I AM…Bread

Based on 1 King 17:1-16 & John 6:35-51

I want to you imagine a day to day life, rewinding time passed the time of Jesus. You’d think that without phones on which to talk, tablets on which to read the news and use your apps, TV on which to catch your favorite shows that life must have been slow and boring. Boring? Maybe by our standards but not slow by any means. Each day certain tasks had to be done or there would be consequences. One of them was making bread.

Imagine you have just got done with your daily process of making dough, letting it rise, making loaves, cooking them and setting them out to cool, a daily, long process of making your family’s daily bread. After a small rest while the loaves cool you come to collect your bread only to find ravens have gathered and are making off with your bread, even your shouts barely deter them as they tear chunks away and grab them with their beaks before taking to the air.
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The bread you’ve worked so hard all morning to make has just disappeared into the sky.

Meanwhile a man waits by a stream. He was sent here by God and told to drink of the little brook flowing next to him and wait to be fed bread, from the mouths of ravens.

How could you know that the frustration of flying bread could be part of God’s plan to care for one of His own? How could you begin to understand that the taking of that bread was for the giving of life to Elijah. It would be nearly impossible to guess that anything good is coming from the vulturous birds stealing away your time, effort and food. But that break had to be taken so that it could be given, for the life of Elijah.

Next Elijah is sent to a widow whom God says “I’ve instructed a widow there to feed you.” I’m not sure she’s quite received or accepted the instruction. She must be thinking, “you’ve got to be kidding me God, you see how much flour I have here, and not just one mouth to feed, but two.”

Now Elijah comes and asks for (but nearly demands) the last of the flour. The loaf that was about to be made was their last meal, the last bread before death. Perhaps when you look at it that way, what difference did it make for someone else to take it?

However she gave that bread with only words of promise that there would be more and that she and her son would be fed. What a response of faith from the words of a man promises from another person’s God!? Elijah took the bread, but the widow gave it, and God gave her flour and oil and more bread.
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Bread, it’s made to be given. Except for the few microwaveable exception of prebaked rolls, bread is normally of a quantity to be given away to others. I can tell that fact from the evidence of the Bible. One of the phrases that goes so often with bread in the Bible is the word “breaking”, breaking of bread, breaking is for the purpose of giving.

But if bread is given then it is taken. When we pray ‘give us this day our daily bread’ we recognize – God is giving daily bread to everyone all the time, we want to recognize the giver of that bread and give thanks. But remember we are taking it, from someone’s hands we are given what we need from day to day, but finally we give thanks to God that from His hands we all are fed.

Jesus refuses the offer from the devil to make bread for himself but today we instead see him offer himself as bread. I am the bread of life. Jesus so often sat at the head of the table and took bread, gave thanks, broke it and gave it. That daily bread, made by the hands of someone who gave it for the meal of the disciples was taken into the hands of Jesus. Today we hear Him say, “I am bread!” We should respond in faith, “I’ll take it!” or perhaps as a parent to a small child, “I could just eat you up!”

If you are bread Jesus, give me some. If your words are bread, let me hear it. Even more clearly, hear, read, mark, learn and inwardly digest Your Word Jesus. I depend on it every day.

If your acts are bread, let me follow you. If bread is healing, I want to heal too, if bread is your serving, let me serve too.

But Jesus took the words as he took the bread! He gave thanks for the daily bread, received from the hands of the one who baked it and finally from the hands of God and Jesus broke that bread so that it could be shared. Jesus gives that bread to us and says, “this is my body, broken for you for the forgiveness of sins, take and eat.” Bread is made to be given, and someone takes it. Jesus is giving not just bread by Himself. Jesus is broken by going to the cross so that he can be given as a sacrifice that saves the world from the starvation of sin and death. Broken to be shared, His life is given to the world to be taken by a faith that feeds on His words. Jesus’ death is that bread, taken, broken, given and received by faith.

We receive this bread, a combination of His Word and Bread so that this bread of life is ours, received as Word and Food and Life for our sake. Jesus says, “I am the bread of life.” Amen.

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Published in: on February 22, 2013 at 1:29 pm  Leave a Comment  

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