The Image of Bread

James Nettinga

READ : Deuteronomy 8:1-3
Matthew 4:4
Matthew 6:11

Here are two images of bread, material and spiritual. The image of daily bread in the prayer of Jesus draws out a common response in most cultures. It implies a universal human reality, the need for the nourishment of food without which starvation and famine result. It reminds us that all people are interdependent, which is obvious in our life today. Think of the constant struggle of nations for food throughout the years, how environmental disasters cause hunger again and again.

In the wilderness Jesus used the spiritual application, that we do not live by bread alone, a quote from Deuteronomy. The prophet Isaiah uses the same image of bread to show that God offers the best food of all free, rich nourishment for a soul’s delight (Isaiah 55:1-3, niv). Jesus’ words, “I am the bread of life,” call us to share the bread in the Lord’s Supper, a symbol of our receiving the life of Christ and sharing with others.

Points to ponder: What things do people hunger for today? How would you explain to poor people the words, “we do not live by bread alone”? (Answer: James 2:15-17).


O God, giver of life, as we give thanks for the bread which we eat, may we ever be conscious of poor and needy people throughout the world, and share both bread for the body and Christ the bread of life with them. Amen.