Food symbolizes Jesus’ death and resurrection
All meals and their ingredients come to us through some sort of picture of the death and resurrection of Christ.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit” (John 12:24).
All plant-based food comes from this same burial/resurrection process that Jesus says symbolizes his own death and resurrection. Likewise, meats come from the sacrifice of an animal’s life. There is the cost of a creature’s life given for every kind of meat we consume. There is even a hellish symbolism of food that goes in to the oven and comes out ready to provide nourishment. This ought to serve as a tangible reminder of the cost of our salvation.
We should not eat lightly. But we should eat with joy and gratitude.
Without Jesus’ death there is no resurrection. And without his resurrection there is no life for our soul and body. If Jesus never came and died and rose again we would still be in our sin.
Likewise, without the similar picture of death and resurrection of the food we eat there is no nourishment for our bodies. Bread would still be dough or grains of wheat, fruit and vegetables would still be seeds, and meat would still be living animals.
Always receive your food with thankfulness for both the symbolic and true death and resurrection that was paid for your physical and spiritual nourishment.
Don’t use this as an excuse to overeat
One caveat is in order. This cannot be a justification for overeating. Just because you are thankful and contemplative of the food you eat that doesn’t mean you can excuse overeating. This is hard for me.
For me, food can be a distracting comfort during times of temptation to lust. Instead of giving in to lust, I am often tempted to seek wholeness and fulfillment from food. That is no way to fight lust! It is simply shifting my idolatry somewhere else rather than repenting of it and placing my hope in God.
Always seek to eat in the context of community
Many times this is not possible, but it should always be something you seek. The joy of eating is compounded when done with friends and family. There is something unifying about being nourished by food that endured the same symbolic death and resurrection.
Next time you eat with friends and family, take time to consider this unifying aspect of food. You all may have different viewpoints, different life styles. You all will go separate ways shortly after and accomplish separate activities throughout the day or week. But for this one moment you are all being nourished by the same food–the same seed or animal.
Likewise, the body of Christ who partakes of communion symbolizes that the church is all fed by one Spirit and one sacrifice once and for all.
Are there other ways food can help restore the joy of your salvation?