What man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? —Matthew 7:9
So it seems to me an easy thought…of course a good father is gonna give his child a loaf of bread! But what I just heard recently is that in Israel there are stones that actually look like loaves of bread or perhaps rolls. These rocks/stones are so much the shape and sizes of the loaves of bread that they could be mixed in and mistaken for the bread if someone were trying to play a trick on another. But isn’t that what this passage is about? It’s not about the prayer or the pray-er. It’s about the one who is being asked, right? Afterall, isn’t God a good Father? Even though we are wrong, evil and full of sin sometimes, the Father is always still good! God doesn’t play games or tricks on his Children. He’s not gonna fake us out with a rock-loaf when we are hungry and in need. He’s not gonna play mind games with us and give us something that looks like the real thing for us to take a bite and break out our teeth! He’s a good Father who wants the best for His children.
Often I can feel like the bread I have been given is hard as a rock but it’s still bread.
Sometimes God may only give me the ingredients for bread and I have to make the dough, knead it, and bake it.
There may be times when I need to settle for a cracker instead of a fresh slice of bread. Other times when God may give me white bread instead of whole wheat. The point is that God gives me bread, sustenance, what I asked for but in a different way, shape or form, but it’s basically bread.
Finally, in the matter of bread, isn’t Jesus the bread of life? Sometimes I may get too caught up in asking for bread instead of asking for the bread maker. I remember when Jesus was tempted in the desert to turn the stones into bread. Maybe they already looked like bread, they would have just needed to taste like it, to become edible. Jesus refused to turn rocks into bread and he still refuses to do so. I will not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from God’s mouth. God wants to give me the eternal “logos” or word from His mouth, His bread of life…Himself.
“Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year”, at least that’s how the song goes. I’d have to agree on many levels. Not only do we have lights and decorations but we have festivities and parties filled with wonderful food and deserts! Who can pass on a sausage ball, or egg nog, or even fruit cake! We can all pass on the fruit cake! Seriously, though, for the most part Christmas brings us foods, scents, and drinks that we only get this time of the year.
As I was reading over the Christmas story again, I was remembering the meaning of “Bethlehem”. If you didn’t know, it means “House of Bread”. Because everyone was taking part of the census, Joseph, who was a citizen of that city because he was of the lineage of David, was headed back to the “House of Bread” to be registered.
It struck me as I let that sink in. They are on the way to the House of Bread with the Bread of Life! It’s not ironic or coincidental. It’s the hand of God, the providence and sovereignty of God. It’s the God of details and humor who has arranged this! How awesome to have the Manna from Heaven, the Bread of Life going to be born in the House of Bread! And how much more a simple reminder that this very Bread of Life would be broken for us.
“But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Too little to be among the clans of Judah, From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, From the days of eternity.” Micah 5:2
At this festive season with all of the food and deserts, may we not forget simple communion with Christ, whose body and blood are represented in the broekn bread and poured out wine. May we enjoy the Bread of Life, forever!
Vision 2 Hear
4Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because (D)he was of the house and family of David,
5in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child.
The Gospel of Luke, Chapter 2
Be a blessing to someone’s house: bring some homemade bread, or any other food item that consists of Bread.
Find a quiet place for communion with the Bread of Life. Listen to Oh Little Town of Bethlehem as you pray.
Make a gingerbread, House of Bread with your children and tell the story of Jesus.
How does seeing how God orchestrated such a thing as the Bread of Life being born in the House of Bread make you feel? What does it teach you about God or Jesus?
What “scent” does your house promote? What title would it have?