“I am the living bread that came down from heaven.” (John 6:51).
In John 6, Jesus Christ calls himself the “Living Bread.”
It is interesting to me that Jesus identifies himself with such an ordinary image. After all, the doctrine of the incarnation is one of the most mysterious and complex confessions of the church. Bread, on the other hand,…well, bread is pretty ordinary. But further reflection on this image reveals God’s desire to make the ordinary things in our life into extraordinary means of our salvation.
Like bread, Christ came into this world as a divine seed planted in the womb of Mary. Her womb was fertile ground for the Christ child, nourished by faith and sustained by water. Like a farmer watching over his sapling, Joseph tended to the Christ child. When Herod declared that all male children should be slaughtered, Joseph avoided the attack by fleeing with Mary and Jesus to Egypt. Like a farmer fending off the birds, Joseph fended off death and carefully looked after the Christ child. He would grow in wisdom and stature. He would call himself “the vine” and his followers “the branches.” In the final days of his ministry, his life would be harvested by the religious leaders, his body would be beaten and ground by his accusers, and he would experience the blazing fire of sin and death on the cross. But after a time (any good baker will tell you that bread must set after it is baked), he was raised to new life by the Father through the Spirit so that he might be the Bread of Heaven broken for the salvation of the entire world.
When we look with spiritual eyes, even bread tells the story of God’s extraordinary action in the incarnation. When we come to the Lord’s Table, we confess that the bread which we receive is not ordinary bread. It is “Living Bread” because indeed Jesus Christ is present with us. In this bread, we see the story of God coming to us in the Christ Child. In this bread, we remember his life, death, and resurrection. Jesus Christ is the Living Bread come down from heaven and whoever eats of this bread will have everlasting life.
During this season of Advent, how is God making the ordinary things around you extraordinary?