January 18, 2014

The Main Dish

I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.” —JOHN 6:32-35

You’re in the home stretch of this fast and right about now you may be having dreams about fluffy, brown yeast rolls. So, I encourage you to stay strong as we have a conversation about bread.

In ancient times bread was regarded not only as a main source of nutrition, but it was also the main course. Long before our TV commercials proclaimed, “Beef: it’s what’s for dinner” the slogan would have instead been more like, “Bread: it’s what’s for dinner.”

The bread of the Bible was often made without yeast or leaven and probably wasn’t as fun to toss unless maybe you threw it like a Frisbee. When God delivered the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, they were given specific instructions on what to eat that final night; they were to “be ready,” with no time for dough to rise, so part of the Passover meal was, and continues to be, unleavened bread.

Then they set about wandering in the desert for forty years, which makes it hard to plant and harvest wheat for bread. So the Lord said to Moses, “Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you. And the people shall go out and gather a certain quota every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in My law or not” (Ex. 16:4). They ate that “bread of heaven” daily for the duration of their time in the desert.

As you can see, bread was a big deal! It wasn’t some “take it or leave it” side option like today.

Now, think about how important bread was in the history of the Israelites as we look at John chapter 6. Jesus’ words in this chapter were pivotal even for some of His followers because they could not accept it when He claimed to be “the Bread of Life.” The chapter begins with Jesus multiplying five small loaves of barley bread and two small fish that a little boy in the crowd was saving for his lunch.

When they followed him the next day and asked for more miracles, He replied,

“Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” Then they said to Him, “Lord, give us this bread always.” And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.” —JOHN 6:32-35

What a statement! When Jesus said, “I am the bread of life,” in that culture, it got their attention. He was trying to get them to understand, “You need Me every day. You can’t make it without Me. I’m the central issue of your life. Without Me, without bread, you’ll perish.”

I can do without a lot of things, but I cannot do anything without Jesus. He’s not something at the end of the table in a basket that I can take or leave. Eat to your fill of His presence today!

The Fasting Edge