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on 7 March 2013
On a friend's recommendation I picked up this book. It has never occurred to me that meals have such a central place in our relationship with God and, later, in Jesus's ministry, until I read this book. When we come to think about it through our earthly relationship with our children, we should not have been surprised really. Don't we all work hard and spend a lot of time to provide and cook food for our children!!

For me, I grew up thinking that food served only a functional purpose, and loathing hunger which dictated a physical need for food. I used to think that time spent on preparing and eating food was time that could be better spent on other things. Only until recently have I acquired a keen interest in learning how to cook properly, after some 18 years of marriage, and my effort rewarded by discovering the magic that thoughtful home-made food brings to the family.

It was at this juncture in my family life that I picked up this book. My overarching thought after reading this book is that how hopeless we are as a fallen race; we cannot get anything right away from God, including our relationship with food! We could be functional about food (like me) and miss out on the joy of food. God has made the world more delicious than it needs to be, the author points out. On the other hand, we could derive so much pleasure from food that we have a lifestyle of worshipping food, the gift rather than the Giver. We could also take refuge in food, indulge in food or use food to exercise our control, leading to eating disorders. The list goes on... Like many things in life, God's good intentions in His creation have been eroded, twisted and lost in our social and cultural environment. We must go back to the Scripture to catch a glimpse of the true meaning of a lot of things that we do as human - relationships, home life, marriage, sex, and, now I realise, food also.

Meals serve the food but are not only about food. This book takes us through Scripture and tells us how to do meals in God's intended way: meals as enacted grace, meals as enacted community, meals as enacted hope, meals as enacted mission, meals as enacted salvation, and meals as enacted promise (the titles of the chapters). God is thoughtful in His creation. Nothing that we do is an accident or an afterthought. After more than two decades of walking with God, I have come to the conclusion that everything that we do has a place in teaching us something about God, His relationship with us, and the Gospel. God reveals these secrets to us by our story as laid down in Scripture; our life is His classroom; He teaches us by role play. Sadly meals as a channel of God's goodness has been lost because we do not spend time (food is not meant to be fast!!), we do not receive it with gratitude and we do not share our meals.

To imitate Jesus in how we do meals definitely challenges me. The concept of opening my home to my neighbourhood, and not just a few selected neighbours, is met with resistance in my mind. But the Gospel goes even further than that - it opens to the strangers, the marginalised, the underprivileged and the outcasts. This simply shows how much we fall short of God's grace to us, and His generosity in serving us. God's standard is high, and as with all other things in life, we strive towards the goal, while acutely aware of the fact that we can do nothing apart from Christ (John 15:5).
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on 16 May 2011
I'll be honest, I was looking forward to reading this book. I like the author's blog, and the talks I've seen him give. I also like the theme, who doesn't? However, it was better than I expected it to be.

Tim Chester uses the meals recorded in the gospel of Luke as a foundation for engaging with Jesus' use of food, and the place of the meal in salvation history.

The book deals with some fairly deep theology but in a very accessible way. It is seasoned with real life stories and doesn't pull any punches when it comes to application.

I'm aware of a growing number of voices in the evangelical church calling us to bring the meal back to a more central spot in our life together. This book will fuel that fire and undergird it with a solid understanding from scripture. Bottom line, it will encourage us to follow in the way of Jesus, the one who came eating and drinking.

Get it. Read it. Pass it on. Talk about it over dinner.
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on 20 March 2012
It's a great idea, to look at meals Jesus had in the Gospels and explore their meaning and the people he met and served and spoke with. In doing that, it's great.

From eating with Matthew/Levi, with the Pharisees, to feeding the 5,000, extending the banquet to invite others in, to the Last Supper and the Road to Emmaus meal. And there are some nuggets to find out savour.

For me, though, there were times when it felt padded out and needed a few too many pages per chapter than was needed. Sometimes less is more.
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on 24 July 2011
"Jesus is either going to, coming from or at a meal." This fresh approach to the Gospel of Luke by Tim Chester is, on the one hand an exciting picture of the "feast to come" for believers, but also a pointed reminder of the task of the church and believers in this present age. Through his study of the Gospel of Luke, Chester gives us a glimpse of how the meal can be a catalyst for grace,community and hope in a world which desperately needs all three.

I encourage church leaders, in fact all Christians with a passion for those who don't know Jesus (shouldn't we all have that passion!) to read this book and to be challenged. In this challenge Chester gives us the simplest of clues as to how we can be more effective - our dining table.
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VINE VOICEon 21 January 2012
This is a pacey, if short theology of food, presenting "Jesus came eating and drinking." Chester well reasons that the taste of the Kingdom was revealed through Jesus'basic missional strategy in eating with people. I particularly enjoyed the `Meal as enacted community' chapter and the richness of this sweep of Luke's gospel record. Some parts have a curious exegesis, obviousness or a stretch, but the power and centrality of Christ's activity with people is well made.

This reads as a clarion call to organic mission through our relational activity with all who come to eat food in our homes. The simplicity and power of discipleship and mission based our life over meal is worthily and very well portrayed here. Don't started a church activity - just open your home! It builds well on previous writing themes of gospel, suffering and glory. Gritty, gospel-rich, accessible and more than a little inspiring!
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on 13 April 2012
It was a pleasure to pick up this book. This is my first Tim Chester book. I found his writing style quite refreshing and very engaging. He places us within the scenes of the gospel narratives and makes them come alive! Tim Chester clearly has studied the role that meals played in Jesus's life and he challenges us to see the same! It is powerfully engaging. I particularly found his reflections on the role meals play in mission and community very useful. His reflections on the Holy Communion was deeply insightful. Wish every church can read them!

Two quibbles - the treatment of the eschatology and heavenly elements was a little light! Though he helps us see clearly that food is more than just for the stomach, he could have explained more on just how it is that we will still be eating in heaven or in the new earth. I share his interpretations, just a little meat on them would have been good! The second quibble is more presentational - many quotes had names upfront, but a few didn't which meant I had to keep checking the references. Easy thing to do on the kindle, but down the line I may find it annoying as I use the Kindle quote reviewer, unless I had highlighted the passage.

In general I wholeheartedly commend it! Will certainly be re-reading it!
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on 30 March 2014
What a great book! I heard about from a friend and after reading some snippets of it, decided to buy it. I wasn't disappointed. It portrays Jesus as I never knew before. My love for Jesus and people increased after reading this book. I recommend it to anyone who want to know more about Jesus and his way of reaching people.
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on 20 March 2014
I have found this book really helpful. Only a few pages into it I was challenged by how profound it is and yet it is written in a way that is very accessible. Would definitely recommend.
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on 17 November 2014
An excellent incite into a social and spiritual arenas that Jesus operated in. Well thought through and kept, within Luke's gospel, an achievable project. Excellent.
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on 6 June 2016
Gave this as a gift to members of our church who volunteered to cater for our Alpha course. Lovely book, easy to read, educating, inspiring and thought provoking
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