Sunday, March 13, 2011

Not by Bread Alone

"Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God."

Matthew 4:4

That's a fascinating statement from the One who called Himself the Bread of life. Note the phrase by "bread alone." The idea here is that bread, by itself, cannot give us the full picture of God's presence with us. We have heard that statement so many times that it loses its stunning reality. Bread communicated presence to the Israelites. Bread was the means by which God communicated to the Israelites that they were not, in fact, alone. Bread was a physical symbol of the presence of God.

God was with Israel. He chose them, made them His beloved people, rescued them from slavery and made them into a great nation. They were a most insignificant of people, but He was with them and His presence made them great.

In Egypt, He called Moses and instructed him to make a Passover feast, with bread.

In the wilderness, He fed them with manna.

In the tabernacle, He instructed them to keep a Bread of the Presence on the table.

In the temple, He instructed them to have a Bread of the Presence on the table.

And then the Bread of the Presence, Emmanuel, came. He was God with us.

"The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.”

There is a profound truth in a simple loaf of bread: God is with us. He, who will make His own kingdom grow like leaven in a loaf, has broken the reign of sin in our lives. He who embraced Israel and led that nation embraces and leads us. He who understood their need for signs and symbols instructing them to keep feasts and celebrations understands our needs and instructs us in the Lord's Supper. He who said, "take and eat"...also said "this is My body." His sacrifice on our behalf was not happenstance, it was planned and calculated. He understood our great need for redemption and intercession. He was our high priest. The priest that offered up His own life as a sacrifice.

"Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great high priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful."

He who promised is faithful. We are not alone. God is with us. Take and eat.

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