At the beginning of the lockdown there was a shortage of fresh bread. Shelves in supermarkets were emptied not only of loaves, but of bags of flour.
When we eventually managed to buy some flour, my wife decided to again use an electric ‘bread maker’ which we had. It was enjoyable to wake up to the aroma of freshly baked bread wafting around the house. It was even more enjoyable to take the loaf out of the device, cut it and eat some.
Eating a slice of that bread reminded me that Christ used bread to illustrate a powerful lesson about Himself and of the necessity and simplicity of salvation. In Christ’s day, bread formed the staple diet of rich and poor. People ate it at every meal: with a form of yoghurt or cheese for breakfast, with vegetables for lunch, and with fish or small pieces of lamb for dinner.
On the day after He multiplied the five small loaves to feed the 5,000, Christ rebuked the crowd by declaring they were only following Him in order to get free bread. He told them they ought to have a greater concern to obtain the bread that would satisfy their spiritual needs and give them eternal life. That bread could not be bought in a shop or baked at home but came down from heaven.
That bread is a person. The Saviour emphatically stated in John 6 v 35, ‘I am the bread of Life. He that cometh to me shall never hunger.’
How appropriate that He who is the bread of life came down from heaven and was born in Bethlehem, for Bethlehem means ‘the house of Bread’!
A slice of bread left on a plate will not benefit anyone. It has to be taken and eaten. Salvation is not obtained by merely knowing that Christ is the only Saviour and is able to save us. We must believe in He who is the bread from Heaven, come to Him and personally receive Him into our life.
When Christ multiplied the loaves, I doubt if any refused to take some and eat it. Yet the next day when Christ offered Himself as the Bread of Life, many of those same people would not humble themselves, acknowledge their spiritual need as sinners and stubbornly refused to take Christ as Saviour and Lord.
Jesus Christ is the Living Bread from Heaven for our spiritual need. He is freely offered to each of us and received by faith.
By Wor. Bro. Rev. Dr. Ron Johnstone, Grand Chaplain