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    The Bread of Life

    John 6 June 29, 2021
    Filed Under:
    Commune Together
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    WEDNESDAY in the WORD

    He was pierced for our transgressions…
    And by His stripes we are healed.  Isaiah 53:5
     
    SYMBOLIC BREAD

    Progressive Revelation is the term used to understand how God has revealed himself over time. The beauty and richness of seeing more and more truth revealed is a growing process, a journey of a lifetime.  When we read the New Testament, there is greater depth and meaning if we know the Old Testament.  One such example is seen in our celebration of the Lord’s Supper. 

    On the night of the Passover, the Israelites were told to make bread without leaven, knowing there was no time to wait for the bread to rise.  God was bringing salvation to them quickly and obedience was a necessity!  The object lesson continued into the enacting of the feast of “Unleavened Bread.”  It was a call for people to keep sin out of their lives and obey God thoroughly.  Leaven, in and of itself, is not bad, but the symbolism of it brought new significance, teaching obedience to God.  In Matthew 16:6 Jesus reaffirmed this object lesson in pointing out the dangers of sin.   Jesus said, “Watch and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”

    Sometimes leaven was used to illustrate a positive thing.  In Matthew 13:33Jesus said: “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, till it was all leavened” to teach that His kingdom may start small but will grow from the inside out until all the earth will know of Him.

    Jesus often used ordinary things to make extraordinary object lessons.  He described the Kingdom of God like fishing nets, He also asked us to consider the beauty of the lilies of the field as well as the simple sparrows.  He used a fig tree, a vineyard as well as seeds and weeds as significant symbolic object lessons.  Oh, that we could see such rich symbolic meaning behind ordinary things!

    To a uniformed person, taking a piece of bread with a little cup of juice may seem a bit odd, but when we understand the symbolism behind the communion bread we use here at FMC, it becomes much more significant.  Understanding that it is unleaved, pierced, and with stripes, it should remind us of the prophecy of our suffering Savior as seen in Isaiah 53:5.

    We cannot know the richness of this symbolism until we learn more of God’s Word.  Not every church however uses the “Matza” cracker for the Lord’s Supper.  I have been in churches that have used wafers with the church logo imprinted on them.  Some churches use multicolored “goldfish” crackers!  Long ago, while assisting missionaries in Indonesia, the tribes' people did not have bread and instead, we used sugarcane juice and sliced sweet potatoes!  During the pandemic, many churches used individually sealed cups with little paper-like flat wafers.  I am happy that we can now return to what we normally used when we celebrated the Lord's Supper as in the past.  This year has made me appreciate even more the significance behind the symbolism of our communion bread.  What a  joy to see the extraordinary lesson behind an unleavened, pierced, striped, and broken bread.  May we always see the significance of all Jesus said and did for us!  

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