What type of bread are you eating? I’m not talking about sourdough or whole-wheat, but about the spiritual variety.
In Scripture many kinds are mentioned: the breads of idleness, wickedness, the manna from heaven, but one is different from them all. The Bread of Life.
God enjoys using bread symbolically in His Word. After a cooking class I was inspired to collect wisdom from this grain we eat so often, the best nourishment coming from Jesus Himself. Come look at some “breads” of Scripture with me.
Key Uses of Bread in the Bible:
1. The Bread of Anxious Toil
In this day and age, with technology speeding up our every move, life is busier than ever before.
From 60+ hour weeks on Wall Street to the nonstop duties of a mother with children, pressure and weariness compound in our bodies, hearts, and minds.
But God didn’t design us to be up 24/7.
It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep.Psalm 127:2
The message proclaimed in the ancient days of the psalmist is the same message we need to hear today: Rest, and trust God. Do not eat the bread of anxious toil – for what gain does it bring?
Meditate on this point: what you eat fills you, nourishes you.
If you’re consuming thoughts of anxiety, stress, or dread, your mind, body, and soul are being fueled by the sinful deception that God is not at hand. That God does not know. That God, who is all powerful, is doing nothing.
In reality, the Lord establishes the work of our hands. We are unceasingly at His mercy, our every breath by His grace.
He asks us to be filled by His promises, His Word, His church, and His everlasting love.
God also designated us to sleep nearly a third of our life for a reason. Sleep and godly peace are very connected. Not only in the day, but in the night we must lift up our responsibilities, questions, and concerns to God.
Sleep is a time of patience, of waiting upon the Lord, of humility that we don’t determine the results, of laying our head upon the comfort we have in Christ.
If God’s power is made perfect in our weakness, then surely can hand over our anxieties to God and close our eyes, knowing He works with all His might through the night on our behalf.
2. The Bread of Life
So if we are not eating the bread of anxiety, what bread shall we eat, and what shall we do? The primary “toil” we should be engaging in is the work of God – believing wholeheartedly in Jesus Christ. This is the only toil that beautifully renews.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal…” John 6:26-29
Beyond satisfying the stomach, we must satisfy our hungry soul and those of others with the good news of Jesus Christ.
God provides for those who eagerly seek Him and ask with faith in His Son; He offers both eternal life and daily needs.
Where the world fails in its brokenness and inequality, the Lord redeems us in His salvation and an ever-filling relationship with Him. After responding to the crowd with a call to faith, Jesus asserts that He will feed them true life:
Jesus said to them,“I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.”
This does not mean Christians cannot face hunger, thirst, or physical hardship, but that the love of Christ will supernaturally sustain us until we are in eternity with Him.
This bread, the bread of Christ, will never become stale. He satisfies.
“For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things.” Psalm 107:9
Physical hunger may not be your difficulty. However, the hunger principle remains. Are you trying to feed yourself with the temporary solutions and sins of this world? Or will you respond to the call to do the work of God, to wholly trust in His Name? He is waiting to fill you.
3. The Bread of Communion
Jesus is the Bread of Life because He took upon Himself the death we deserve, all so that we may partake of His sacrifice and have eternal life in Him. This sacrifice is symbolically demonstrated during the last Passover by the breaking of bread.
Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” Matthew 26:26-28
Communion is a common practice in the Christian life. Why? The physical act of eating bread and drinking wine reminds our minds of the high price paid for our sin. That Christ’s body was broken and blood spilled in place of ours, His holy offering washing away the sins of the world.
When we take of this communion bread, we acknowledge that we believe in Christ as our Lord and Savior.
4. Unspoiled Bread
God utilizes unleavened bread in Scripture to illustrate the restored life we can have in Him, and Him alone.
It begins in the Old Testament for the Israelites:
“The original unleavened bread symbolized total detachment from the old life in Egypt, carrying nothing of its pagan and oppressive ‘leaven’ into the Promised Land. It represented a separation from worldliness and sin and the beginning of a new life of holiness and godliness.” John MacArthur
Today, under the New Covenant of Jesus Christ, we too are officially set apart for God.
The Bread of Life has been given to us, and we must not return to our old ways, to our shame-filled Egypt, to our works-based theology, to our sin. The leaven of old is to be forgotten.
Paul speaks of this to the Corinthian church:
Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. 1 Corinthians 5:6-8
Just as Paul warns them to rid sin from the church, each and every one of us should likewise be careful to rid sin from our lives, to not ruin the eternal bread with useless leaven. Hold onto godly sincerity and truth.
For as I learned in culinary class, what does leaven do? It spreads throughout the dough, consuming and producing gas to expand, to puff up. May we not leave the pureness we have in Christ and allow sin to puff us up in hopeless pride.
Instead, let us live by faith and in humility, knowing that the Bread of Life will remain fresh and fulfill us forever!
I’ll leave you with this:
“Ho! Every one who thirsts, come to the waters; And you who have no money come, buy and eat. Come, buy wine and milk Without money and without cost. “Why do you spend money for what is not bread, And your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, And delight yourself in abundance.” Isaiah 55:2