It’s Not What You Think – Week 8

Bible Passage: Luke 5:30-31; 22:1-38; 24:13-32, Revelation 19:6-9

Big Idea of Message:

The table is that place where heaven and earth collide, a glimpse at the future Jesus has for all those who follow Him.

Jefferson’s Teaching:

One thing I see on Instagram or Twitter a lot lately is people take pictures of their coffee or of their food. And a lot of people laugh at it or say it’s cliché, but there’s actually something fascinating going on there, I think, even though we live in a fast food, Westernized, American country where it’s all about give me the fuel. Make it fast, I don’t want relationship, I don’t want the table. I still think we can’t get away from the fact that ingrained in us from the beginning of time from the garden is kind of the restoration or the importance of the table. We can’t help but want to share it with others. Share our stories. Share our meals. Share our lives. Because, at the table, is where that all happens. We share, and we become who we are, usually in those table moments. All of us have to eat. All of us have to sit at the table. And that’s usually where a lot of relationship happens. I mean, I think of first dates. They always, almost always involve a meal. If you think of a business deal, you usually celebrate with some type of dessert or something of that nature. Life happens at the table and in the Western Church, I think the reason why that is, is because a lot of us take relationship, or we take intimacy, kind of off the table. We say, just give me the truth. Just give me the facts. I just want all the right answers, but I don’t want a relationship. I don’t want intimacy. I don’t want the table. And we do that in the American Church or in the Western Church. When I think in the scripture, Jesus was the opposite. Jesus made a huge point about taking truth, taking big ideas, taking facts, taking stories, or parables, or points, and putting them on the table, per se, meaning putting flesh on these things. Making them real life. Making them things that actually are stuff we dealt with.

I think of the story of the road to Emmaus as a huge example of this. It’s actually, I think, one of the most underrated stories of all of scripture because it really is kind of weird when you look at actually what happens. Take the story of the road to Emmaus at the end of Luke. So, Jesus resurrects. He’s gone through the cross. He’s come through the resurrection. He’s in his resurrected body. I don’t know if it’s because they couldn’t recognize him or what, but it says he comes to two disciples. Now those two disciples don’t recognize him as Jesus of Nazareth, as the person who just died on the cross. And so, Jesus goes to them and says, “hey guys, why you bummed out? What’s wrong?” and they kind of turn to him, and they rebuke him to some degree, they say are “you serious? Have you not heard what just happened? Because it was a public spectacle.” Rome wanted to make a public ordeal out of it. This is what happens when you say stuff like this or follow a leader like this. And so, they say, “did you not hear that Jesus died? Did you not hear that all our hopes were dashed? We followed this guy for three years, and it was a waste. It was a failure.” So, they kind of rebuked Jesus, and then he in return kind of rebukes them. And he actually says, “oh foolish ones” and then it says he begins from the law, to the prophets, it says describing what must be true of the Christ. Meaning Jesus takes the bible, or because that’s all they have, they didn’t have the New Testament, he goes from page one to the last page and says it was supposed to happen the whole time. If you were reading it the right way, if you were looking for the right things, you would have known that the Christ, the Messiah, was actually supposed to die on the cross and resurrect. It was supposed to happen the whole time.

I don’t think we let what just happened sink in enough. Think about what just happened in that story. Jesus himself, the Word, incarnate God himself, basically goes through a Bible study, in person, with these two disciples. He goes from the first page of the bible to the last page of the Bible, and he goes page by page, saying this must have happened. Now, I don’t know about you, but if that was me, my brain probably would have fell out. I would have expected the angels to come out and oh and everything to just be crazy because God, himself, is literally explaining the Scripture. The uppercase Word is explaining the lowercase word, in person. You think they would have had the craziest epiphany. You think their lives would have totally changed. And they would have practically fainted because of the revelation that would have happened at that moment, but what’s crazy about the story is nothing happens. The next verse is literally like five hours later in the story, and nothing happens. There’s no revelation. There’s no epiphany. And a couple of hours later, the story continues with them walking and getting nighttime. Jesus is still with them, and then it actually says they say, “hey Jesus, do you want to stay for a meal?” He stays. He goes inside, and then the story gets really weird. It says they sit down at the table. Jesus breaks bread, gives thanks, and then it says, instantly their eyes were opened. It says when he breaks the bread and gives thanks, their eyes were opened. Now the reason that story’s crazy is, I think about in the American church, how we would actually guess that our eyes would be opened in the beginning. We guessed that the eyes would be opened when Jesus himself is in the room. Resurrection has happened. Resurrected body, and he’s explaining the scriptures. But no, it doesn’t happen there, the revelation happens when he sits down, and he eats with them. You have to let that sink in.

