In contemplating the Lord’s Supper, we should recognize that we have been called to a covenantal feast with the risen Christ. We are given the privilege to recline at the table with our faithful Lord and how blessed we are that we will eat bread in the Kingdom of God at the end of the age. Consider the parable of the Great Feast given in Luke 14:16-23
But He said to him, “A man was giving a big dinner, and he invited many; and at the dinner hour he sent his slave to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come; for everything is ready now.’ “But they all alike began to make excuses. The first one said to him, ‘I have bought a piece of land and I need to go out and look at it; please consider me excused.’ “Another one said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to try them out; please consider me excused.’ “Another one said, ‘I have married a wife, and for that reason I cannot come.’ “And the slave came back and reported this to his master. Then the head of the household became angry and said to his slave, ‘Go out at once into the streets and lanes of the city and bring in here the poor and crippled and blind and lame.’ “And the slave said, ‘Master, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.’ “And the master said to the slave, ‘Go out into the highways and along the hedges, and compel them to come in, so that my house may be filled. ‘For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste of my dinner.’”
As we find in this account of the parable, it is not the wedding feast of the king’s son, but simply a feast. The gracious invitation to come to the feast tells us of the invitation to come to the Lord’s Supper and there to accept Christ as Savior. As the parable of Jesus tells it, when the time for the feast approached, none of the invited guests had appeared, so the host sent out his servants to invite the poor, the maimed, and the blind. In connecting this parable to the Lord’s Supper, Samuel Rutherford says
Remember that it is even now Supper-time, while the word is preached, and the Sacrament of the Lord’s body and blood offered; and blessed are they who come to the Supper. Samuel Rutherford, Communion Sermons, pg. 65
Nothing could be simpler nor more profound. This picture of an invitation to a feast is also typified in Proverbs 9:1-6, which tells of Wisdom giving a great feast and sending out her maids to invite the simple to come to her feast and become wise.
Wisdom has built her house,
She has hewn out her seven pillars;
She has prepared her food, she has mixed her wine;
She has also set her table;
She has sent out her maidens, she calls
From the tops of the heights of the city:
“Whoever is naive, let him turn in here!”
To him who lacks understanding she says,
“Come, eat of my food and drink of the wine I have mixed.
“Forsake your folly and live,
And proceed in the way of understanding.”
The parallels between Proverbs 9 and the Parable of the Great Feast are striking. Jesus is the Word of God, God’s divine wisdom, upon whom the Christian feasts. Just as Wisdom invites all to come and eat of her bread and drink of her wine, all are invited to eat of this bread of life.
Christ has prepared the whole Supper Himself and has covered the table; there is no more for us to do, but sit down and eat. If we look to this covenant meal, Christ has prepared it all Himself “in the furnace of God’s wrath” as Rutherford explained. Christ Jesus prepared this sacrament for us by becoming our wrath-bearer. The bread that we here eat is His flesh, which He gave for the life of the world (cf. John 6:51) and the wine drawn is His blood. Because of this, the spiritual food and drink given to us at the Table is a feast of unspeakable delight and transcendent joy. We’ll close with a passionate encouragement for Samuel Rutherford:
Jesus craves no more for all His pains, but only that His friends come to the banquet and eat and be merry; and if ye will come, Christ will pay all the reckoning. When the Israelites were fed with manna, they behoved to go out of the camp, and gather it themselves; but we furnish nothing of this Supper. God be thanked, Christ bears all the expense. Alas! Alas! that the unhappy world will not eat heartily since Christ pays for all.