Saturday, June 14, 2008

Lord, Evermore Give Us This Bread

By the sea of Galilee, Jesus fed a great multitude with a few loaves and fishes. Then He went to the mountain to be alone. At night, He walked out on the water to join His disciples on a boat to the other side. The next day, some of the multitude found Him on the other side, and wondered how He had gotten there, since they hadn't seen Him leave with His disciples in the boat. Jesus knew they were only seeking Him for a repeat of the previous day's miracle--after all, who wouldn't want a free lunch? But He used their interest to teach something truly great.

"Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.

Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?

Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.

They said therefore unto him, What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? what dost thou work? Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat.

Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.

Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread" (John 6:26-34).

When they sought food, He counseled them to seek for spiritual sustenance that came with no expiration date. When they asked Him for a sign, citing the manna in the wilderness, Christ, the Jehovah who had provided the manna, spoke instead of Himself as the true bread from heaven, who had come to give life to the world.

The people's response still rings in my ears: "Lord, evermore give us this bread." Please, they pled, continue to sustain us and give us life everlasting.

When you eat food that tastes incredible, you want to have more of it. It works the same way with spiritual matters. When you've experienced something so joyous, so completely satisfying, that it fills your heart to overflowing, you naturally want to repeat the experience. I have at times felt the joy that comes from tasting something that I know is filled with a life and a light that is endless, that can never be darkened. It's a feeling I now crave. And I, like those people millenia ago, cannot help but cry, "Lord, evermore give me this bread."

"And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst" (John 6:35).

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1 comment:

  1. The problem with the food analogy is that one always comes to the point - even with the most sumptuous meal - when one is sick, full, bloated, gaseous, nauseous, vomitous even. Is this true of spiritual feasting? Who knows? My point is neither yea or nay on that score, but simply to complain about the fundamental inconstancy of metaphors and analogies and their subsequently reduced utility for enlightening us about doctrinal issues. Why is it that we cannot talk about gospel principles without resorting to the squishiest form of language: poetry?