And the question I want to ask you guys, too, especially with that story, is what’s your dream scenario? See, a lot of us we wish Jesus could just show up in the room to us give us all the answers. Give us all the facts. Then we can live a better Christian life. But that’s not how Jesus wants to do it. Jesus doesn’t want to just give us all the answers. He wants to sit at the table with us. He wants to be on the same level playing field. That says he wants to look us, eye to eye. He wants to have that intimacy, and that relationship. And you can only have that at the table. I think about a trip I took a couple of years ago with a mentor of mine. He lives in Jerusalem. He has five kids, a really beautiful marriage that me and Alyssa, my wife, that we look up to. And I remember before we went there, I probably had a couple of years of mentors where I’d meet at Starbucks with them, and we go through curriculum or go through a bible study, which is great, and that would be really helpful to me, but what I realized is it took a long time for me to really absorb a lot of that, if it was not in real life. Meaning, if I wasn’t living with this guy, if I wasn’t living with these people, it was really hard for it to sink in. But, then, you fast-forward to this trip in Jerusalem and I remember just being at their table for two weeks and during dinner seeing how he talks to his kids, seeing how he loves his wife, seeing how he disciplines his children, seeing how he does his job. Just being in his life for two weeks was more impactful than any one hour at Starbucks could be because, I think, we are designed innately to learn at the table. To learn in real life. To learn in community. And I think God blocks revelation, just like he did in the story of the road to Emmaus, until there’s relational intimacy involved. And so, we have to wrestle with that. Are we people who are sitting at the table with Jesus? Is that how we see our walk with Jesus? And think about how Jesus was almost obsessed with trying to do this. He was trying to obsess with putting real life on to facts. Think of the last supper, right? So, the biggest event in human history is easily the cross, even if you’re a non-christian, you have to admit it shaped history more than anything ever has. And so, Jesus has 24 hours left with these guys before he goes to the biggest event in human history. He’s been walking with him for three years. So, you think on the last 24 hours he’d basically have one huge cram session if you ever remember finals in college where he’s giving them all the facts and saying hey make sure you remember this, make sure you remember this. You guys are going to be my ambassadors. You’re going to turn the world upside down. So, I have 24 hours left to give you all I have. You would think that’s what he would do, but on the last day before he died, to make sure they really got it, Jesus did not give them a bunch of facts, he gave them a meal. Another way I’ve heard it said, is Jesus didn’t give them a theory to explain the biggest event in human history, he gave them a meal, he tied his death, resurrection, to the most basic thing we have to do every day. And that is eat. He didn’t get out the whiteboard and say this is how it works, he said this is how it works, and he set down bread, and he set down wine. That is what the last supper’s about.

And so, I think, too many times in the American Church, we’ve missed the table. We’ve missed the art of the table and the sacredness of what’s going on at the table. We miss that God wants to bring his truth, he wants to bring the beauty of the scriptures, and he wants to bring his kingdom as it is in heaven. Like we saw in the session previously, and he wants to bring it down here on earth. I think of tables, too, as a time where I know I’ve been shaped the most. I know meals where we’ve had hard theological discussions, or I’ve been really encouraged by what someone said, or I’ve heard a story that got me to learn more about a friend of mine. The table is where life happens, and God calls us to that place. And so, as we end this series and look back on all the sessions, realize that the table, or the symbol of the table, is actually the thing that kind of encapsulates and wraps all these previous sessions together. The table is where you tell your story like we heard in the first session, or about the kingdom. If you look at the life of Jesus, the kingdom of Jesus was a model of what the kingdom looked like. He sure ate with a lot of people, and he also sure ate with a lot of people that he was trying to love and serve. So, we need to take note of that. It’s a place where we rest, where we have communion. It’s that temple, that place of heaven and earth colliding at the table when we eat. It is a little signpost of the future, of the new heavens and the new earth because that’s what it’s going to be: a great banquet. A great feast, where we’re eating and dining with our king forever.

