Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.
My favorite smell: fresh bread baking in an oven. Fact! That smell itself is a gift; but then cut that fresh bread and slather it with butter (or divinity, as we call it in the Forrest household), and, yes, it is divine. I could write a whole page extolling the virtues of this very healthy, complete food, when made with the right kind of whole grains. However, that is not my purpose.
When I think of bread and Jesus, my mind wanders to his first great temptation as his 40 days of fasting in the wilderness are coming to a close. Jesus was hungry. Satan came to tempt him. Don’t you know when he pointed at the stones and invited Jesus to turn them to bread, the temptation came complete with the smell of freshly baked bread wafting across Jesus’ nose? Satan attempted a brilliant power play – “Come on, Jesus, this is no big deal. We both know you can do this with a snap of the fingers.”
However, it was a big deal for Jesus. The temptation wasn’t just about the “lusts of the flesh” – the desire for food. This temptation was all about following God’s will. Later, Jesus was overheard saying, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent me.” The wilderness wasn’t just about temptation. The wilderness was also for preparation. Preparation for the fulfillment of God’s will. By saying “no” to bread-making, Jesus was saying “yes” to bread-being. Without no-saying, there could be no cross. Without no-saying, Jesus couldn’t be my source of sustenance. By turning down turning stones to bread, Jesus chose to love me. His hunger needs were secondary to my hunger needs. His “no” on that day allowed him to say “yes” to me on another day. On November 22, 1970, I ate the bread of life, and I am still full. I am still sustained. I am more than satisfied in Jesus.
But, one other thought has crossed my mind. Jesus’ “no” affected my future. Whose hunger am I thinking of ahead of my own? How might some of my “yeses” possibly affect the tomorrow of someone else? It’s just a thought...