Got Bread?

By Melissa McLaughlin

The Joy of Bread

With all the diet fads out there, one diet I always try to avoid is the no-carb diet. Why? I love bread! You see, I have fond memories of bread. Growing up, I was blessed to be raised on my mom’s homemade bread. Not made with a bread machine, mind you, but real, old-fashioned bread made from scratch with flour, yeast, sugar, salt and water. I remember Mom tackling the gigantic blob of unwieldy dough, kneading with all her strength, then tearing it into small chunks to place in bread pans to rise. We watched it magically grow, then giggled as my mom poked the dough back down with her finger. Eventually, the loaves of bread were popped in the oven. The aroma of bread baking is simply heaven! When the bread was finally done, we would bite into the fresh, soft, warm bread, savoring every crumb. In recent years, my dad has taken up bread baking and has even developed his own unique recipe for oatmeal bread. Slightly sweet, with a robust flavor and chewy texture. A piece of his bread, toasted and buttered is another divine experience!

Given my fondness for bread, I am fascinated by the way Jesus repeatedly used references to bread in His teaching.

Spiritual Nourishment

At the beginning of His ministry, when He was tested in the wilderness, Jesus said, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'” Matthew 4:4

In another passage Jesus is called “The Word.”- And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14

Certainly, as soon as Jesus enters the scene, we begin to see our desperate and daily need for His nourishment.

To further elaborate this concept, in John chapter 6, Jesus builds up to a challenging teaching where He claims to be our spiritual bread. The chapter begins with, none other than- bread! Jesus feeds the five thousand using a small boy’s offering of five barley loaves and two fish. John 6:1-15

This miraculous story is followed immediately by another powerful miracle, Jesus walking on water. John 6:16-21

The crowd who ate of Jesus’ miraculous bread the previous day, eagerly followed Him to the other side of the lake where Jesus and His disciples had arrived by boat after the miracle of walking on water. Jesus perceived that crowds were following Him primarily because of their physical needs. In short, they wanted more free bread. But, Jesus wanted to offer something much deeper. Jesus wanted to meet their greatest need, a need that far exceeded their physical hunger. Jesus wanted to satisfy their spiritual hunger.

To help the people move from an understanding of their need for physical bread to an awareness of their soul need for Him, their spiritual bread, Jesus compared Himself to the manna given by God to the Israelite people in the wilderness. John 6:32-33, John 6:48-50

To bring His point home and underscore that He was referring to the spiritual, not the physical, Jesus clarified, “The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing.” John 6:63a. Jesus stated and restated that He is the spiritual bread of heaven and only by partaking of Him, through faith, can we live forever. John 6:35John 6:51

After hearing Jesus teach about their spiritual need for Him, those who were only interested in Jesus providing for their physical needs soon left and no longer followed him. Many people left. John 6:66

My heart aches for Jesus as I read these words. I imagine Him standing there while people mumble, roll their eyes, turn away and walk off. Lots of people. I don’t know what must have hurt more – knowing that people only followed Him to get a free lunch or watching great numbers walk away when He explained the He was the real bread, the eternal bread of heaven, the Savior. Still, my heart aches for Jesus every time I read these words.

The story continues as Jesus turns to His twelve disciples and asks, “Do you want to go away as well?” John 6:67

Simon Peter’s answer continues to echo in our hearts today, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” John 6:68-69

When we come to the end of ourselves, when we come to the end of lives, where else can we go?

Food is no longer enough. Our jobs are no longer enough. Our accomplishments, our accumulations, our family, our friends are no longer enough. On that day when we take our final breath, just as with every breath we take on this day, we have a deep need that goes far beyond our physical needs. We stand as beggars with a soul hunger that cannot be satisfied with anything but Jesus Christ, the only One who can reconcile us to God and bring us to heaven forever. Jesus is our real bread, our spiritual bread, our soul nourishment. Where else can we go?

When the last note of funeral music fades in the air

The goodbyes gently given

The casket quietly closed

It is finished

Where do we go for the words of life?

When the diagnosis is grim

Darkness grows darker still

Treatments are temporary

The pain worsens

Where do we go for the words of life?

When the door shuts behind you for the very last time

The memories packed up

The desk is cleared

The job slips away

Where do we go for the words of life?

When the violence escalates

The hatred intensifies

Tempers flare

Guns fire

Where do we go for the words of life?

When the storm clouds rage

The rains slash against you

The winds push and pull

The floodwaters rise

Where do we go for the words of life?

Our souls long for real nourishment that can only be found in Christ. May we remember where Jesus began.

John 1:1 – In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

John 1:14 – And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Matthew 4:4 – But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'”

John 6:15 – 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.

John 6:35 – 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.”

May we also remember this prophecy from years long past, as we stand in this moment in time, so close to Jesus’ return,

Amos 8:11 – “Behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord God, “when I will send a famine on the land- not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord.

May we hunger and thirst for the true bread of heaven, the Word of God recorded in the pages of the Bible, the living Word of God, Jesus Christ.

Got bread?

Additional Resources:

Collecting – It’s Life or Death! By Melissa McLaughlin

When Everything Falls Apart – 7 Strategies to Get You Through By Melissa McLaughlin

37 thoughts on “Got Bread?”

