“You prepare a table before me…” (Psalm 23:5)
The Good Shepherd prepares a table for us. When I think of a prepared table I think of a Thanksgiving dinner spread out on a table and ready for the family to sit down and begin. It is a good scene and brings feelings of warmth and family.
The Bible is filled with references to times of feasting when families or communities come together to break bread and fellowship with one another. It is such an important part of life that God instituted several feasts as ongoing celebrations in the calendar of Israel. Jesus continued the tradition in His lifestyle and teaching. He even used the banquet table to illustrate the Kingdom of God. Many of the stories in the Scriptures are told in the context of families gathered around a meal. The main events recorded in the life of Jesus were often related to Jesus going to someone’s house for dinner. In fact, one of the chief criticisms of Jesus was that he was a “glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax gatherers and sinners” (Matthew 11:19). That’s first century for “party animal”.
In the Book of Revelation, John writes down the well known words of Jesus,
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” (Revelation 3:20)
The act of salvation itself is described as Jesus coming in to eat with us! Even the most precious and intimate sacrament of the Lord’s Supper is based on a meal with Jesus and His disciples.
Therefore, it is obvious that sharing a meal together is the most common way that Jesus used to illustrate fellowship. This phrase in our Psalm today has the implication of invitation. He has prepared the table for you! You are expected and invited to sit down and dine with your Shepherd. Everything is ready. The food has been prepared…the table has been set…the drinks are poured. All that is needed is you.
Once again we are reminded of the total provision of God and His great desire to be an intimate part of our life. This brings to mind the Lord’s table mentioned earlier. We use a “prepared table” to remember the sacrifice that Jesus made for us. It was also a table prepared by Him for us. It is also a table that invites us to experience an intimate relationship to Jesus.
He has prepared the table for us. Can you meditate on this thought today? Your Good Shepherd wants to dine with
you. He has prepared it and now invites
you to sit with Him and break bread.
Will you do it today? There is no
better fellowship than coming to the table prepared by Jesus…the Good Shepherd.