November 06, 2022

The Trinity Meal

Genesis 18:1-15

The Lord appeared to Abraham. . . . Abraham looked up and saw three men standing nearby. . . .

—  Genesis 18:1-2

Some stories in the Bible include mysterious details. For example, in Genesis 18 the narrator says that the Lord appeared to Abraham, and then when Abraham looked, he saw three men. Hmm, did these three men represent the Lord? We know that God does not have a body, let alone three bodies, for he is spirit. But apparently God could appear in the form of a person. And were the other two angels, or were they maybe some other heavenly beings?

We do not have definite answers to these questions. But Abraham recognized these visitors as important, bowing down to them. And he and his wife Sarah prepared a meal for them. At that meal God announced that Abraham and Sarah would have a child.

Through the centuries, some Chris­tians have suggested that perhaps the appearance of three visitors to Abraham and Sarah was meant to point forward to a revelation that is made clearer in the New Testament: that God is three persons, the Trinity—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

This story in Genesis, mysterious as it is, also provides a lesson to remember when we come to the Lord’s table. At the Lord’s Supper, God comes especially close. The Holy Spirit unites us with Jesus and the Father. And at this meal God promises again and again to give us life—abundant life with him that begins now and continues forever.

Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, thank you for drawing us close and promising the gift of life as we eat at your table. Amen.

About the author — Kristopher Walhof

Kristopher Walhof is a minister in the Christian Reformed Church who lives with his wife and seven-year-old son in rural Kenya. He teaches Bible and theology courses to theological students seeking ordination in the Africa Inland Church (AIC) denomination.

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