Sunday, January 3, 2016

The Bread of Life

Happy New Year! 
We enter this new year with all the anticipation and hope of new things to come; however, whatever you hope to accomplish or overcome, nothing happens until you renew your mind!  This is the only "mastermind" program you will ever need!  Proven and guaranteed to bring results!!

I had the privilege of officiating Communion during our Sunday Worship Service.  I had been preparing my message for the last few days when the Holy Spirit brought to my remembrance a scripture that captured my heart in an earlier sermon.  Luke 24:30-32 comes alive to me in a most profound way.  Receive the Word of the Lord.

The Holy Spirit began to reveal to me the significance and the sanctity of "the breaking of bread" in Jewish culture.  Bread was a common staple of the Jewish meal and it's significance dates back to the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt.  After the powerful miracle of their deliverance, God sustains them in the desert with manna (bread) from heaven.  Miraculously God sent bread from heaven every single day without fail to meet their physical needs.  But that was just a type and shadow of the divine Living Bread that was to come.

 "In the beginning was the Word; and the Word was with God and the Word was God. 
The Word became flesh and dwelt among us; and we beheld His glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth."  (John 1:1-2, 14)

In the fullness of time, Jesus was led into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit to be tempted of the devil for 40 days and 40 nights.  During this time, the enemy tried to get Him to renounce Who He was, prostitute His power and authority, and to tempt God.  On one occasion he challenged Jesus to turn a rock into bread because he knew Jesus was hungry.  But Jesus throws him a curve ball:  "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God."  Ahhhh!  He equates our physical dependence on bread to our spiritual dependence on the Word of God!  Then He goes one step further!  Throughout His ministry Jesus uses the breaking of bread in miracle after miracle to give wisdom and revelation into Who He is - and He does it masterfully! 

It was also quite common to break bread at The Passover meal.  It was part of their custom.  However, at one such meal, Jesus broke the bread, blessed it and gave it to the disciples and He used the bread to reveal to them the man among them that would betray Him. 

In John 6, Jesus feeds a multitude:  He took the bread and broker it and blessed it, and it miraculously multiplied to feed 5,000 people, His disciples, and with plenty left over!!
Even after He performed this miracle, His disciples come to Him and asked Him to show them a sign!  Jesus is about to introduce a new paradigm - one that will change the way they received the Passover meal forever!

 30 So they asked him, “What sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? 31 Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’[c]
 32 Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
 34 “Sir,” they said, “always give us this bread.”
 35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the Bread of Life. Whoever comes to me will never go  hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty."  51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”

In the 24th Chapter of Luke, Jesus has been resurrected and His body is no longer in the tomb.  He appears to Mary who goes to tell some of the other disciples that she has seen The Messiah; but they don't believe her.  Two of the disciples are on the road to Emmaus, discussing the events of the last 24 hours, when Jesus quietly joins them on their journey.  He listens in on their conversation, and asks, "What are you talking about?" (paraphrased).  They look at Him funny and ask Him, "Are you the only one in Jerusalem who doesn't know what's going on?"  Jesus begins to talk to them about things spoken of by the prophets - fascinating stuff!  They are hanging on every word, but they do not recognize Who He is!!  Finally, they decide to turn in for the night, and they invite Jesus to come and have dinner with them, and He agrees.  And then, a most amazing thing happens...

Luke 24:30-32

New International Version (NIV)
 30 When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. 32 They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”

 What an amazing revelation!!  Their eyes were opened and they recognized Him!  Jesus, again, with the breaking of bread, reveals Himself in stunning revelation.  And of course, they now realize the passion that burned in their hearts as He spoke to them.  That's how it is when we partake of the Living Bread - The Bread of Life:  our eyes our opened to recognize His work, His presence; our minds receive wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Who He is; and our hearts burn with the passion of Christ! 

So now, back to Communion.  Now we see the tremendous spiritual significance of the "breaking of bread".  It's not just a ceremony!  The Bread is to be received as the Body of Jesus Christ which was broken for us!  Every time we partake of it, we receive a fresh revelation of Who He is - just like fresh manna from heaven every single day! 

Like those disciples on the road to Emmaus, you may be facing strange and troublesome circumstances - trials and tribulations - and you don't know what to do or where to turn.  Jesus is constantly speaking to us, but often in the "noise" of the world, we can't hear Him - we can't recognize His voice.  When you are confused about life's circumstances, go find a quiet place, pick up your loaf of Living Bread, break it open, bless it and partake.  Your eyes will be opened and you will recognize Him!!!

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