One of the questions asked in our session this week was “If Jesus is the Bread of Life, what kind of bread do you think he is?” and “Why?”. Interesting question to ponder, isn’t it? I would probably choose something fresh from the oven that is warm and soft that I can dip into olive oil like a focaccia bread. Or homemade yeast rolls slathered in butter would also be an excellent choice as well for me. These breads represent warmth, love, and community to me and these qualities come to mind when I think of Jesus. What would you choose?
“When they went across the lake, the disciples forgot to take bread. “Be careful,” Jesus said to them, “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” They discussed this among themselves and said, “ It is because we didn’t bring any bread.” Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked, “You of little faith, why are you talking among yourselves about having no bread? … How is it you don’t understand that I was not talking to you about bread? But be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” Then they understood that he was not telling them to guard against the yeast used in bread, but against the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” Matthew 16:5-12
In the video, Margaret Feinberg highlighted this passage of scripture that teaches about the symbolism of leaven (or yeast). We learned that leaven symbolized the actions of the Pharisees and the Sadducees and that we need to be astute to the growth of legalism, judgmental-ness, and the need for power in our own lives. The antidote to these actions we learned is Christ’s continual work in us.
“Our real enemy isn’t what we see in others but what rises within us.” Taste and See pg.78
During our lesson on Day One in Session 3, we explored the social component associated with the eating of bread. We read of the Last Supper between Jesus and his disciples from Matthew 26:26-30. Margaret Feinberg had us visualize and record all that our senses would have experienced if we had been present as participants during the Passover meal of the Last Supper. She shared with us that the “word “companion” is derived from the Latin com meaning “with” and panis meaning “bread.”” We were encouraged in this lesson to be more intentional about sharing bread and meal times with others.
“Give us today our daily bread” Matthew 6:11
On Day Two, we considered the meaning of daily bread in the Lord’s Prayer from Matthew 6:9-13. We also answered questions about our prayer life. Margaret Feinberg stressed that at its heart, this prayer calls us to trust in God. We need to trust that we will have enough and not fear because God will provide for us. We considered areas in our lives where we need to trust Him more.
“The opportunity to skip bread was never an option in the ancient world. In Hebrew, the word for bread, lechem, is synonymous with “food.” When God says to Adam, “By the sweat of your face, you will eat your bread,” some translations read, “you will have food to eat.” Even the “staff of bread,” also described as the “staff of life,” implies that bread is so essential that it makes it possible for a person to walk.” Taste and See pg. 83
Our lesson on Day Three turned our attention to the Old Testament sacrifices and, in particular, to the grain offering which used fine flour. This same flour was also used when serving guests. Through our cross reference readings, we learned about the costly, sacrificial nature of using this type of flour to prepare the grain offerings. We also read about the daily use of flour. Using all that we learned about the arduous task of bread making and flour, we applied those concepts to our own lives as we considered areas we give or don’t give generously. We evaluated our time, our talents, and our treasures as well as quality versus quantity in relationship to giving.
“From the beginning, bread was shared around a table – a table of working together, a table of living together, a table of vulnerability, a table of sacrifice, a table of thanksgiving. God set this table for the Israelites in the wilderness so they remember their deliverance. Christ set this table for the disciples in the upper room so we remember his sacrifices.” Taste and See pg. 88
On Day Four, we read from chapter five in the Taste and See companion book and answered questions. We studied the sins of Sodom according to Ezekiel 16:48-50. We were to contemplate if we struggle with the same areas of sin that they did.
“We are created to live life around a table in the taking and breaking, giving and sharing, knowing and being known. Bread welcomes us into the community for which our souls were made.” Taste and See pg. 89
Our last lesson on Day Five provided four activities from which we could choose. The activities listed were offering to bake bread for a communion service with a group from church, reviewing and reflecting on a fresher understanding of how bread enhanced your understanding of Holy Communion from the lesson, preparing a loaf of bread as an act of prayer and worship by praying during each process of the bread’s preparation, and lastly inviting a friend over to make the matzo recipe located in the back of the study guide.
“Jesus picks bread as a primary metaphor for himself. As the bread of life, Jesus, the One who saves and sustains us in the wilderness, the center of our fellowship, the One our lives depend on, says, “Whoever eats this bread will live forever.” That’s the table Christ sets for every eater.” Taste and See pg. 92
We’re at the halfway mark today! Begin the lessons for Session Four this week. Our focus will be on salt in the Bible.