Sunday, August 05, 2012


 Foccacia Bread - recipe below

TODAY'S SPECIAL: John 6:22-40

TO CHEW ON: "Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and He who believes in Me shall never thirst.'" John 6:35

Bread - how many ways can we say it: buns, rolls, biscuits, foccacia, matzoh, challah, zwieback... Chances are whatever your culture, bread has been part of it.

I grew up in a large family. Mom had her hands full keeping eleven mouths fed. But she always felt easier about the meal when she had plenty of bread on hand. Because if other things ran out, we could always fill up on bread. Along with millions of others on earth, bread was our 'staff of life.'

Thus when Jesus calls Himself the "bread of life" we know He is making big claims. Let's go through John 6 (today's passage and a bit more) to see what we can learn about Jesus as bread.

At the beginning of our reading, we see a wowed crowd. Jesus has just fed 5000 people natural bread, supernaturally multiplied. He has met one of the most basic human needs with bread. We see that He understands and can supply bread for physical hunger

But when He senses that His miracle is prompting them to want to crown Him king (of a kingdom of everlasting loaves), He leaves. He has not done that miracle to get leverage for political power. Rather it is a set-up to make them aware of a different kind of hunger and how He can satisfy it.

On the next day, when they find Him, He explains this to them (John 6:26-27).

They start guessing about what He means: "Manna, right? Your bread to us is like the manna Moses gave our forefathers in the desert."

"Wrong," says Jesus. "The bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world...I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger and he who believes in Me shall never thirst" (John 6:33,35).

Later in the chapter He expands even more on what ingesting Him as living bread means as He refers to the need to " the flesh of the son of Man and drink HIs blood" (John 6:54). In His words we recognize the reference to the Last Supper - and our communion celebration (Matthew 26:26-28).

Then He explains the result of eating this bread, this true "staff of life": "This is the bread which came down from heaven — not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever" (John 6:58).

What does this mean for us? It's simple really:

Come + Believe + Eat = Live

Come: God initiates even this (John 6:44).

Believe: as in base our very lives on Jesus' death for us, trusting Him for salvation.

Eat: live by His kingdom principles. This includes trusting Him for our physical needs including bread (Matthew 6:26-33). It also means to celebrate His spiritual "breadness" by eating the communion bread (and drinking the wine), in this way reminding ourselves of His death for our sins.

Live: acknowledge and enjoy Him as enough — for this life and the next.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, what a simple yet deep concept — You my bread. Help me to eat You today and be satisfied. Amen.

MORE: Make some bread today

I love making bread! One of my favourites is foccacia. It is a slightly raised savoury Italian yeast bread that makes a wonderful companion to homemade soup. I cheat and use my bread machine to prepare the dough. Here is the recipe I use. (Of course you can use the given amounts and mix by hand).

Foccacia Bread (1 1/2 lb. loaf)

1 cup water
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. olive oil
2 tsp. dried oregano
1/1/2 - 2 tsp. active dry yeast

3 tbsp. olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup (2 oz.) Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

- Mix dough and let rise.
- Remove dough to floured countertop or cutting board.
- Oil a cookie sheet.
- Separate dough into three even sections.
- Roll each into a ball and press flat onto the cookie sheet.
- Allow to rise 30 minutes until doubled.
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- With 2 fingers poke holes all over the dough.
- In a medium bowl combine oil and garlic, then drizzle over top of dough.
- Sprinkle with cheese and parsley
- Bake for 25-30 minutes until brown.

From Bread Machine Magic by Linda Rehbeg & Lois Conway

(From the archives)
Bible Drive-Thru

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