A Word for this Week - Pastor Bill Mugnolo

Week of August 13-19, 2018: “Our Whole Diet” … John 6:35-51

During my early childhood years, I grew up alongside my Italian-American relatives in Long Island, New York. It was then that I came to love and even crave the crusty Italian bread that I could always find at Grandma Elvira’s house. Such bread was so appreciated in our family that when I went to Church on Sundays I had my own childlike understanding of the Fourth Petition of the Lord’s Prayer. Whenever we prayed, “Give us this day, our daily bread”, I thought that God was promising each day to give me a loaf of bread—preferably that crusty Italian bread!

Bread, as a dietary staple, was far more important in Ancient Israel. To obtain it back then wasn’t just a matter of a quick trip to the supermarket like my grandma often made. Families in Israel had to grow their own grain and then harvest it. Then, each day, they had to grind it out, make flour, and then bake their loaf of bread. It was, pardon the pun, a “daily grind”.

After Jesus had fed the 5,000 with five loaves of bread and two fish, a group who had partook of this miracle the day beforehand begged of Him, “Sir, always give to us this bread.” But Jesus had a greater bread in mind to give to them each day. He declared, “I Am the bread of life. Whoever come to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty” (John 6:35).

Jesus was looking to fill for them their deepest hunger and thirst. He had alluded to this earlier in His Sermon on the Mount when He said, in the Beatitudes, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled” (Matthew 5:6). Now, to the crowd gathered around Him, He spoke about filling that hunger and thirst as He said, “For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in Him shall have eternal life and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:40). Later, Jesus proclaimed, “I Am the bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh which I will give for the life of the world” (John 6:51).

That crusty Italian bread was for me, as a child, but a side dish. Bread in Ancient Israel was a main dish. But Jesus Christ, as the bread of life, is, when it comes to the things of God, our main dish, side dish—our whole diet! For us, He went through the ultimate grind of the cross as there He gave His flesh for the life of the world so that our sins would be forgiven. May you love and crave the living bread that He is!


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