Jesus and the bread | Jesus’ Creed
Jesus and the bread
During this Lenten Series, our church staff preach through a book titled “Lent: In Plain Sight: A Devotional Through Ten Objects,” by Jill Duffield. The premise of the book is that ordinary objects can invite us to consider divine realities. One of the objects she reflects on is bread. I will spend the next few weeks reflecting on how the bread in the scriptures refers us to a divine reality. What divine reality can the bread indicate to us in this season of Lent?
Bread is an interesting topic for some of us who have dietary restrictions or are trying to maintain a certain diet. For example, I try to stay away from complex carbohydrates during the week. Some people are gluten and dairy free or follow a keto diet that doesn’t even allow bread. And yet the bread throughout the scriptures is a sign of God’s provision reminding the people of God who is God.
In Exodus 16: 1-11 we read that God provided bread (they called it manna) in the wilderness to the people of Israel. The people were recently (only a few months ago) driven out of slavery in Egypt. God performed a variety of signs and wonders through the plagues and through the encounters of Moses and Aaron with Pharaoh. They even crossed a sea on dry land! They were rescued, released, and were on their way to a new land of plenty when they began to complain. The subject of their complaint was “What are we going to eat for dinner?” The Bible tells us that they didn’t just complain, they complained about God. They were angry and they blamed God.
The Israelites said to them, “Oh, how we wanted the Lord to kill us while we were still in the land of Egypt. There we could sit near the pots to cook meat and eat our bread. Instead, you took us out into this wilderness to starve this whole congregation to death.
(Exodus 16: 3)
After all the great times God miraculously provided, they doubted God would provide their dinner and their solution was to return to slavery.
And I wonder if you can understand? How many of us have trusted God for the great moments in life but have a hard time trusting God in the small ones? We may have trusted God for salvation, God for healing, or freedom from sin. We can expect God to come through the great ways, but we doubt or wonder if God will get away with it in the mundane and ordinary things of life.
I have been a Youth Pastor for fourteen years. Sarah was in my youth group many years ago and came with me to summer camp. For most Christian teens, camp is a “spiritual high” experience. They spend the week worshiping and praying together. They hear inspiring sermons. Many of them commit and re-engage in their faith at summer camp. This was the case with Sarah. She was truly ready to change her whole life and follow Jesus. Her plan was to leave her toxic relationships and start investing in nurturing friendships. She had everything sorted out and she wanted me to hold her responsible. It was about ten days after the camp that we met in Chic-Fil-A (as we do when we are Youth Pastor). I asked her about the commitments she shared with me when she quickly explained to me that she had given up on the idea. She said, “Yeah, it’s just too hard. And I’ve decided that God doesn’t really care or have nothing to do with my friends anyway, does he? “
This is why bread is important. The bread directs us to a God who cares about our “dinner”. Sarah’s friendships were the equivalent of the Israelite dinner. It was the area of her life where she doubted God’s provision. She believed that God didn’t care, that God wouldn’t come for her in this area. The bread reminds us that God provides for the great things in life and also for the small things. The bread reminds us that perhaps God provides primarily through the common and the ordinary, and even in the unexpected places.
In what area of your life do you doubt God’s provision? Maybe you are complaining and complaining about God in this season? May the bread invite you to consider a God who always provides big and small.
“Holy is the job of planning, inbox cleaning and parent / teacher conferences.
May our to-do lists be infused with the lightness of lemon scented candles.
Holy is the work of the dishes, the laundry, the cooking and the organization.
May our productivity be rooted in the Beloved so that our bodies carry Love as spring brings hope.
Holy is the work of guiding, encouraging, encouraging and supporting.
May our determination sow joy instead of resentment.
Saint is the daily chore of a larger goal.
-Rhesa Higgins, eleven: 28 ministries