I like to eat.
No, you don’t understand, I love to eat. For those that know me, that may not surprise you entirely. In high school I had a friend give me a compliment (well, I heard it as a compliment anyways) as he told me I was “the fattest skinny guy he knew.” Now that I think about it, that may have been a back-handed compliment. Like when I heard someone say to another, “you sure don’t sweat much for a fat guy.”
Anyways, back to food. I love to eat at restaurants. One way I determine if I will return to a restaurant is based on what they serve before the meal comes out – chips & salsa, bread, hush puppies, etc. You can tell a lot about a restaurant based on how strong their pre-meal bread game is. Good, fresh, warm bread or chips makes for a pleasant dining experience.
The downside to a good pre-meal bread game is that one tends to fill up on bread. Bread has a way of satisfying you.
Perhaps this is why Jesus referred to himself as “The Bread of Life.” He has a way of satisfying those who receive Him.
The subject of bread occurs all throughout Scripture. In fact, Scripture itself is described as “bread.” One of my favorite mentions of bread is when the children of Israel are wandering in the wilderness and complain about not having bread. God decides to give them Manna every morning which had about a twenty-four-hour shelf life. The light, flaky stuff God gave daily was hard to explain, the Israelites weren’t sure what it was, so they called it Manna. The meaning of the word Manna is “what is it?” They didn’t know what it was and it left those who partook of it with more questions than answers. Yet it simultaneously satisfied their hunger.
I’ve spent much of my day today, thinking about how the Bible is a lot like that in my view. The more I read it, the more I’m satisfied, yet hunger for more. It is a mystery on many levels. Don’t get me wrong. I believe the Word of God is infallible and complete. I believe it to be the final authority and it contains many answers for us in life. But I also recognize that while it has many answers for my life, it doesn’t’ answer all the questions I have. It leaves some mystery.
For example, the Bible gives me direction, but it doesn’t tell me every step to take. The Bible illuminates Truth, but I don’t have ALL knowledge. It gives me comfort and peace but doesn’t remove the reality of pain. I believe the Word of God is something we enjoy, become satisfied by, and yet it always beckons us into a mystery.
Let’s go back to Jesus, the Bread of Life. He is the Word that became flesh. A.J. Swoboda, in his book A Glorious Dark, says that when Jesus arrived people began to ask the question, “Who is He?” The living Manna of God left people with more questions than answers, yet He is the only one who satisfies. Jesus is the one whom all of Scripture points to, and He is the lens we must interpret Scripture with.
The longer I’ve known God, the less I feel I actually know. It is a mystery that I embrace and enjoy. The Apostle Paul described it as “seeing through a glass, dimly.” It is not that we don’t know anything, it’s just we know that we don’t know everything. We see the truth, but we must focus diligently; otherwise it gets distorted by our perspective. Perhaps that is why the Word of God also corrects us.
I guess my point is this, the Word of God will satisfy your soul while creating a hunger for more. A righteous hunger that Jesus said He would fill, even if you still have questions.
The invitation of Christ is not to come and correct your beliefs. Rather it’s an invitation to come, eat, and be filled.
So, would you like more bread?