At some of the bigger teachable moments in his disciple’s lives, Jesus would often eat with them. He would break bread with them. Whether it was in the Passover at the Last Supper, eating fish at the Sea of Tiberius or inviting himself to dinner at a tax collectors house, eating with someone symbolic of having and enjoying fellowship with them. In the book of Revelation, when Jesus portrays what it is like to have a personal relationship with himself, He uses a picture of eating together. I like to eat. I’m not a “foodie” but I like food. But it’s not just taste, it’s the fellowship and friendship that happens when I eat with friends and family.
In Ethiopia, if someone wanted to demonstrate their love and friendship with another person, he would invite them into their home and share meal. At the end of the meal, the host would take the bread and then dip it into the choice, fatty drippings of the meat that served for the meal. They would then take the bread soaked in the juices and place that tasty morsel into the mouth of their guest. The host “hand fed” the special guest. It was the cultural way of saying “I love you, I’m here for you, you can trust me.”
Isn’t it interesting that Jesus did the same thing to Judas Iscariot the night he betrayed Jesus? John 13:26Jesus answered, “It is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.” Then, dipping the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. It’s almost as if He was saying, “I know what you are about to do, but I still love you.” It’s utterly impossible to understand the depth of Jesus’ love at that moment, but you get a picture of unconditional love. His kind of love is described as affection without any limitations, or love without conditions. I have a couple of dear friends like that. Their actions are consistently saying, “I’m here for you Bob.”
I’d love to have you try something. If you want a tangible way to express your love and friendship to another, take him out for a meal. Or better yet, make a meal. Our culture probably wouldn’t understand you insisting of “hand feeding” your friend, but you get the idea.