What’s your favorite food? Do you prefer sweet or savory? When you get a chance to eat your favorite food, do you eat lots of it, like eating a full entrée? For myself, when I find some tasty food, I like to eat a lot of it! I think life can sometimes be like this: we acquire lots of what we like, minimize what’s unpleasant to us and sometimes overdo what we prefer.
As a possible way to experience greater diversity at a meal, there’s a type of Spanish cuisine called “tapas.” This style of eating is basically a meal of appetizers with a wide diversity of flavors, textures, temperatures, and cooking methods. In a traditional tapas meal with lots of “small plates,” there could be cold olives, grilled octopus, gazpacho soup, manchego cheese, anchovies, peppers and heaps more delectable morsels! Such a meal of delicious appetizers can be an incredibly fun adventure!
With such diversity of taste experiences, doing a tapas meal, let’s look at how Jesus lived on earth in His human existence. When I look at Jesus’ time and interactions on earth, He kind of lived in tapas mode. I say this because of His interesting blend of healings, parables, teaching, confrontations, miracles, mentoring, travel, parties, dinners and some needful pauses. From my point of view, His life was a balanced combination of all these things such that He didn’t overdose on any one thing. He kind of did His life in tapas fashion, small plates with lots of diversity, rather than an entrée approach.
I’m bringing these styles of eating to your attention to make a parallel about Jesus’ life and how He interfaced with those who were His closest followers. I would suggest that Jesus’ closest followers experienced Jesus in tapas fashion, with a wide variety of experiences and interactions. In contrast, I think that people who followed Jesus from a distance tended to get an entrée experience with Jesus in the sense of getting one helping of Him, or one main impression from Him, be that healing, teaching, free lunch, etc.
An example of this can be seen with the religious folk who experienced Jesus almost entirely in confrontation mode, so their Jesus’ entrée was intense and not very tasty to them. In another example, there were thousands of people who experienced Jesus providing them a free meal when He multiplied the bread and fish. These crowds also heard Jesus teach, but they were mostly intent on getting free meals from Jesus, miracle entrees.
As this relates to us today, I think it would be helpful if we would think about our interface with Jesus and what we want from Him and maybe consider all of Who He can be. If we merely interface with Jesus to get His miracles, divine intervention, supernatural provisions, etc. then I think we might be choosing to have an entrée relationship with Jesus, maybe overdoing one aspect of Who He is.
On the other side, it can be very possible and beneficial to do our relationship with Jesus to do more of the tapas approach. With this style of relationship, we get to know Jesus not only for His divine power, but we can also get close to hear His teaching resonate in our hearts, feel His breath infusing our life, pause to relax with Him, and trust in His love, laugh with Him as we have funny experiences in life, adjust to His corrections when He points out hypocrisies in our lives and lots more! Let’s keep our hearts wide open to enjoy Jesus across a very diverse spectrum in our daily living! Jesus has more for us to experience and know with Him than what we are currently living in!