Take This Bread

cross almost all cultures, sharing a meal is a method used to establish or declare a relationship. It wasn’t much different during Jesus’s life on earth. Breaking bread together was an act of hospitality, an invitation to community, or a declaration of unity. Breaking bread implied relationship or the desire to establish one.

This is why if you read through the Gospels and simply read all the passages about food you can get a pretty good idea about whom Jesus wanted to establish relationships with; the religious people and those never thought to enter church, men and women, rich and the poor, the educated and those who were day laborers (fishermen). In fact, Jesus seems to want to establish a relationship with everyone.

Remember the feeding of the 5,000 (John 6:1–15)? A great crowd of people had followed Jesus to the other side of the Sea of Galilee and seeing that they had followed him he decides to feed them. Because, you see, Jesus doesn’t want people who just follow his teaching, he wanted people to be in real relationship with him and he knew there was always a better chance that would happen over food.

But just a few verses later, Jesus says that breaking bread is going to be even more intimate when we come to the table with him. “I am the bread of life,” and whoever consumes me—whoever takes me into their life as their very food and the sustaining element of their life—will never be hungry and will live forever (John 6:25-59). Now Jesus was not inviting his people to become cannibals when he proclaimed his body to be the bread of life to be consumed by his people, but he was inviting them to an intimacy far greater than anything they have ever known.

I want you to need me like food and I want to give myself to you like bread.

As we continue to follow after Jesus Christ I want to encourage us not just to be consumed by following the things Jesus did, but to consume him. This may seem crazy to consume Christ, but you and I know how to do this, for we are consumers of many things. We take in countless other things and consider them a sustaining part of our lives. In fact, this is what the world calls us, we are “consumers.” And Jesus says, “You don’t have to quit being a consumer, just feed on me instead of the things of feeding on the things of this world.”

I want you to need me like food and I want to give myself to you like bread.

Jesus wants us to consume him and not just be consumed by the work that he has called us towards. And so my prayer as we finish up this year is that we would not just learn to break bread with Jesus sitting in close proximity, but that we would all learn to take Jesus's very presence into our very lives. For Jesus is not just inviting us to work for him but is inviting us into an intimacy far greater than anything we have ever known.

May we as a community need him like food and may we find that Jesus so generously gives himself to us like bread.

-Pastor Judy