Summary: A sermon focusing us on Give Us Day This Our Daily Bread
Give Us Day This Our Daily Bread
There is a story about the President of Anheiser-Busch who went over to the Vatican for a private audience with the Pope. The meeting went something like this: “Holy Father, we are prepared to make a donation of $10 million to the church if you would simply replace ‘Give us this day our daily bread’ with ’Give us this day our daily beer.’” “I’m afraid, that’s not possible, my son.” “Could you do it for a bigger contribution, say $25 million dollars?” “I’m afraid that’s not possible, my son.” “Holy Father, here is my final offer. Change “bread” to “beer:” and I will write you a check right now for $100 million dollars.” The Pope picks up the phone and says: “Cardinal Mancini, how firm is our contract with Pillsbury?”
During this sermon series, we’re trying to take a step back and look at the lessons in the Lord’s Prayer that Jesus was trying to teach us. Today we are focusing on the phrase, “Give us This Day Our Daily Bread.” There are six petitions or things we ask of God in the Lord’s Prayer. The first three have to do with our relationship to God. But a shift occurs when we move from ‘Thy’ to ‘Us’ Only with those attitudinal postures in place of approaching God personally as daddy, acknowledging and revering his holiness and affirming that it is about His kingdom and not ours, are our souls in the right posture to now corporately ask for our daily bread.
In Bible times, bread was absolutely essential for every Middle Eastern meal. This is indicated by the fact that there are over 300 references to bread throughout the Scriptures. People did not have forks and spoons to eat with so they used a piece of bread torn from a loaf for dipping into the various common food bowls set before them. Bread was the vehicle that brought food from the table to your mouth to sustain your life. Without modern preservatives, fresh loaves had to be baked every day. When Jesus tells us to pray for our daily bread, he’s not just talking about bread alone, he’s talking about food for survival.
By incorporating daily bread into His distinctive Disciples’ Prayer, first, Jesus was drawing an intentional reference back to the wilderness of Zin, the site of daily manna, something the Disciples well understood. The Wilderness of Zin is where the Israelites spent the vast majority of their 40-year desert experience. Seeing this place, you are immediately struck by how barren this region is. The Bible refers to this place as “that great and terrible wilderness” Deut 1:19, 8:15 These early Hebrews complainingly describe this environment to Moses as “no place for seed, or for figs, or of vines, or of pomegranates; nor is there any water to drink.” Numbers 20:5b This is why daily manna was absolutely essential for the survival of the Israelites. In this arid setting, there is no source of food. Without God’s daily provision of manna, the Israelites would have quickly perished. That is the corporate historical context that Jesus intends us to evoke in our hearts and minds when we ask for our daily bread.