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News and views from the German-language region of Europe

August 14, 2015

Our daily bread

Filed under Sabbath Thoughts

During the nearly seven years that I lived in the Philippines I often visited provincial churches. The normal diet of the Filipinos living in those areas, like many others in Asia, was different than our western diet. The basic daily food staple for them was rice. Some of them rarely ate bread, and eating unleavened bread during the spring festival was unusual for them in the sense that they rarely ate leavened bread.

In our western world some people do not eat wheat products, including bread, because of allergies. For others the great variety of food available in our countries can mean that bread isn't part of their daily diet.

By contrast, bread was a daily food staple in the Mediterranean region of the first century A.D. For example, to keep the estimated 1.5 million residents of Rome happy, leaders there provided diversion via the games in the Colosseum and sustenance via bread. In various places in the city, millstones powered by water ground the grain provided by Rome's colonies.

We understand certain statements in the New Testament when we consider this background. "Breaking bread" (Acts 2) was not part of a worship service with a communion wafer, but instead a normal meal, where a loaf of bread was broken and shared with others at the table.

To not eat bread on a day for a first century Mediterranean region resident would have been a fast. Jesus' listeners could relate to Him when He said: "Give us this day our daily bread" (Matthew 6:11).

When a hungry crowd sought Jesus after He had fed them the day before with "their daily bread" by multiplying the few loaves available, He told them that He was "the true bread from heaven" (John 6:32).

In the same way that our daily bread satisfies our physical hunger and promotes life, Jesus – our daily spiritual bread – can satisfy our spiritual hunger and provide eternal life. We ingest Him by allowing Him to lead our life, and we injest Him, among other ways, by studying the word of God daily and making it our guide. Jesus is the Word of God (John 1:1-3)!

How often do we consider this aspect when we pray "Give us this day our daily bread"? Or asked differently: Is Jesus on our daily spiritual menu?

With these thoughts I wish everyone a rewarding Sabbath!

Paul Kieffer's blog with personal insights and news from the German-language region in Europe.


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