9 February 2014
I am amazed at the rich meaning of why bread was often used by Jesus to represent himself.
When Jesus was tempted by satan in the desert to turn the stones into bread because Jesus had been fasting for 40 days, Jesus replied that “Man shall not live on bread alone, but by every Word that comes from the Father.”
Later, Jesus broke and multiplied 5 loaves of bread and two fish to feed over 5,000 people and yet another time, Jesus broke and multiplied 7 loaves of bread and some fish to feed over 4,000.
Jesus talked about the leaven of the Pharisees which he told his disciples to beware of (his disciples initially thought Jesus was talking about bread again, but Jesus corrected them that he was referring to the corrupted practices and teachings of the Pharisees). Unleavened bread is of symbolic importance to the Jews and Christians, and Jesus used this symbolism to warn of the corrupt teachings that slowly found their way into the purity of God’s Word.
Again in John 6, in the most comprehensive words Jesus spoke, He again used bread to symbolize who He was:
“I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty…
“I tell you the truth, anyone who believes has eternal life. Yes, I am the bread of life! Your ancestors ate manna in the wilderness, but they all died. Anyone who eats the bread from heaven, however, will never die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live forever; and this bread, which I will offer so the world may live, is my flesh.”
In the last supper, Jesus made his last supper another opportunity to provide symbolism in the breaking of bread for his disciples. He said to them, “this is my body, broken for you, take and eat it in remembrance of me.”
Bread was intentionally used by Jesus from the very beginning of His ministry against the devil and through His actions and teachings to His disciples. When i look back into the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000 and 4,000 with just a few loaves of bread, i begin to see the significance of the miracle. It was not just to feed the physical need of the hungry (that Jesus took care of as well), but Jesus did something even more amazing – he broke the bread (as his body) and gave it to many (more than what could be physically possible – because at that point in time, it was no longer bread, but His body that was being broken), and Jesus asked His disciples (not himself) to feed the hungry (just as Jesus is asking us to do the same), and ALL ate and were satisfied (notice how the word chosen was not “full” but “satisfied”, possibly symbolizing something deeper spiritually), and the most amazing thing after each time Jesus did that – the disciples return with baskets FULL of broken pieces of bread and fish (in other words, multiplication of “bread” to feed, heal and satisfy the masses would never end – there was not just abundance of more than in the beginning, but it was to symbolize also, i believe, that many more would be fed with the same bread of life leftover from everyone who eats of the bread of life.).
I am just in awe of the richness of scripture and the life of Jesus. Who else but God could have done something so amazing and so beyond wonderful for us. Just to think about the bread of life, how it will always continue to multiply, how we are entrusted with the bread now and how there will always be an abundance even as we give what is beyond physically possible – Jesus says, I will always be enough, with what you have, give it to me, and i will multiply it to feed my lambs, and there will be an abundance left over, even more than when it was first given.