Cultural Encounters: A Journal For The Theology Of Culture Volume 11 Number 2 (Summer 2016) - Page 6

VOLUME 11 NUMBER 2 2016 LET THE FOOD FIGHT BEGIN! Paul Louis Metzger∗ The Bible talks a lot about food. Food and drink are prominent in Jesus’s life. Jesus turns water into wine (Jn 2:1–12). He multiplies loaves of bread and fish in dramatic fashion (Mt 14:13–21; Mk 6:30–44; Lk 9:10–17; Jn 6:1–15). He loves to party, even eating with tax collectors and sinners to the chagrin of the religious establishment (Mt 9:10–12). Jesus institutes the Lord’s Supper, which shapes the church’s imagination not just during Holy Week but throughout the year, pointing forward to the marriage supper of the Lamb (Rv 19:6–10). Jesus’s ministry also takes us back in time to the Exodus and sojourn through the wilderness to the Promised Land (See Ex 16). Like Israel, Jesus is in the wilderness. Like Israel, Jesus is hungry; however, he does not put the Lord God to the test, as Israel did (Ex 16; Nm 11). Jesus does not turn stones into bread, but rather depends on God to care for his needs (Mt 4:1–4; see also Dt 8:1–20). In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus exhorts his followers to look to God for their daily sustenance, even as he later feeds the multitudes, reenacting God’s provision through Moses (Mt 6:9–13; Mt 14:13–21). The new Exodus has begun in and through Jesus, the Passover Lamb (See Mt 26:17–29 for Jesus’s reenactment of the Passover celebration). Food is central to the biblical narrative; it also has a vital place in Jesus’s life and work. Jesus loves food. He also loves a good food fight. The Lord’s Prayer, meals with tax collectors and sinners, feeding miracles, and the Last Supper are examples. Such examples from Jesus’ life lead me to wonder if Jesus was a hobbit, as in J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy. Hobbits love food, too. Fellowship around food is instrumental to their victories over Sauron and Sarumon. Like Jesus, they love a good food fight. DOI: ∗ Paul Louis Metzger is Professor of Christian Theology and Theology of Culture, and the Director of The Institute for the Theology of Culture: New Wine, New Wineskins, Multnomah Biblical Seminary/Multnomah University; 3