March 7, 2021

Jesus Promises to be the Bread of Life

Suggested Reading John 6:22-41

I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger—John 6:35

When was the last time you perused the bread aisle or bakery department in the grocery? Were you amazed at the variety of breads offered? In our time we have just about any kind of bread you can think of: whole wheat, multigrain, flat breads, yeast rolls, sweet breads, gluten free breads, organic, sourdough breads, breads with fruits and nuts, white breads, plain breads; so many breads to choose from. The breads we enjoy which are low cost and plentiful would have been like a slice of heaven to those living in Jesus’ time on earth. In fact, if you were poor or Hebrew, having wheat bread made with finely ground flour would have been a luxury and not common since only the rich could afford finely ground wheat which meant the poor and Hebrews ate bread from barley: a time consuming and arduous process.

First the grains were ground between two very heavy millstones (usually done by women), and once the grain was ground into flour the yeast had to be worked through. After a lengthy time of kneading, the bread was shaped into rounds then covered and left to rise for a time before baking. Barley bread was coarser than wheat and since it became moldy quickly only enough bread to last one or two days was made, then the process began again. Whether it was made from barley or the finest wheat, bread was treated with great respect and not wasted. They did not throw the crumbs away as we do today but anything over the size of an olive was distributed. Because bread was filling and nutritious it did not need to accompany a meal, at times it was the meal.   

There was a season in our life when our children were younger that I made homemade bread. Every Monday morning, I would take out all the ingredients for making bread, mix, and then knead the dough by hand (that was before the invention of our wonderful bread machines and mixers with dough hooks came about) at the end of the day the table would be lined with loaves of bread, buns, and dinner rolls, the house would smell of freshly baked bread, yeast and sometimes cinnamon if I had also made cinnamon rolls. To this day our children still talk about the bread they enjoyed as children.

We don’t have to be poor or Hebrew to appreciate what Jesus means when he says he is the “Bread of Life.” Just as bread remains a staple and filling food in our pantries today, Jesus is the staple, the filling spiritual food we have, that not only fills us but satisfies us in every way. Just like those who could make a meal of bread and water, and didn’t need anything else when we have Jesus we do not need the fluff or junk of the world to feed our souls. False teachings do not attract or appeal to us. No matter how they are dressed up, how good they smell or look they are not appealing to us. We know that behind their outer attractiveness they are not only empty but spiritually deadly.  

As our “Bread of Life” Jesus feeds us in every season of life. He is our comfort, our strength, our peace, our wisdom, our hope, our guidance, our assurance, and confidence. All that we need, whatever we need we find in Jesus.  The person who has Jesus has everything he or she needs, the marriage that has Jesus has all it needs, the family who has Jesus has all they need, the business that has Jesus has all they need, the church that has Jesus has all they need. He is the Bread of Life that never runs out, gets moldy or dries out. Even one crumb of Jesus will satisfy our souls and the one who tastes Jesus, even once, will be hooked for life and never be satisfied with the world’s tasteless bread again. Let’s Pray,

Dear God, you sent your very own precious Son, Jesus, to live and die for us. He has become all that we need and when we receive him we truly understand and enjoy him as the “Bread of Life.” May we never be without him in our lifetime and just as we would give a loaf of bread to someone in need, may we learn to share him freely and joyfully with others. Amen           

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