Among my favorite parts of a wedding reception is the cake moment. The part where the cake matron tells us about what is in a cake and what it took to bake it. There is the flour, oh, the sweeteners, the eggs, and all other things… Bread is about there but not much goes into the bread as it does for the cake. Bread is popular. A major component of the food basket and is a key factor in the economic status of a nation. In High school, it used to be considered a source of wealth… If you could finya for a whole term, you are huko juu… Same as in college, and as I grew older. Point is, that bread is important. Since the time of Adam, when he was told that ‘from the sweat of his brow, he shall eat bread until he would return to the ground. From School going children, to high scholars, to military recruits to presidents and Kings, bread is a part of the diet. It may come in different forms, French, Banana, Multigrain, brown, white, cornbread, English bread… Bread!
And Jesus said to them, “How many loaves do you have?” They said, “Seven, and a few small fish.” And directing the crowd to sit down on the ground, he took the seven loaves and the fish, and having given thanks he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. (ESV)Matthew 15: 34-36
Bread has been a significant marker for life throughout generations. It signifies life, and sustenance.
BREAD: The Genesis.
Genesis 3:19 By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
Adam was told that he would eat bread until he would return to the ground. This was after the fall. While the bread was not the main theme in this verse (Punishment is), the Lord was still assuring him that from bread, would he get sustenance and life until he would, go back to the ground from which he came.
In Genesis 14 we see Melchizedek bringing over bread and wine to Abraham. – Which I am convinced was the First Communion Service on Record.
Genesis 14:18-20 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. (He was a priest of God Most High.) And he blessed him and said, “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand!” And Abram gave him a tenth of everything. (ESV)
Melchizedek opens our eyes as a foreshadowing of Christ and allows us to see bread and wine – bread, especially in another light – It is not just a pastry made of finely milled flour, not just a product of wheat.
We see this King-Priest, who was signifying Christ, who I believe was Christ, giving bread to Abram. Only Jesus in the New Testament did this. We see the role of the priesthood in providing life, and sustenance, through the bread of life, who is Christ, who is The Word. Below are other scenarios of bread transactions.
In Genesis 18:6 Abraham asked Sarah to make bread cakes for his guests (The 3 men who had brought him the gospel – the good news of a son). Lot in Genesis 19:3 offered the angels of the Lord bread in his house when they had come to Sodom to rescue him from the impending destruction.
On a sad note, when Hagar had to be sent away with Ishmael in Genesis 21:14, “Abraham rose up early in the morning and took bread and a skin of water and gave it to Hagar, putting it on her shoulder. And he sent her away with the child, and she went, wandering about in the wilderness in Beersheba.” – As an aside, imagine Hagar was wandering about. He did not have a specific place to go 🤷♂️😢😢
BREAD: An Israelite Encounter
The bread was so important that there was a chief baker, in the palace where Joseph had been jailed. (Genesis 40) By now you get the drift… Bread, Bread Everywhere. The Israelites… Exodus 12 is full of instructions on how to take, Bread – yes, how to take/ eat the bread. Unleavened, with fire-roasted meat, and at specific times, with bitter herbs.
Exodus 12:15 Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall remove leaven out of your houses, for if anyone eats what is leavened, from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel. (ESV)
Notice after crossing the Red Sea, Holiness begins. Separation begins. From this point forward, bread is not bread anymore… The Word of God Specifies unleavened bread. Unleavened – No Yeast. Exodus 12: 8 – 20. For special occasions – Now that ceremonial worship has begun, Sabbath is a major event by now, so we see the frequency with which we get bread during these occasions.
Exodus 13:7 unleavened bread shall be eaten for seven days; no leavened bread shall be seen with you, and no leaven shall be seen with you in all your territory. (ESV)
Quick pause from bread here. Remember the Israelites were taken away from Egypt and its slavery so that they could worship and serve the Lord. However, they came out here and they were carried away by Physical hunger… It reached a point they were treated to a constant supply of Bread-like meal – Manna, and Meat for years… 40 Years! They started wishing that they were back in Egypt, where they ate bread until they were full. The leavened bread…
Exodus 16:4 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Behold, I am about to rain bread from heaven for you, and the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in my law or not. (ESV)
Exodus 16:12 “I have heard the grumbling of the people of Israel. Say to them, ‘At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall be filled with bread. Then you shall know that I am the LORD your God.'” (ESV)
Exodus 16:14-15 And when the dew had gone up, there was on the face of the wilderness a fine, flake-like thing, fine as frost on the ground. When the people of Israel saw it, they said to one another, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was. And Moses said to them, “It is the bread that the LORD has given you to eat. (ESV)
The Israelites ate manna for 40 years. They were hungry, and they wanted bread, bread indeed they got. They ate it until they came to a habitable land. They ate it until they came to the border of Canaan. – The promised land.
BREAD: The Sacrifice!