 1   START

Review Session 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, & 6 before introducing Session 7.

What is the best meal you’ve ever had, and what made it so great?

Question of the day: How does my life tell the story of a God who wants us to enjoy abundant life now, not just eternal life in heaven?



Big Idea: The table is that place where heaven and earth collide, a glimpse at the future Jesus has for all those who follow Him.

We can’t help but want to share our lives with others. It is how God designed us.

The table represents that place where we are willing to open up and share our lives and issues with others.

Transformation, learning, and understanding happens at the table (Luke 24:13-32)

Jesus constantly connected everyday life to biblical truth.

The table is that place where heaven and earth collide, a glimpse at the future Jesus has for all those who follow him (Rev. 19:6-9).


How is the table a connection point for everything we’ve discussed in this series?

How would you summarize the significance of rest and community?

Read Luke 22:14-20

14 When the hour came, he reclined at the table, and the apostles with him. 15 Then he said to them, “I have fervently desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. 16 For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” 17 Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks, he said, “Take this and share it among yourselves. 18 For I tell you, from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”
19 And he took bread, gave thanks, broke it, gave it to them, and said, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”20 In the same way he also took the cup after supper and said, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you. (Luke 22:14-20)

The Passover meal was originally celebrated to remember how God miraculously saved the Israelites from slavery, establishing them as a unique people free and set apart from the rest of the world with God as their King.

How did Jesus give this specific meal new meaning? How does the original meaning help you understand what Jesus was doing?

Read Luke 24:13-35

13 Now that same day two of them were on their way to a village called Emmaus, which was about seven miles, from Jerusalem. 14 Together they were discussing everything that had taken place. 15 And while they were discussing and arguing, Jesus himself came near and began to walk along with them. 16 But they were prevented from recognizing him. 17 Then he asked them, “What is this dispute that you’re having with each other as you are walking?” And they stopped walking and looked discouraged.
18 The one named Cleopas answered him, “Are you the only visitor in Jerusalem who doesn’t know the things that happened there in these days?”
19 “What things?” he asked them.
So they said to him, “The things concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet powerful in action and speech before God and all the people, 20 and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him. 21 But we were hoping that he was the one who was about to redeem Israel. Besides all this, it’s the third day since these things happened. 22 Moreover, some women from our group astounded us. They arrived early at the tomb, 23 and when they didn’t find his body, they came and reported that they had seen a vision of angels who said he was alive. 24 Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they didn’t see him.”
25 He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Wasn’t it necessary for the Messiah to suffer these things and enter into his glory?” 27 Then beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted for them the things concerning himself in all the Scriptures.
28 They came near the village where they were going, and he gave the impression that he was going farther. 29 But they urged him, “Stay with us, because it’s almost evening, and now the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them.
30 It was as he reclined at the table with them that he took the bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him, but he disappeared from their sight. 32 They said to each other, “Weren’t our hearts burning within us while he was talking with us on the road and explaining the Scriptures to us?” 33 That very hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem. They found the Eleven and those with them gathered together, 34 who said, “The Lord has truly been raised and has appeared to Simon!” 35 Then they began to describe what had happened on the road and how he was made known to them in the breaking of the bread. (Luke 24:13-35)

How does this story reveal that all of Scripture, even the Old Testament, is a story about Jesus?

How does this story reveal that being taught about Jesus and the Bible is a good starting point, but not the same as truly knowing Jesus?

How does Jesus use the meal to reveal the truth of His identity?

A Foretaste of Forever

Read Luke 5:27-32

27 After this he went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax booth. And he said to him, “Follow me.” 28 And leaving everything, he rose and followed him.
29 And Levi made him a great feast in his house, and there was a large company of tax collectors and others reclining at table with them. 30 And the Pharisees and their scribes grumbled at his disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” 31 And Jesus answered them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 32 I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.”

