Bread. It’s the most basic of human needs, along with water. In the past, you heard about prisoners getting bread and water. Sailors sailing on the high seas and soldiers fighting in historical wars survived on some form of bread. In more modern times, the bread shelves empty as people prepare for the threat of bad weather like a hurricane or blizzard. Perhaps the bread aisle has been empty at your grocery store during the Coronavirus pandemic.
Changes In The Way We Meet
We have been forced to be more creative in finding ways to meet in the last month. Most churches are streaming their messages online. Offices, teachers and their students, book clubs and exercise groups are using apps like Zoom to meet. We are part of a life group at the small church we attend when we are at the beach. Our leader has been meeting with our group on Zoom for the last three weeks. It’s not the same as being in the same room but we have enjoyed it.
Our life group has been going through the book of John chapter by chapter. The focus is what we can know about God through this book. If you have studied the book of John, you know that this is the Gospel that emphasizes the deity of Jesus Christ — the trinity — Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
John Chapter Six
Last week, we were in John, chapter six. The chapter begins with the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000. Maybe you remember this story. A large group, 5,000 men and also women and children were hungry after listening to Jesus’s teaching. Jesus suggested they needed to feed these people. One of disciples pointed out that it would be far too expensive to feed them all.
Another disciple found a little boy who was prepared. He had five small barley loaves and two small fish. Jesus, being Jesus, turned this small offering into a miracle. He prayed, multiplied the fish and everyone ate their fill. There were twelve baskets of scraps left over.
This was always one of my favorite stories in the Bible. I can remember going to Sunday School and coloring the “bread and fishes,” cutting them out and putting them in a brown paper lunch sack. Perhaps you did the same thing as a child.
Later on in the chapter, Jesus uses this event as a spiritual lesson. He compared the physical food from the miraculous event of the feeding of the 5,000 and the manna that appeared each morning during the exodus to the spiritual food he offered. In the feeding of the 5,000 a physical need was met. During the forty years the children of Israel wandered in the desert, God provided for their daily physical needs with manna from heaven.
In verse 35, Jesus declared “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” Later in the chapter he said “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever.” Did you know that Bethlehem, where Jesus was born, literally means house of bread?
Bread is mentioned all throughout the Bible — almost 500 times! I thought it was interesting that when I looked it up on my Bible app, the two books of the Bible that use the word bread the most were Exodus, in the Old Testament and John, in the New Testament. The Word of God has much to say about bread.
We had a great hour studying this chapter in John together, comparing and contrasting the idea of physical bread and the spiritual bread Jesus offers. I’m thankful for the technology that allows us to meet when we can’t be together.
A Fragrant Reminder
I had to leave the meeting to take our puppy outside (we are in the midst of puppy training). When I stepped outside, I was met with the wonderful fragrance of fresh-baked bread from the nearby commercial bakery. It was a sweet reminder of what we had just been discussing.
Bread. It’s a basic need in life. Jesus. He’s a basic need in life because he is the bread of life.
I hope you know him.