The King’s Table

When David became King, he summoned Mephibosheth, his best friend’s son, and said to him, ‘I will surely show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan. I will restore to you all the land that belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will always eat at my table’ (2 Samuel 9:7). So, at the King’s directive, ‘Mephibosheth ate at David’s table like one of the king’s sons’ (v110). Since the invitation to eat at the King’s table is not one-off, but a daily affair as long as the King sat enthroned, ‘Mephibosheth lived in Jerusalem, because he always ate at the king’s table, and he was crippled at both feet’ (v13). Mephibosheth, who previously lived ‘at the house of Makir son of Ammiel in Lo-Debar’ (v4) after his father’s death, now had to relocate to Jerusalem simply because he was invited to eat at the King’s table. His disability also did not disqualify him from eating at the King’s table like the rest, because the King’s word is final and no one can counter it. Another person who had to relocate and switch positions at the directive of the King was Jehoiachin, King of Judah, who was taken prisoner by Nebuchadnezzar King of Babylon in his land. Years later when a new King in Babylon arose, he released Jehoiachin from prison and ‘spoke kindly to him and gave him a seat of honour higher than those of the other kings who were with him in Babylon’ (2 Kings 25:28). Jehoiachin’s condition changed simply because of the King’s invitation to his table. ‘So Jehoiachin put aside his prison clothes and for the rest of his life ate regularly at the kings table’ (v29).

Clearly, the King’s table is not merely any other dining table. It is a place where lives are completely changed and turned around. David, a King, understood the significance of the King’s table. After facing hardships even as a King, he came to know that there is another King’s table more significant than his, that could actually change his life and remove him from the hardships he was facing even as King. He says, ‘You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies’ (Psalm 23:5). David was not merely referring to any King’s table, but that of the ‘King of kings and Lord of lords’ (Revelation 19:16), because he knew that God is a ‘King and my God’ (Psalm 44:4). Since God is ‘King forever and ever’ (10:v16), David knew for a fact that He surely must have a table, and so he beseeches God to prepare His table before his enemies. In other words, David was asking God to make a directive so that his circumstances might change, not just temporarily, but forever. Like David, someone at the Pharisee’s house for a meal understood the significance of God’s table and tells Jesus, ‘Blessed is the man who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God’ (Luke 14:15). While most of the guests were concerned about getting high positions on earthly tables prepared by earthly rulers, this guest knew that a table prepared by God the King supersedes all.

The King’s table is laden with choice food, because it is a place of provision. It is unheard of for the King’s table to run out of food or drink. In fact, there is always an excess. The Canaanite woman comprehended this and so came to Jesus to ask for deliverance for her demon-possessed daughter.  But Jesus tells her, ‘It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs’ (Matthew 15:26). The woman then replies, ‘Yes, Lord, but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table’ (v27). The woman knew that the Master’s table had an overflow so much that crumbs would be enough to make one full. Jesus, seeing that she understood this, tells her, ‘Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted’ (v28). The woman clearly understood the concept of tables beyond the physical realm, probably because she was from a pagan background and followed the ways of her people. The pagans were notorious for spreading tables before demons, and so the woman immediately understood what Jesus meant when He talked of eating, while the topic at hand was her daughter’s deliverance. In fact, Jesus directed her attention, not at the demon possession, but the root cause of the problem- there was a demonic table before her family, and she was eating from it.

As a result, Jesus did not at first answer her request, because He saw that spiritually, another table was set before her, and it was not God’s (no wonder there was demon-possession in the family). Seeing this, Jesus tells her, ‘I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel’ (v24), because a table also signifies allegiance. So, the Canaanite woman who had a demonic table before her was not considered lost or afflicted, because she had intentionally given dominion and authority to demons by partaking from Belial’s table. Herowever, her remark acknowledged that God’s table is greater, and so gave leeway for Jesus to intervene. Since she swapped her allegiance, authority over her life changed hands – from that of the devil to God’s. She now sought to eat at the right spiritual table and renounced her pagan practices, because ‘the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons’ (1 Corinthians 10:20). And since ‘no one can serve two masters’ (Matthew 6:24), the Canaanite woman denounced the demonic table by acknowledging God’s table is supreme. Paul even admonishes, ‘You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord’s table and the table of demons. Are we trying to arouse the Lord’s jealously? Are we stronger than he?’ (1 Corinthians 10:21-22).