      • Praise the Lord! Thank you, Siyabonga, for reading and sharing your input. What an encouraging word! I love the way you expressed this, we do feel more life when reading about the Bread of Life! He gives us soul-strength we cannot get anywhere else. Bless you!

      • Amen…on that,You have just change my point of view of my Life mama Thank You so for wonderful words on the scripture. May he give you extra strength to heal those broken heart out there.

      • God bless you, Siyabonga! Thank you for that kind blessing. I pray that God will use both of us to reach those with broken hearts, for He is the great Healer of hearts. I also pray that the Lord will draw you ever closer to His heart, through His written Word, the Bible and His Living Word, Jesus Christ.

  1. Oh such precious thoughts here today! As I came to your words about Jesus weeping as the people turned away from His spiritual bread, Himself, the Living Word, I wept too, thinking of the times I have turned from Him when He spoke a word that felt too hard. Oh! May I let Him keep my heart soft, to receive the Word that is truly life to me! Thank you for sharing what I needed today so much, Melissa!

    • Thank you for the kind words, Bettie! Somehow that part of the scripture has always captured my heart and made me ache for Jesus. To imagine, the One who did all He could to save the people and yet they turned away. The stab of rejection runs deep. But you make a powerful point, my sister. How many times have I turned away when Jesus’ message seemed to hard? Oh Jesus, keep our love strong and our hearts humble before You. Thank you for sharing your deep faith and insightful input. God bless you, dear friend!

  2. Jesus is our bread of life. I loved your poem because it does sum it up for us, where else can we go when everything is crashing around us. The only answer is Jesus. He is our source of nourishment, light, water and air.

    • So true, Yvonne. In the end, where else can we go? When everything is crashing down around us, where else can we go? Jesus is the only solution to all we need. May we hunger and thirst for more of Him and His Word. Bless you!

  3. Another beautifully written blog. I’m really eager to get to know Jesus (instead of just knowing OF him) and between reading from the New Testament and you’re blogs, I feel I’m getting there. Keep them coming Sister Melissa

    • Jimmy, thank you for these words of encouragement! Believe me, my prayer is the same as yours – I am eager to know Jesus more! You are right, reading the Bible renews our minds, grows our knowledge and transforms us more and more into the image of Christ. His Word is powerful stuff! The more I read it, the more I find there is to uncover. I thank God if my blog is adding another small piece to all of that for you. Glory to God!
      God bless you, brother!

  4. Oh, I wish you would have included a recipe for home-baked bread in this blog post! Makes me want a slice, even though I do follow a pretty low-carb diet. But I have repeatedly thought that if bread was bad for you, why then, with all the foods out there, would Jesus use bread as a symbol of Himself if it was bad for you? I think today’s bread, if made with all the processed stuff, is probably bad for you, but back in Jesus’ time, the bread was made with rich whole grains and sometimes lentils. And the grains of wheat were different, too. They were not GMO’d like today’s wheat, which is modified to grow shorter and grow faster (big agriculture businesses do that today). Jesus’ bread was good for you and still is today!

    All this to say is that yes, we need to eat the “Bread of Life” daily – it’s true food for our souls.

    • I agree with you on all counts, Lisa! First of all, bread is just plain delicious, though I do try to keep an eye on carbs overall. And yes, I am absolutely certain that breads made in Jesus’ day were whole grain, pure and healthy.
      “Bread of Life” is a nourishment that is both satisfying and soul-strengthening. May we hunger more and more for Jesus!

  5. First off, your opening paragraph had me yearning for fresh bread! That was a great opening for your post, that left me yearning for Jesus! Without him, life is meaningless and futile. Where else can we go? He does indeed have the words of eternal life and the gift of himself and his presence with us all our lives and into eternity. I can barely stand imagining an eternity without him and what that would do to a soul. Thank you, Jesus, for the gift of yourself! And, thank you, Melissa, for this beautiful post!

    • What a wonderful insight, Melinda! Connecting the yearning for a slice of fresh bread with our deep hunger for Jesus! I honestly cannot imagine surviving even one day without the knowledge of Christ, much less to imagine eternity without Him. May we take the time to sup with Him more and more. Bless you, Melinda!

    • Thank you, Linda, for the encouraging words! Glory to God! I love the way you expressed this, Jesus is our manna from heaven and He is the only true bread. Our souls are starving for Him. May we take time to nourish ourselves with His Word and His Presence through prayer.

  6. Melissa, what a perfect introduction. I used to make sour dough bread when someone gave me a “starter” in a jar and I had to feed it with sugar, then add the other ingredients to a portion of it to make loaves of bread. It was so delicious warm with butter or toasted and as a bread to compliment a meal. Yummy! Your mom’s bread and now your dad’s both sound out of this world. I’ve always loved thinking of Jesus as the bread of life. How He sustains us and provides a spiritual nourishment deep down in our soul. And thinking about the people in John 6, who only wanted what Jesus could give them…do for them, so many turned back and no longer followed Him. Reminded me of what Francis Chan says in Crazy Love. Are we in love with who Jesus is or His stuff..what He can do for us?

    • Karen, your sour dough bread sounds delicious! I love so many types and flavors of bread. Someone gave me a starter jar of friendship bread that was a type of cinnamon bread. We kept that going for several months. Nothing like warm, fresh bread! Your connection to Francis Chan’s teaching from Crazy Love is spot on. Do we love the Giver or the gifts He can give? Oh Lord Jesus, help us love you more than anything!


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