Bread is the staff of life, yet it only lasts a short while before it molds. Why? Why didn’t God create a more permanent variety of bread? He did. It is something that is very important for us to understand.
I want us to understand the power of the bread that lasts.
We will discuss how God provides bread that molds so that we will seek the bread that lasts.
Forget the junky white stuff that some people call bread, there are so many wonderful varieties of whole-grain bread that there is no reason to eat unhealthy rubbish, even if it is deceptively labeled wholesome. In countries drowning in false advertising, we miss out on the wonderful varieties that other countries enjoy every day. Flour can be so much more interesting than nutrient-depleted white flour. There are acorn, almond, amaranth, bean, barley, buckwheat, cassava, chestnut, chickpea, coconut, corn, emmer, fonio, hemp, kamut, mesquite, millet, oats, pea, potato, rice, rye, sorghum, soy, spelt, tapioca, teff, triticale and quinoa flours. Where have we been? We have been in a fog of advertising deception which lies to us every day that overpriced, nutrient-poor garbage is healthy. We need real bread. There is also a bread that lasts forever, Jesus Christ (John 6:24-35).
Today’s bread may be tomorrow’s mold. Some things just don’t last. The air is filled with thousands of species of fungi. When food is left out, it molds turning organic matter into nutrient rich soil. Some varieties of mold can double in size every hour. Molds create what science calls biotic decomposition or biodegradation of almost every substance known, except some metals. Food is degraded by mold and more quickly at warmer temperatures. Most things in life are only temporary such as health, wealth, applause and gold medals. Why are we so enamored with things that do not last? All our bodies could eventually just mold and turn to dust. I love conversations with the elderly. They more than anyone else realize the temporary nature of things. Let’s eat the bread that will not spoil, Jesus Christ (John 6:24-35).
Why politicians don’t answer questions
News reporters criticise politicians for not answering questions, yet that is one thing that politicians often do right. A reporter may be setting a trap, or asking irrelevant trivia, not the real issue. Like Jesus a wise politician may not answer the question, but the real issue (John 6:24-35). People in the crowd asked Jesus, “When did you get here?” In similar circumstances we may be tempted to answer something like, “Oh a few hours ago.” But, that is not the answer Jesus gave. Instead of answering the question, he answered the issue. Paraphrasing, "You came looking for another free meal. Don’t waste more time on physical food. Work for permanent food that the Son of Man provides, guaranteed by God the Father to last forever." The real issue was that they were materialistic, trivializing the things of God.
Doing the work
What is doing the work of God? Does it involve our hands or our hearts? Jesus said that it is belief in the one that God has sent (John 6:24-35). When we pursue outward works alone as a measure of our faith, we forget that seemingly good works can come from a heart of unbelief. Jesus emphasized what was of primary importance, belief in him. Repentance comes from two Greek words meaning literally a change of mind. Jesus confronted various religious leaders of his day with the challenge that a genuine change of heart involves good fruits (Matthew 3:8). Their hearts were still filled with unbelief and so their work was hypocritical, hollow and pointless. Christians are called to a life of good works. For works to be genuinely good, they must begin in a repentant heart.
How many people are guilty of misinterpreting miracles? When people chase miracles as an end in themselves they miss the point? That was precisely the problem with the crowd who followed Jesus after the miracle of the fish and loaves (John 6:24-35). Miracles are a common theme among some Christians today. They chase miracles of healing, financial providence and other kinds of divine intervention. Of course God can and does intervene in people’s lives and heal today. Despite the fakers and scoffers there are documented cases of genuine miracles today. That is not the problem. The problem is when we miss the purpose behind any divine miracle. It pays to be very cautious when people claim to be spirit-filled but over-emphasize physical issues like health and wealth. Miracles ought to lead us to a deeper spiritual life in Christ.
It is an oxymoron, a contradiction in terms, yet materialistic Christianity has always been popular. Jesus admonished a crowd that followed him after a miraculous pot luck not to pursue material things but the things of God (John 6:24-35). Does that mean that God is not interested in our health or financial well-being? Of course he is, otherwise Jesus would not have provided food for the large crowd. However, his physical provision was in a spiritual context, his teaching. He did not teach them how to manage food resources, gain more food and certainly not that such provision was the entire purpose of God. The food was a provision along the way to a much higher purpose, the things of God. When we pursue the physical and forget the most important things, then we have a false, materialistic Christianity.
Bread is the staff of life, yet it only lasts a short while before it molds. God did create a more permanent variety of bread, Jesus Christ. He is the bread that lasts. Let us eat.