stress for 14 days. You haven’t eaten anything during this whole time. I urge you to take some food now because it will help you survive what we’re about to face. And I want to assure you — not one of you will lose a single hair from your head. We’re all going to make it — all 276 of us!
Then Paul takes a loaf of bread and gives thanks to God in front of all of them. He breaks it, takes a piece, and begins to eat. A fresh surge of courage seems to fill their hearts as they also begin to eat.
Response in Prayer
O Father, thank You for the grace of meeting Jesus as I share meals with those who love Him and expect His presence. As we share in Your grace, restore our souls and deepen our love for each other as we celebrate Jesus’ presence among us. In Jesus’ name, I thank You for this grace! Amen.
‘A Year with Jesus’ is written by Phil Ware.
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All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved.