I recently found an interesting parallel between the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13; Luke 11:2-4), and John 6 (the Bread of Life passage)
“Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.
Amen.” Matthew 6:9b-13
Here, Jesus prays to the Father, asking that He would supply for us, our daily bread. And as I was considering this physical request, it reminded me of the spiritual command that Jesus gives, in John 6:
“On the next day the crowd that remained on the other side of the sea saw that there had been only one boat there, and that Jesus had not entered the boat with his disciples, but that his disciples had gone away alone.
Other boats from Tiberias came near the place where they had eaten the bread after the Lord had given thanks.
So when the crowd saw that Jesus was not there, nor his disciples, they themselves got into the boats and went to Capernaum, seeking Jesus.
When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you come here?”
Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves.
Do not labor for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.”
Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?”
Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”
So they said to him, “Then what sign do you do, that we may see and believe you? What work do you perform?
Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.”’
Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven.
For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.”
Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.
But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe.
All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.
For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me.
And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day.
For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”
So the Jews grumbled about him, because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.”
They said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does he now say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?”
Jesus answered them, “Do not grumble among yourselves.
No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.
It is written in the Prophets, ‘And they will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me—
not that anyone has seen the Father except he who is from God; he has seen the Father.
Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life.
I am the bread of life.
Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died.
This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die.
I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”
The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”
So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.
Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.
For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.
Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.
As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me.
This is the bread that came down from heaven, not as the fathers ate and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.”
Jesus said these things in the synagogue, as he taught at Capernaum.
When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?”
But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples were grumbling about this, said to them, “Do you take offense at this?
Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before?
It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is of no avail. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.
But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.)
And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”
After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him.
So Jesus said to the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?”
Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life,
and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”
What I realized regarding both what Jesus says in the Lord’s prayer (“Give us this day our daily bread), and what He says in the John 6 text, are that we are to view Jesus as our daily bread, without which we will die. We are to be ravished by His love; satiated by His flesh and blood; consumed by His sacrifice.
Too many of us live in a flippant manner, even when it comes to the sacred Meal – we do not realize the gravity of what we are taken and ingesting – it is the body of our Lord! We are feasting upon Him, and drawing nourishment from what He so willingly gave on our behalf. We receive not only a blessing physically, but more importantly, we receive a spiritual blessing – a refreshing of our spirit by feeding upon the Lord!
As I take up the small piece of bread, and the cup, each Sunday, I thank the Lord again for His cleansing blood which has washed away my sins, for His body which was the perfect instrument of atonement, broken on my behalf that I might find life through Him. And I thank the Lord for empowering me through His Meal and Spirit, to walk in the victory He has given me over sin and temptation.
The Christian life is a serious one, and a joyful one. We are to be serious and intentional in our walk with Christ, and joyful – rejoicing in every situation and giving thanks, always! Those are two sides of the same coin. I think we tend to overlook both sides of an issue that we are considering, and thus come away with a skewed view. May we always consider all sides and perspectives, that we may, as Ephesians 4:15 says, “grow up in all things into Him who is the head – Christ.”
Lord, grant us the clarity and humility to take into consideration, everything that You would have us consider, on whatever topic You have laid upon our hearts, no matter how uncomfortable it may make us feel. May we be more and more conformed to Your image (Romans 8:28-29), becoming perfect and complete; lacking nothing (James 1:4).