Tuesday, March 04, 2014
Give Us This Day
Throughout this series, we have noted how the purpose of this model prayer was to point back to Israel's history, and remind Jesus' disciples of the need for redemption. There are two main parts to this prayer, the first of which is focused on the Holiness & Glory of our Heavenly Father, the second on our daily needs and spiritual health.
'Give us this day our daily bread' would remind the disciples, good Israelites all, first of all, of Israel's Exodus ( redemption ) out of Egypt. Quite literally, our Heavenly Father miraculously & significantly provided their daily bread for a symbolic 40 years in the wilderness.
In John's record of 'The Feeding of the Five Thousand, Jesus had a conversation with some Jews who had bone to pick with Him. Jesus told them, 'I am the bread which came down from heaven'. By their tradition, it was Moses who had given them food ( bread ) to eat in the wilderness, but Jesus set them straight; it was He Who was the true Bread from Heaven!
Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life,
which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him.
The whole point of Jesus' sermonette was to remind His followers, as Paul echoed later in his letter to the Romans (14:17 ), 'the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit'. Although it is undeniably true that our physical ( biological ) bodies need daily sustenance like food & drink, it must be understood that it is not these thing which give True Life!
True Life comes from our Heavenly Father alone, and is eternal, not like that which sustains our biological bodies on a daily basis. That food, along with our biological bodies, will soon wither and perish! 'This is the bread', Jesus said, 'which came down from heaven—not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever'!
As we petition, then, for 'our daily bread', we ask, not that our physical needs would be met, for this too is a gift from our Heavenly Father, but, more importantly, that He would continually feed us spiritually with this true 'Bread from Heaven'; as Jesus said, 'I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst'!
Though we have this Bread, and enjoy the Fulfillment of this Prayer, let us always thank our Heavenly Father for this Bread, through the advancement of His Kingdom! May we ever share this 'daily bread' with those who hunger and starve; may we ever show them a better Way!
Charles Haddon Shank