Give us this day our daily bread…a truly hard saying of Jesus for most Christians

Posted: September 29, 2012 in Jesus Christ, Life, power, Power of God, Word of Life
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Healthy school lunches are causing a lot of grumbling among teenagers. Mrs. Obama is the target of a great deal of criticism for setting new Federal Standards which limit calories and protein and carbohydrates.  

“We hear them complaining around 1:30 or 2:00 that they are already hungry,” said Linda O’Connor, a high school English teacher at Wallace County High School in Sharon Springs, Kansas. “It’s all the students, literally all the students… you can set your watch to it.”

The USDA has responded to criticism by recommending the students eat a “snack” in the afternoon (see the article here).

Funny, but this is nothing new. I know of a large group of Jews who complained to God Himself about their hunger. God responded with “Manna from Heaven”.  Heavenly food, the food of angels, and still the people complained. They just did not get it. They were clueless to what God was giving them. I fear that many Christians are even more clueless to what God has given them in a book we call the Bible.

Jesus made a statement that His listeners found incredulous. Even His disciples thought He was being a bit ‘crazy’. Yet what Jesus said is the key to understanding the Power of the Word of God! 

So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread the fathers ate and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” John 6:53-58

When the disciples heard Jesus say this, they said “This is a hard saying, who can listen to it?” And Jesus, hearing the internal grumblings of their heart replied, “Do you take offense at this?” Then he amazed them a bit more by asking, “What if you were to see me ascending to where I was before?” In other words, if your eyes were to be opened to see Jesus as Lord of heaven, and yes, Lord of Life, would my words be easier to accept and understand?

As a Pastor I know that most Christians do not grasp the power of the Word of God. They do not depend upon the Word of Life to live their lives. They may know a few common verses, and may even read it now and then, but the Word of God is not the staple of their life, something which they cannot live without. On the contrary, the Word of God is strange and hard to understand to most “Christians.” Yet, we are to see the Word of God as the very source of our life.

This is what Jesus said in John 6, that the Word of Christ must become your life, so much so that you must feast upon it every day. If the Word of God becomes your means of life, you will live indeed! The Words of Christ and His presence are to be as the manna which fell from heaven and provided sustenance for the Israelites for 40 years!

This is what God meant when He spoke to Moses about the manna. He told Moses and the people, “in the morning you shall see the glory of the LORD, because he has heard your grumbling against the LORD. For what are we, that you grumble against us?” (Exodus 16:7)

God’s answer to grumbling was to show His glory. Jesus answer to grumbling was to ask them to see His glory. The Glory of God was the manna. The Glory of Christ was His Word! The manna was a type of the Word of Christ!

When the Jews saw it, they said “What is it?” When the disciples heard Jesus, they said, “What is this, who can listen to it?”

A casual glance at manna said it was nothing special and not very appetizing. A casual glance at the Word of God says it is nothing special, and not very appetizing, especially the way Jesus described it. Yet both are the glory of God!

We must chose to eat it and to live from it. Regardless of what it looks like or how it may seem, the WORD is life! We must make a decision to make it our life, our sustenance! If we do, we will see the GLORY of God!

God says, See, I have set before you this day life on the one hand and death on the other. Therefore, choose life!” (Deuteronomy 30:19). We can choose to value the Word above all else, or we can relegate it to an afterthought, something insignificant as far as our living is concerned. We must make the choice as to whether we gather it for our sustenance each morning.

Give us this day our daily bread

This is what Jesus meant when he taught  His disciples to pray. He told them to ask the Father to “give us this day our daily bread!” (Matthew 6:11) Jesus was not talking about physical bread, but the Bread of Life which is His Word! How do I know this? Look at what He said just a few verses later:

Matthew 6:31-33 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Why should we pray for our food each day when Jesus tells us not to be anxious about it? On the contrary, Jesus says to seek FIRST the Kingdom of God and His righteousness! The foundation of Kingdom Life is the Word of God! If you want to be a good citizen of the Kingdom of God, you must live by His Word! I will be so bold as to state that you cannot be a citizen of God’s Kingdom if you ignore the Word of God!

If you want to experience His life…

Jesus told the people that if they want to experience life, they must eat His flesh…“whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me…” Jesus described himself as the “bread of life”. Bread is used in the Bible as that which is taken into the body and provides nourishment. Two types of bread are found in the Bible, leavened and unleavened. Leaven consistently pictures the corruption of sin (see 1 Corinthians 5:8).

Two Types of Bread

A Christian must chose the bread he takes into his life. The unleavened bread which is sinless and pure, or that which is leavened, corrupt and defiled. The leavened bread comes in a wide variety, ranging from sinful and unhealthy to evil and downright life destroying

The manna which displayed the glory of God was symbolic of Jesus Christ, the “Bread of Life” (John 6:49-51). The Israelites had to respond correctly to this ‘gift’ from God to receive proper nourishment. They were to gather early before the sun became hot and it melted away, or they would go hungry that day, and perhaps another day if it was the day before the Sabbath.

Jesus teaches His disciples to pray early every day, asking the Heavenly Father to send the unleavened, sinless bread of Life to dwell with them. Without the indwelling of Christ through the Holy Spirit, there is no spiritual life in us (John 6:53, 55-58)

Why do we need to ask this of God every day? Isn’t the indwelling a permanent, point in time occurrence? Yes, but His Life can be blocked by our love of the world, love of sin and assorted other selfish reasons. Jesus told Peter that, even though he was clean all over at one point, he still needed his feet washed every day, of Peter could have no part in Jesus…

Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” John 13:8.

While it is true that we are indwelt with the Holy Spirit, He must be invited into our lives each day. He never leads without an invitation. God never takes control of our lives against our will. God wants us to choose willingly to believe and obey Him and seek a relationship with Him.

If we do not chose each day to actively pursue God by partaking of His Word, we will slowly drift away from Him.

Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. (Hebrews 2:1)

We are easily and soon distracted by the cares of this world. Our eyes quickly fall from Him to the glitter all around us. We are easily distracted. This is why God often gets our attention through trials and other circumstances.

However, God may not always strive with us if we continually fall away, smitten by our love affair with the world.

You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. (James 4:4)

Without the strength and power of the Word of God, we will soon find ourselves overcome by the wilderness of the world. We will join the fallen Hebrews. If Jesus realized that “I can of myself do nothing (John 5:30), what chance do we have to overcome this world in our own strength?

Jesus exhorts us to seek His Bread each and every day! Feast on it daily and enjoy His LIFE!

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