To eat from the King’s table also signifies acceptance. Before Jesus’s death, He had a table prepared so that He could dine with His disciples. Jesus invited the Twelve to the ‘Last Supper’ because He had chosen them. He tells them, ‘I have eagerly desired to eat the Passover with you before I suffer’ (Luke 22:15). The King’s table also symbolizes communion and fellowship. In inviting the disciples to eat with Him from the table He had prepared, Jesus sought to demonstrate their oneness. However, when Jesus was at the table with His disciples, He became ‘troubled in spirit and testified, ‘I tell you the truth, one of you is going to betray me’ (John 13:21). Communion and fellowship had been broken because one person had planned to betray Him, breaking the oneness. Jesus, who knows the intentions and hearts of men could sense this, and so was troubled in His spirit. He then tells Judas the Betrayer, ‘What you are about to do, do quickly’ (v27). Clearly, no one can pretend while at the King’s table, as fellowship and communion simply cannot be feigned. So, ‘As soon as Judas had taken the bread, he went out. And it was night’ (v30).

Interestingly, the Lord’s table was not laden with much food, as there was only bread and a drink. This does in no way contradict the fact that the King’s table is laden with choice food that overflows. In fact, the Lord’s Supper was the richest table ever prepared that no earthly King could ever match. This is because, at the Lord’s table, it only takes spiritual eyes to see the feast laid out. To outsiders looking in with natural eyes, they could only see bread and a drink, but to the disciples ‘accepted in the Beloved’ (Ephesians 1:6), they could see the abundance laid out before them. Of the bread, Jesus says, ‘This is my body given for you (Luke 22:19), and of the drink, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you’ (v20). In other words, Jesus offered Himself to His disciples, meaning that they could partake every quality of His as theirs. This is because eating from the Kings table honours a person, because ‘everything I (Jesus) have is yours’ (Luke 15:31). Therefore, when we eat from God’s table, we eat freely as sons. We have every right to eat all there is, and for life. Jesus even says, ‘Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever’ (John 8:35).

So, Believers who accepted the invite by confessing and believing in Jesus as Lord and Saviour of our lives eat daily from His table. We are given the right as His children to access every blessing found in Him. Paul writes, ‘In him (Jesus) we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us in all wisdom and understanding’ (Ephesians 1:7-8). Thus, Believers have access to an unlimited feast and choice food – Jesus. We partake of His forgiveness, salvation, splendour, mercies, love, peace, joy, comfort, grace, strength, hope, and every other good thing found in Him. The Christian life is therefore all about feasting in and with Jesus, and to ‘know of the glorious riches of this mystery which is Christ in you, the hope of glory’ (Colossians 1:27). As a result, the only table Christians set is the Lord’s table, to remember what He has done for us. The Lord’s table (Holy Communion) we now physically partake as Believers is merely symbolic of what Jesus did for us, and it is in keeping with His command, ‘Do this in remembrance of me’ (Luke 22:19). For non-believers, the invite is open not only to feast of the riches in Christ, but also to attend the ‘wedding of the Lamb’ (Revelation 19:7), the greatest feast of all when Jesus, the Lamb who was slain, will be revealed again to become one (‘married’) with His body (the Church), forever. Meanwhile, He urges, ‘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).

But as for you who forsake the Lord and forget my holy mountain, who spread a table for Fortune and fill bowls of mixed wine for Destiny, I will destine you for the sword, and you will all bend down for the slaughter; for I called but you did not answer, I spoke but you did not listen. You did evil in my sight and chose what displeases me‘ ~ Isaiah 65:11-12

May the table set before them become a snare; may it become a retribution and a trap. May their eyes ever be darkened so that they cannot see, and their backs be bent forever. Pour out your wrath on them; let your fierce anger overtake them. May their place be deserted; let there be no one to dwell in their tents’ ~ Psalm 69:22-25