I don’t know about you, but after communion, I want more bread. Maybe it is just because I come to church hungry. No, not figuratively- like literal belly-rumble hungry. A little pinch of a loaf doesn’t satisfy my stomach. I feel immature when my hunger for more bread interrupts my thanksgiving prayer for God’s metaphorical bread. But hey, that is why God chose the analogy of bread to describe our daily, common, utter need of His Son.
Of course communion leaves us unsatisfied. It is just a foretaste of the great banquet to come when we will spend eternity in God’s marvelous presence. We can not attend the great banquet in its fullness on this side of heaven, but God promises that if we believe he is enough to satisfy us forever starting today then we can experience abounding joy, abiding peace and abundant life here on earth as well.
When we eat our fill of Christ only, we will never hunger for spiritual sustenance (John 6:35). Like the widow whose baking ingredients miraculously were never used up, Jesus will never wane (1 Kings 17). Like the manna that fed the Israelites for decades, Jesus will never subside (Exodus 16). The trouble is we do not always choose His bread at the spiritual potluck.
When we indecisively step up to the spread on life’s table, that beautiful Jesus-bread doesn’t exactly glow before our worldly eyes. We are tempted to dollop on a side of greed, sprinkle on some pride, sniff the lust, and taste a portion of gratification. Even when we take a solitary helping of bread, we may slather it with superiority butter. We may survey Jesus’ commandments like condiments on a tray, pickily choosing whether or not to obey each based on personal preferences.
But a life of faith is not a buffet; one loaf is enough. And commandments are not condiments; they are folded into the bread dough. Christ describes himself through his commands and he means for his followers to be Christlike too. Our pickiness crashes our personal transformation and hinders our ministries. Jesus’ command to become like him is proof that we can be like him! For he never gives us a task that the Holy Spirit wont help us accomplish. God promises to “enable us to share His divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by common human desires” (2 Peter 1).
Some hearers are repelled by God’s commands. They mutter,
“So this is the only way? I don’t want a boss. How restrictive. How exclusive. I prefer the spiritual buffet.”
Some drop their jaw and gawk in grateful amazement. They rejoice,
“So there is a way for me to be freed from the pain of sin? I can rely on God. How gracious. How inclusive.”
By grace, Jesus went to the cross and broke himself like bread to atone for our sins! Oh how he loves us! Oh how worthy of our love he is! He said, “If you love me, you will obey my commandments” (John 14:15, 21). He said, “Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again” (John 6:35). And we know we love Christ more than ourselves when we reject appetizing temptations saying, Obedience trumps all. Unlike manna-eating Israelites, we have food options. A little scoop of Jesus just won’t do. He’s the whole meal. Let’s forgo the buffet and choose the bread that is Christ. Let’s let Him satisfy us forever starting today.
PRAYER: Jesus, you are the Word made flesh- that bread that we live on. Because you graciously allowed yourself to be broken like bread, we can come boldly to your banqueting table! Help us to choose your nourishment only and reject the world’s phony meal. We will never hunger because your bounty never dwindles. Thank you.
This devotional appeared, in part, in a Lent Devotional book for Christ Chapel in 2016.