Matthew was a tax collector. Tax collectors were not very popular during Jesus’ day. They were known to skim a little off the top to keep for themselves. Not only did they get rich off of other people, but they were also seen as working for the Roman Empire. Think about the tension and hatred that would get cranked up when a Jew was collecting taxes, keeping some for himself, and giving the rest to the Roman Empire.

Jesus not only ate with this guy and his friends, but He called Matthew to leave everything behind in his old way of life and follow Him into a bigger and better story. The religious establishment didn’t like this.

Jesus was clear that in His kingdom, life is about knowing that we need His love and forgiveness so that we can live each day with gratitude. Then we start bringing those little pockets of heaven on earth to everyone in our circle of influence. When that happens, people’s lives are transformed, wounds are healed, and sinners are reconciled to God.

That’s what Christianity is all about. It was always about experiencing God’s kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. It’s about relationship. It’s about growth. It’s about life-change. It’s so much more than just going to heaven when you die.

But one day, those who know Christ will be with Him forever. We do look forward to this day when heaven and earth are brought back into alignment. It’s just that we don’t’t wait for it. We start living that future reality now. We get a little taste of it here, like appetizers or samples before the great feast. When that day finally comes, it’ll look something like the picture we find in Revelation 19:6-8.

6 Then I heard something like the voice of a vast multitude, like the sound of cascading waters, and like the rumbling of loud thunder, saying, Hallelujah because our Lord God, the Almighty, reigns! 7 Let us be glad, rejoice, and give him glory because the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his bride has prepared herself. 8 She was given fine linen to wear, bright and pure. For the fine linen represents the righteous acts of the saints.

You may not think of yourself as a saint, but you are. The word saints means “holy ones.” When you take off the old self and put on the new self, you are being clothed in the righteousness of Christ. He makes you holy. His love for you cleanses you from sin and impurity, and your life becomes the fine linen adorning the bride.

The Bible is clear that marriage is and always has been a picture of Jesus and His bride – the Church. We are the Bride of Christ. You and everyone who believes in Jesus for the forgiveness of sin and a new life are the Church.

Eph. 5:31-32 — For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh., 32 This mystery is profound, but I am talking about Christ and the church.

Are you seeing this? God’s Word says that ever since God created and blessed Adam and Eve, he had a picture of Jesus, you, me, and every saint in the Church in mind! From Genesis to Revelation, the story has been about God reconciling people to himself. God will ultimately restore all things, bringing everything back into alignment.

21 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 I also saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared like a bride adorned for her husband. 3 Then I heard a loud voice from the throne:, Look, God’s dwelling is with humanity, and he will live with them. They will be his peoples,, and God himself will be with them and will be their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; grief, crying, and pain will be no more, because the previous things have passed away. 5 Then the one seated on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new.” He also said, “Write, because these words are faithful and true.” 6 Then he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will freely give to the thirsty from the spring of the water of life. 7 The one who conquers will inherit these things, and I will be his God, and he will be my son. (Revelation 21:1-7)

Do you see how it all comes around full circle and ties together in the end?

  • The story is complete. But goes on forever.
  • God dwells with His people. Forever.
  • The Kingdom is established. Forever.
  • Every wound is healed. Forever.
  • We become children of God. Forever.
  • We eat, drink, and live. Forever.

Weddings are usually a big deal. The idea is that they only happen once in a lifetime, so the bride and groom look their very best. Everyone they love is invited, and the biggest celebration imaginable is thrown in honor of the happy couple. They pledge their faithfulness to one another for the rest of their lives.

This is the picture of eternal life. Heaven crashing on earth in the most spectacular way imaginable. Heaven isn’t some boring place. It’s the perfect union of God’s realm and ours. It’s the marriage of Christ and the Church. It’s the story God has been telling since “In the beginning …” It’s the picture God painted when presenting the first woman to the first man. And what they broke, He made new. It’s the consummation of all things. And all of us who know Christ will enjoy it forever.


The goal of this study was to show us that being a Christian is about so much more than just going to heaven when you die; so what would you now say about the Christian life?


Source: It’s Not What You Think: Why Christianity is About So Much More Than Going to Heaven When You Die (Jefferson Bethke)