Summary: Jesus is the "Bread of Life." Bread is highly significant in the bible as a matter of mystery, respect and especially covenant.
1. Do you remember the story of the school teacher who invited her students to bring things to Show and Tell that symbolized their religion? A Catholic girl brought a crucifix; a Jewish boy brought a Star of David; and a Church of Christ girl brought a casserole dish because she couldn’t bring a baptistery.
2. The Bible has a great focus on food and eating.
a. Trees in Garden of Eden
b. Meat after the flood if Kosher
c. Seven Feasts of God in Leviticus 17; PLUS Hanukkah and Purim
d. Some of the sacrifices – some of the animal to God some to people
3. In Jesus’ day the average person ate barley bread and olives; occasionally they ate meat – Passover and perhaps a wedding; some who lived on the coast had access to dried fish;
4. John 6.35-40; 41-51; 52-59 (in 6.1-15 Jesus fed the 5K and the people came looking for him)
5. Bread in scripture had at least three emphases
a. Mystery of life after death of the seed
• Worship of Baal, fertility god with spear and drum – imagine being an Israelite and plowing your field but don’t get rain while your pagan neighbor has rain and crops; When one saw Baal cast down his spear and heard his drum rain came; maybe you don’t give up on YHVH, but you keep a Baal idol on hand, just in case; idols of Baal had a lightning bolt-shaped spear in one hand and a drum mallet in the other – lightning and thunder
• Jesus is the great mystery of life form death – John 12.24 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.
b. Sustenance –
• Bread was respected for its life giving qualities – tear bread, do not cut
• The Romans and Jewish leaders did not respect Jesus – cut him
• Disciples handled his body respectfully
I. Covenant is a Key Theme in the Bible
A. Noah and Rainbow
B. Abram and the Land Promise/Messiah (Genesis 18.1; 12.5)
C. Moses at Sinai
1. Unleavened Bread of Exodus and Feast of Unleavened Bread
2. Table of Showbread
D. Jesus’ Covenant with Us – Luke 22.19-20
II. Bread was Often a Key Ingredient in Covenants
A. Bread and Salt were Used in Covenants of Reconciliation
1. Salt would be divided and the two adversaries would each eat part of the salt in their meal signifying an end of hostility
2. “Sulkah” – Arabs eat a meal of reconciliation (using salt and bread) to end conflict
3. Some of the Pharisees were upset because Jesus was eating with Tax Collectors – Luke 15.1-2
Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him. 2 And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”
4. He had also eaten with Pharisees, too -- Luke 7.36-38
36 One of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee's house and reclined at table. 37 And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, 38 and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment.
B. Illustration of the Lost Boy – Luke 15.11-32
1. Father’s Humiliation – the Son’s request and the Son’s Return
a. Son’s Speech – to be a hired servant
b. The Father RAN and interrupted the speech
2. Restoration of Son’s Place in the Family
a. Sandals – Sons have sandals, Slaves are barefoot (Moses at Burning Bush)
b. Robe – Sons have robes; Slaves have Tunics
c. Ring – Access to the Family’s Bank Account; used like a credit card in spite of the fact he had already given him his inheritance; Slaves do not have this luxury
3. The FEAST as a means of Final Reconciliation
a. Formal Reconciliation with his Father
b. Formal Reconciliation with the Community
c. NO Reconciliation with the Older Brother
C. Jesus and His Disciples
1. Most either ran away or denied Jesus in some form at his Crucifixion
2. After the Resurrection He began Appearing to and Eating with His Disciples
3. Luke 24.28-35 –
28 So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He acted as if he were going farther, 29 but they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.” So he went in to stay with them. 30 When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. 31 And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight. 32 They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?” 33 And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem. And they found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, 34 saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” 35 Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread.