Posted by: JennyRain | January 27, 2010

The Meaning of Bread: Carbohydrate-delight and More

This morning I walked in to a gift of bread.

Not just a slice or a loaf of bread but three full bags of bread!

The ladies of the church had some left-over bags following their bible-study, so I was the fortunate recipient of this yummy treat, thanks to our Executive Pastor and his wife.

Immediately, I picked up the bags of bread and began sniffing at them (through the plastic). Their aroma was a mix of sour-dough and a light touch of caraway seed with hints of garlic that reminded me of spaghetti night at our house.

The warm bakery-like scents floating through my office are so enticing because I am a carbohydrate-lover.

I love bread. I love chips. I love potatoes. My favorite food is still mac-n-cheese (the southern kind). If it is a carb, I’ll eat it.

Bread as symbol

The scent of freshly-baked bread followed me downstairs into my devotional nook. The beginning of my prayer time was interrupted by this picture of the bags of bread and the remembrance of this…

I am the Bread of Life

It was a simple reminder that hung in the air, inviting me to pursue its wisdom, and re-directing the plan I had for my devotions.

Jesus is the Bread of Life…

What does that mean? How does that impact my life? Why did God bring this back to my attention? What does God want me to see about His character through this passage?

I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.

When I come to God with my needs, He promises I will not be left hungry. Yet, paradoxically I am learning, often the hunger I feel is for God, but this hunger masquerades as hunger for things or people.

What else does God say about Bread?

I remembered that in the Old Testament manna was fed to the wandering Israelites as they were trekking through the desert. Just as I began to turn back to Exodus, my eyes caught this…

Our forefathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’

God provided the Israelites bread to help survive the wilderness. It was not just earthly bread for sustenance, but bread from heaven.

God did not leave his wandering people struggling. He met their hunger with practical provision.

This bread from heaven was provision, but it was also foretaste.

As I looked further in the passage, I noticed this…

I tell you the truth, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who 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.

This bread from heaven was a “teaser” to help the Israelites understand that God’s salvation would come in a form that man could not produce (hence “it is not Moses who has given”).

This saving provision could only come in a form that was “from heaven” (from God alone). Man could not produce his own provision for true life, only God could.

What is this bread from heaven?

It is bread that provides man with an eternal sustenance, so the True bread from heaven must not be the manna talked about earlier, because…

Your forefathers ate the manna in the desert, yet they died.

So if our forefathers died, even the magic manna that was provided was not enough to produce a life in them that was sustained, eternal, never-ending.

But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.

Man cannot produce his own eternal life (Moses did not give you this bread), only God can (The bread that comes from heaven). And the True bread from heaven is the type that is able to sustain one forever (if anyone eats of this bread he will live forever).

What exactly is this bread?

This bread is my flesh – In other words – it is the body of Christ. God gave us His own body sacrificially to sustain us, provide for us, give us everlasting life (John 3:16).

So this simple gift of bread this morning led me into a robust devotional time

I thought about what God said in Deuteronomy, that

Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord.

God’s words to me – during prayer, during time with him, in community, in regular weekly fellowship – they are life. It is amazing how long I can survive on one word from God.

His words are encouraging, life-sustaining, life-giving… if I do not hear from God, I begin to crave His words, crave more of Him.

Similar to someone who has been starved of sustenance (bread or food), so living without God’s words to me feels like I am being starved.

I am so thankful for the Bread of Life.

From the Bread that comes from heaven. I am so grateful that God’s word gives life and health to each of us. How am I sharing this Bread with others?

To my neighbors. To those suffering – I began to think about the people of Haiti who were receiving rations of rice to survive their recent earthquake.

How am I doing sharing this Bread of Life with those in need?

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