“I am the bread of life,” he said, but are we forgetting his lesson?
As they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and broke it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.”
— Matthew 26:26
What then, are we missing?
Today, there are many debates about the bread of life: what shape to use, what kind of bread, the question of “Is this bread actually the body of Christ?”
One thing, however, stays the same. “I am the bread of life,” is a lesson that can bring communities of worshipers together, instead of driving them apart on the question of bread details.
Families that start meals with the breaking or blessing of bread are focusing on the life-giving attributes of bread. A simple food that comes from very basic ingredients, bread is a symbol of daily life and human heritage. Entire civilizations are built on bread, and when Jesus reaches for a piece, he reminds us all that deep down, his lessons are just as basic (but vital!) as the stuff he is giving us all to eat.
In today’s world, you may be distracted by “carb count” or “whole grain content” of the bread you’re putting in your mouth, but never forget that with each slice, you’re experience a world of spiritual human history.
The lessons Jesus serves us on a bread platter are an effort to awaken our senses. Because we’ve grown up with it since the dawn of history, it may be difficult to look at your humble loaf of bread and see fresh truths. Luckily, even attempting to learn something new from the way we interact with bread can spur you toward new spiritual connections. Better yet, try to rediscover bread with your family or congregation. Together, you’ll understand what Jesus meant when he said,
“I am the bread of life.”