At this meal, God came to eat with his people in the flesh. As Jesus fed the four thousand, he foreshadowed that coming day when we would all feast at the marriage supper of the Lamb (Rev. 19:9). To eat at the end with God is the sign of ultimate blessing. Isaiah prophesied that at the end of all things, God would feast with his people and this would be the sign of consummate salvation. At this Supper would be the eternal bliss begun and the effects of sin destroyed.
In some churches the Lord’s Supper is referred to as the “Eucharist” (pronounced yoo-ka-rist). In fact, it is used predominantly in Roman Catholic circles, so Protestants might be prone to have an aversion to such a name. But is it bad? Is it unbiblical? On the contrary, “eucharist” is a helpful term derived from Scripture that gives further insight into how we ought to think about this blessed sacrament.
Background of the Word Eucharist
Eucharist comes from the Greek word eucharisteō, which means “to be thankful on the basis of some received benefit” (Johannes P. Louw, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, p. 299). Jesus uses this word during his ministry at a very interesting point: during the miracle of feeding the four thousand in Mark 8. In verse 6 we read, “And he took the seven loaves, and having given thanks [eucharistēsas], he broke them and gave them to his disciples to set before the people.” Here Jesus establishes a practice that many of us (hopefully!) still practice today: giving thanks to God for his provision before we eat a meal.
God Feasts with His People
And yet this particular meal was different from our regular meals at home. At this meal, God came to eat with his people in the flesh. As Jesus fed the four thousand, he foreshadowed that coming day when we would all feast at the marriage supper of the Lamb (Rev. 19:9).