LENT 2020 - Jesus Said: I Am The Bread of Life
Friday, February 28 2020
One of my favorite smells is that of fresh bread baking in the oven.
And one of my favorite foods is eating that fresh hot bread with melting butter on each thick slice.
Bread is in fact one of the world's staple foods – a mainstay of life in almost every country on earth.
There are at least seven words referencing bread in the Hebrew language version of the Old Testament and three Greek words referring to it in the New Testament. Mentioned at least 492 times in the original languages of the Bible, it is easy to see how important this food was to everyday life.
Bread contained some of the vital nutrients for health and well-being: flour, water, salt and sometimes leaven and olive oil, depending on its particular use.
During their forty years of wandering in the desert – after leaving Egypt and crossing the Red Sea, and before entering the Promised Land of Canaan – the ancient Israelites were miraculously fed with manna, that is "bread from heaven", to sustain them in their long stay in the Sinai wilderness. This bread was a symbol of God's love and provision for His people in spite of their constant rebellious hearts and ways towards Him.
During Jesus' time on earth, when one day it got late as He was teaching the multitudes in a remote and solitary place, He miraculously multiplied five small loaves of bread into enough to feed five thousand men along with their women and children. Once again, God showed His people His compassion and care for them by providing them with bread to feed and to satisfy their hungry bodies.
But Jesus came not only to feed hungry bodies. He came to feed and to fill hungry hearts and souls and spirits as well.
That is why, shortly after feeding the five thousand, He again spoke to the multitudes saying:
"… it is My Father who gives you the true bread from heaven.
For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven
and gives life to the world...
I AM THE BREAD OF LIFE.
Whoever comes to Me will never go hungry...
Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness,
yet they died.
But here is the bread that comes down from heaven,
which anyone may eat and not die.
I AM THE LIVING BREAD THAT CAME DOWN FROM HEAVEN.
Whoever eats this bread will live forever.
This bread is My flesh,
which I will give for the life of the world."
As Jesus said, even though the ancient Israelites ate manna, they were constantly hungry again, and then they died.
And even though Jesus fed the multitudes with five miraculously multiplied loaves, they too hungered again, and then died.
But the true bread from heaven, the bread of God, the bread of life, takes away all hunger and grants eternal life, because it feeds and satisfies the heart and soul and spirit.
That true bread of God is JESUS Himself, who said:
"I AM THE BREAD OF LIFE...
I AM THE LIVING BREAD THAT CAME DOWN FROM HEAVEN."
Bread's essential ingredients are wheat flour, water, salt, and sometimes leaven and oil, as mentioned earlier.
That is why Jesus refers to Himself as bread because, like wheat, He was cut and threshed and winnowed, milled and ground when He suffered and died on Calvary's Cross as the payment of death for all the sins of the world.
Jesus refers to Himself as bread because, like water, His Spirit is living water that quenches all spiritual thirst.
Jesus refers to Himself as bread because, like salt, His words and life disinfect and preserve and season our own.
Jesus refers to Himself as the unleavened bread of Passover because His life is free of the sin and hypocrisy and disobedience that leaven represents.
Jesus refers to Himself as bread because, like oil, He has the Spirit of the Lord on Him and He has been anointed to proclaim good news to the poor, freedom for the oppressed and the prisoners, recovery of sight for the blind – the year of the Lord's favor.
Jesus refers to Himself as bread because, like physical loaves that we eat to feed and fill our stomachs, we can "partake" of Him and who He is to nourish and satisfy our hearts and souls and spirits.
Dear friend: do you know this true bread from heaven, this bread from God, this BREAD OF LIFE who is JESUS? Only He can satisfy your every hunger, only He can grant you life in place of death. As He Himself said, anyone may eat this bread – it is available to all who long for it – including you.
Today, now, He is offering this true bread – Himself – to you. Receive Him and partake of Him. Don't leave Him to grow cold and stale and moldy like a forgotten loaf in the kitchen. Take Him and eat while He, like bread just baked in the oven, is fresh and hot and "able to save completely those who draw near to God through Him" (Hebrews 7:25). “Now is the time of God's favor, now is the day of salvation." (2 Corinthians 6:2)
Come to JESUS and eat – only He has ever said:
“I AM THE BREAD OF LIFE.”
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