Sometime this week you will make a trip to the grocery store to get a loaf of bread. It will be readily available on the shelf. There will be quite a variety to choose from. You will pay little attention to the price, not realizing that the packaging that the bread is wrapped in actually costs more than the wheat that is in the bread. All in all, you will think it a very uneventful trip, but you will be wrong.
It is quite difficult for me, as an American, to understand the importance of bread unless I turn on my TV and watch what is going on in so many parts of the world today. When there is no staff of life there is suffering and famine. A simple loaf of bread: Something, which we do not give a second thought, but in certain parts of the world it means life itself.
It is only as we comprehend that situation that we can really begin to understand the importance of bread not only now but also in the time of Jesus. Just think for a moment how so many significant theological events in the Bible revolve around the subject of bread. The most important event in the Old Testament of course, was the Exodus event--the trip from Egypt to the Promised Land. But what caused the Hebrews to be in Egypt in the first place? It was for want of bread you will recall. The wheat crop had failed due to draught, and the Hebrews had migrated to the land of the Pharaoh because there was a surplus in storage there. It was bread, or the lack of it, that initiated this whole chain of events.
Later, when the Jews were on their way to the Promised Land, and they were facing starvation in the bleak wilderness, God rained down bread from heaven, as it was called, in the form of manna.
When Jesus began his ministry, he went into the dessert where he was tempted. As the hot sun braced down upon him, he looked out with sweaty eyes at the round white rocks, and we are told that they took on the appearance of loaves of bread. Satan was tempting Jesus to give bread to the people and end the suffering of world hunger. Yet, Jesus spurned that temptation because, he said, that man cannot live by bread alone.
One day Jesus was praying by the roadside when the disciples walked up and saw him. They were so impressed by the genuine nature of his prayer that they implored him: Master, teach us how to pray. It was in the midst of the Masterís prayer that he reminds us of the importance of the staff of life. He prayed: Give us this day our daily bread.
Bread is central to the major stories of the bible but...
1. To satisfy your hunger for heaven you cannot eat the bread of earth.
2. To satisfy your hunger for heaven you must eat the bread of heaven.
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