Exodus 25:30 And you shall set the bread of the Presence on the table before me regularly. (ESV) – The NKJV uses “Before me always”
Context: The Israelites are getting the modalities of the offerings for the sanctuary. The entire chapter 25 is about commands to make the tabernacle and the furniture, Patterns for the tabernacle, The Ark, the mercy seat, and now from verses 23 – 30. The table for the showbread. Through Exodus and Leviticus, we see the specifics with which the bread of offering was to be baked. The flour/ dough needed to be “Finely Milled Flour” – Must. Exodus 29:2, Leviticus 2:4
BREAD: Sustenance and Strength.
Gideon’s Army had bread for sustenance and restoration in Judges 8:4-5 And Gideon came to the Jordan and crossed over, he and the 300 men who were with him, exhausted yet pursuing. So he said to the men of Succoth, “Please give loaves of bread to the people who follow me, for they are exhausted, and I am pursuing after Zebah and Zalmunna, the kings of Midian.” (ESV)
In Ruth 2:14, Ruth was offered bread and wine and ate until she was satisfied, and she had some left over.
Elijah’s Encounter in 1 Kings 17: 3-6 after proclaiming a drought…“Depart from here and turn eastward and hide yourself by the brook Cherith, which is east of the Jordan. You shall drink from the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there.” So he went and did according to the word of the LORD. He went and lived by the brook Cherith that is east of the Jordan. And the ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook. (ESV)
He was sustained by bread and meat brought by a Raven. It is immediately after this that, by his word, the miracle of the multiplied flour and oil, the widow of Zarephath’s encounter. Flour…
The Psalmist, while praising the Lord for his creation and providence said; Psalm 104:14-15 You cause the grass to grow for the livestock and plants for man to cultivate, that he may bring forth food from the earth and wine to gladden the heart of man, oil to make his face shine and bread to strengthen man’s heart. (ESV)
The New Dispensation…
When Jesus was in the desert, the tempter came to him.
Matthew 4:3-4 And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'” (ESV) This came from Deuteronomy 8:3 when they (The nation of Israel) were being told to remember their God. And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. (ESV)
In The Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:11 Jesus taught his disciples to pray and a key component of that prayer was asking God the Father in heaven for Daily bread. Give us this day our daily bread, (ESV) I find it interesting that after teaching the disciples this prayer and especially that line, the disciples would still find themselves without bread. When a bread situation came up… Really?
They needed to feed 4000 men besides women and children. (Back to our Key Text) Matthew 15: 30-38
Matthew 16:5-8 When the disciples reached the other side, they had forgotten to bring any bread. Jesus said to them, “Watch and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” And they began discussing it among themselves, saying, “We brought no bread.” I would imagine they were in an ‘oops! Not again Moment!’ Just the other day we had no bread and here we are again, yet we were taught to pray for bread. If you ask me, these ones did not pray that morning because they would have remembered to carry bread at the point of … give us this day our daily bread…) But Jesus, aware of this, said, “O you of little faith, why are you discussing among yourselves the fact that you have no bread? (ESV)
Matthew 16:9-12 Do you not yet perceive? Do you not remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many baskets you gathered? Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many baskets you gathered? How is it that you fail to understand that I did not speak about bread? Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” Then they understood that he did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees. (ESV)
If leaven was a form of teaching, then bread was bigger! Bigger than just a part of a meal. Up to this particular point, the disciples were yet to load that they were right in the presence of the Bread itself! – In John 6, when people were following him because of eating loaves, he redirected them towards laboring for the food, which endures to everlasting life, which the son of man – Jesus would give them.
The people tried to question Jesus, on what sign he had to prove he was the messiah because multiplying bread was a thing Moses also did. John 6:30-35 So they said to him, “Then what sign do you do, that we may see and believe you? What work do you perform? Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.'” Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.” Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. (ESV)
John 6:48-51 I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”(ESV)
We link this up, by seeing that, The Bread = Jesus = The Word! The Word = Life! That is the sermon, if you have not written anything down that equation will do. The bread = Jesus = The Word! = Life! Therefore the Bread = The Word! Back to our Key Text… Matthew 15:35-36 And directing the crowd to sit down on the ground, Pause – Sit Down! he took the seven loaves and the fish, and having given thanks he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. (ESV)
The Lord is directing that we tell the nations to sit down, Sit down on the ground, and feed on the bread of life, the bread that comes from above. The bread that will remain and fill 7 baskets in one instance and 12 in another. The Word fills and overflows…
(Prayer) The nations are coming, the sanctuary is filling with a multitude, the crowds are coming and they are hungry… The Lord is saying, “You give them something to eat!” Mark 6:37
Just like in the days of Manna, those who picked little did not lack and those who picked a lot did not have any leftovers. The word of God, the Bread of life, the manna from heaven satisfies all.
Matthew 26:26-28 Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. (ESV)
In Luke 22:15 Jesus said to his disciples, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. (ESV)
It is my prayer that you earnestly desire to partake of this bread, just like Jesus did because right there is life. That bread has more to it than just the satisfaction of the stomach. Find the sermon below.