Have we ever asked ourselves how does Jesus apply in daily life? If Jesus is the bread of life, how can we eat him every day?
I want us to understand the importance of Jesus in daily Bible study and meditation.
We will discuss bread, Bible study and how the whole Bible centers around Jesus.
How often do we eat bread
How often do we eat bread? We can have it plain or toasted for breakfast, as a wrap or sandwich for lunch, as crisp bread for an afternoon snack and as croutons on a salad in the evening. There are dozens of ways we can enjoy bread all day long. How often do we partake of the bread of life, Jesus (John 6:35, 41-51)? Jesus often spoke of common everyday elements to associate with spiritual principles, because we ought to be thinking spiritually all day long. Some people are annoyed if we seem to talk about Jesus too much. We don’t talk about bread all day long, but it is everywhere. Perhaps that’s how Jesus ought to be in our lives. As we go about our daily tasks, do we think about what Jesus has done and taught us?
The bread of life in Bible study
In our spiritual studies do we partake of the bread of life, Jesus (John 6:35, 41-51)? The entire Bible is important to the Christian faith. The teachings of great leaders like Chrysostom, Thomas Aquinas, Augustine, Luther, Calvin and Wesley are important. However, we can study these things at home, in seminary or Bible college and neglect the bread of life. In my Methodist tradition it is sometimes said that we need to get off Wesley’s horse and back onto the rock of Christ. Jesus explained clearly what the central teachings of the church ought to be in Matthew 28:20, “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.” As institutions and individual Christians study the Holy Scriptures, full study ought to include the whole text in historical context, but the bread of life is still Jesus.
Anything but Jesus
We can easily focus on health and wealth, but neglect the example of suffering and self-sacrifice that Jesus left us. We can focus on mere human beings and their authority more than the authority of Christ. We can overemphasize the importance of our heritage and traditions while neglecting the heritage that Jesus left us. We can chase miracles coming from Jesus but never the purpose of miracles in bringing us to Jesus. We can spend our lives researching theology and never come to Jesus. There are so many distractions which can cause us to focus on anything but Jesus. Let us drink of the living water so that we never thirst again (John 4:10-14) and partake of the bread of life (John 6:35, 41-51) and let us not allow distractions to take away what Jesus has to offer.
Communion without Jesus
Do we partake of communion without partaking of Jesus? Can we partake of the bread after thanksgiving (the meaning of Eucharist) and still not partake of the bread of life (John 6:35, 41-51)? Is it the Lord’s Supper that we share or a counterfeit and hollow supper of our own self-worship? Can we so worship our own traditions surrounding the communion, stoles, garments, crossing everything in sight, theories about the presence of Christ in the bread and wine, wine versus juice, unleavened versus leavened bread, and who has what authority to perform what ceremonies, that we miss the whole point? Have we created a communion either without Jesus or where Jesus is shoved into a corner and our ideas and traditions come to the forefront? Jesus said that he is the bread from heaven. Do we commune with Jesus?
Jesus outside of the box
The biggest problem with our denominations is the narrow doctrines which restrict thinking about Jesus to within denominational walls. If I study a Lutheran commentator he is not likely to challenge the idea of consubstantiation when discussing Jesus as the bread of life (John 6:35, 41-51). If I read a Catholic commentator he is not likely to go outside the box of transubstantiation, just as an Eastern Orthodox commentator is unlikely to contradict his own tradition. If I read a United Church of Christ commentator she is not likely to go outside of the box of interpretations associated with that denomination. Even among so-called inclusive United Methodist Church commentators few are truly inclusive of other opinions outside of the Wesleyan box. Yet, all these churches are Christian and all contribute wonderfully to discussion of Jesus outside of the box.
Christ-centered Bible study
If Jesus is the bread of life (John 6:35, 41-51), what do we do with the rest of the Bible? Jesus referred often to lessons from the Old Testament, the Hebrew scriptures. Paul and the other apostles pointed to Jesus, not themselves or the church as the way to salvation. So there is a clue as to how we would study the rest of the Bible. Every part of the Bible points to Jesus in some way and so we study it from that point of view. This is called Christ-centered Bible study. We do not study Genesis without noticing the seed of the woman, Jesus’ descent from Abraham, his high priesthood like that of Melchizedek, his being a sacrificed son like Isaac, or a rejected brother like Joseph. Throughout the Bible we feed on the bread of life.
Jesus in Exodus
Jesus is the bread of eternal life (John 6:35, 41-51) and can be found in type throughout the Bible. For instance, in the second book of Moses, commonly called Exodus, Jesus is pictured in Moses’ life itself. Though he was a great deliverer, active in freeing a whole nation from slavery, Jesus is a greater deliverer. He came to free the whole world. Jesus is also called the lamb of God, pictured by the Passover lamb, an innocent sent to the slaughter. As we partake of communion, we eat his flesh as the ancient Israelites ate the Passover lamb. Jesus is also pictured in the Manna from heaven. He said that he was the bread sent from heaven, providing eternal sustenance. His eternal salvation is pictured in the temporal salvation of the water coming from the rock at Horeb.
Jesus in Leviticus
Jesus as the source of eternal life (John 6:35, 41-51) can be found in type in the third book of Moses, called Leviticus. In the burnt offering, Jesus is seen offering himself completely. In the meal offering our fellowship is pictured with a perfect sweet Savior. In the peace offering we see Jesus as creating peace between God and humanity. The sin offering pictures Christ who died for our human corruption and similarly the trespass offering pictures Christ’s sacrifice for our trespasses against God’s law. The festivals also pictured Christ. Passover pictured the lamb; firstfruits pictured Jesus as God’s first fruit, Jesus atonement for our sins, and God’s incarnation in Jesus and tabernacling with humanity as one of us. Jesus is also the scapegoat upon whom all our sins rest and he is the high priest of our salvation.
Jesus in Numbers & Deuteronomy
Jesus is the bread of life (John 6:35, 41-51), the center of our faith. He can also be found pictured in Numbers and Deuteronomy. He is pictured in the cloud and the fire, the light of the world will come again in the clouds. He is the royal scepter to rise out of Israel. As the bronze serpent was raised up, so was Jesus on the cross. He quenches our thirst like the water from the rock. He was a prophet like Moses. The cities of refuge typify refuge in him though our sins are as scarlet. His return will be announced by a trumpet. As Aaron ran with the censor of incense to intervene for Israel, so too does Jesus intervene on our behalf with the Father. Jesus is pictured in the Urim and Thummim, truth and judgment.
If Jesus is the bread of life, why would we not want to eat him every day? We can as we read or study God’s Word and meditate upon it.