The Mystery of Bread and Crumbs

I was talking to a dear friend of mine recently about a topic that had been puzzling to both of us for a long, long time. It revolved around someone who has had a spiritual conversion experience. That is, they’ve experienced a spiritual transformation and become a devoted Jesus-follower.

Jesus, also known as “The Bread of Life”. Jesus, the One who in John 6:35 identifies Himself as such and then says that anyone who comes to Him will never go hungry. Jesus, the One who took a few small loaves of bread and fed a multitude with them. And Jesus, the One who took a piece of bread and said to His disciples, “This is My body broken for you!”

Bread is a frequent object lesson that Jesus uses to communicate nourishment, freshness, and provision. In Jesus’ time, as it is now, it was one of those objects that awakened a person’s senses…the smell of fresh-baked bread, the smoothness of the outside crust to touch, the taste as a person’s tongue experienced it. It was also a simple and common part of a person’s food supply. Everyone could identify with the meaning and value of bread.

And then Jesus says that He is The Bread of Life. He is the sustenance, all that is needed.

Back to the conversation that my friend and I were having, we are perplexed by someone who experiences the Bread of Life, the Best of Life, and then walks away from it. In essence, why go from the Bread to crumbs that have been dropped off the table and ground into the dirt?

If someone has experienced life with Christ how does something less fulfilling so easily take its place? It’s a question with a multiple points answer. Scripture tells us that we all fall short of God’s perfection. That is, we all have focused on the temporariness of the crumbs at some point and missed the Bread of Life. Our fallen nature makes the staleness of life seem more appealing than the freshness of God’s presence.

There is also the disappointment that others have brought into our lives that has caused us to question the validity and value of our faith. If the worshipping community I have become a part of becomes focused on other things instead of their spiritual journey with God it can boring disillusionment and even bitterness. Sometimes the people of God have a way of getting in the way of the connection with God.

And, maybe one more answer to the question is that the lure of the world, the things that we are continually told are to be sought after and highly-valued…possessions, experiences, prominence, popularity, and position…cause us to think that The Bread of Life isn’t as great as the things of life.

Which takes us back to that confusing question that my friend and I are ealing with. We hope that those who have wondered away from the faith are having Simon Peter moments, denying Jesus for a time before re-identifying with Him. The sorrow that Peter experienced after he had walked away from Christ made him realize who he was, but also Who he needed to be following.

And then he took the Bread of Life within him again and truly became the Rock on which the church was built.

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