There are many dimensions to the theology of food in Scripture.
First, food means dependence. We are eating creatures, who cannot live unless we take in something from outside of us. Ultimately, we are dependent upon God. The food we eat is dead, and only God can cause it to become life to us.
Second, food indicates our dominion. Adam was given the world to rule, and the world to eat. We are omnivores, who are capable because of the Creator’s design to eat just about anything. At the Supper, we eat bread and drink wine, which are not natural products. Thus, the Lord endorses our dominion, our bread-making, and brings it into His presence in worship. Food expresses our creativity, which is central to being images of God.
Third, food is for fellowship. We do not eat alone, nor do we eat merely for biological fuel. Sharing bread and meat brings us into communion, as all partake of a single loaf. At table, food is passed and shared. A meal always establishes an in-group and an out-group, and table manners express certain values. Food has not only an economic but a sociological dimension.
Fourth, food has always been central to worship. From the beginning, the sanctuaries in the Bible are dominated by food. Adam and Eve in the garden are offered the tree of life; Abraham builds altars, which are tables; there is an altar and a table in the tabernacle. Communion with God is maintained through food shared before Him, food shared with Him.
Specifically, in the gospel, meals have a distinctly evangelistic thrust. Meals symbolise the nature of Jesus mission, which He explains as preaching good news to the poor and announcing the favourable year of the Lord. In the meals with Jesus, the poor and hungry are being restored to the fat of the land. Jesus’ meals establish a circle of companions, those who share bread with Him.
Meals are also centres of confrontation and controversy. Jesus, his enemies claim, eats with the wrong people and eats and drinks too much. He accepts sinners. Lastly, receiving Jesus at the table is tantamount to receiving Jesus Himself. Rejecting His table meals is tantamount to rejecting the host who set the table.