For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.
When we get to this familiar request in the Lord’s prayer, we are halfway through the recitation. It is the most practical and basic of requests. Yet the surrounding thoughts feed through this request.
We make our daily request based on the knowledge of God as our Father. We can depend on the promise of provision as it is His will to provide for us. And when He grants this request, we have everything we need to hallow His name and our lives. Once we have experienced His provision, we seek the deeper spiritual needs: asking for and offering forgiveness and requesting the way out of temptation.
The significance of this simple request becomes clearer, if you dig into the original language. When Jesus spoke, he used the local dialect–Aramaic. In Aramaic, this sentence translates roughly to this: “Give to us today, this very day, the bread of our need.”
Bread is a basic staple of most diets. To meditate on the bread of our need, takes me back to the Old Testament and then directly to Christ as the fulfillment of the promise. In Old Testament worship, they placed the Bread of Presence on the altar before God. During the wandering desert days of the Israelites, God sent down b read (manna) from heaven to meet their daily need for sustenance.
Jesus is our our daily bread. The bread of our ultimate need is salvation. Jesus satisfies this need completely. To know Jesus is to have everything requisite, desirable and useful, in order to relate with our Father in heaven.
During the sacrament of communion, we eat bread to recall Jesus’ broken body on the cross, broken on our behalf. A friend recently pointed out that the phrase, “Taste and see that the Lord is good,” takes on a richer meaning for her, whenever she partakes of communion. As I put together her insight and the daily “breadness” of Jesus, I rejoiced in the goodness of God. The rest of the verse (Psalm 34:8) states: “Blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.” I marveled at how these mixed metaphors of bread and refuge give me something more to chew on.
To dwell within God’s presence is our daily benefit. So by all means, let’s ask “Give us this day our daily bread, our daily refuge, our daily need, our daily portion of goodness.”
What comes to mind, when you pray,
“Give us this day our daily bread”?