Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread
For the past few weeks we’ve been praying as a church to be more mindful of God’s holiness. We’ve grown in awareness of God’s sovereignty and seeking God’s kingdom to come. In doing so, we are asking God to help humble us into submission to surrender everything we value above God’s kingdom so we can align our hearts to genuinely seek first the kingdom of God.
As he’s teaching the disciples to pray what we call the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus is shifting from the horizontal, heavenward portion of the prayer to our vertical, earthly needs. After we have correctly aligned ourselves with God’s holiness, we then petition him to provide us with what we need. Jesus utters the phrase, “Give us this day our daily bread,” but this is not limited to the provision of food. Here we can ask our Heavenly Father to meet every physical, emotional, or spiritual need. However, as we bring our requests to God, it is essential to recognize our greatest need is Jesus.
Remember that time Jesus took a few loaves of bread and used it to feed the five thousand? Jesus performed an incredible miracle, and the peoples’ reaction was to make him king. It wasn’t because they loved Jesus, but they loved what he gave them. Jesus had snuck away to Capernaum, but the crowd found him the next day. Jesus didn’t sugar coat his response to them:
“Truly, truly I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.”
Jesus responded this way because he knew their hearts. They were seeking food rather than seeking Jesus. Then they responded with a genuine desire to do the works of God to earn the bread of life, yet they were still missing the point that he was not speaking of physical bread. Jesus was offering the spiritual bread of eternal life to them. In the ongoing conversation, the crowd referenced Moses giving their ancestors manna from the sky while they wandered in the desert, but Jesus countered:
John 6:32-33, 35
“Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.
The story of God sending manna to the ancestors of those in the crowd is also referenced in Deuteronomy:
“And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.”
This verse reflects the lesson Jesus attempts to teach those in the crowd in Capernaum. He attempted to teach them that God is not merely there to supply provisions of nourishment, but they can trust in God with full confidence to meet their spiritual needs. The ultimate example of God simultaneously providing a physical and spiritual need is through the Last Supper.
“And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’”
Jesus demonstrated to the disciples at the last supper that his body was like the bread they were about to eat because both would be broken for their benefit. In doing so, he confirmed how far he’d go to meet the needs of those he has called to be part of his kingdom.
Asking God for your daily bread is not simply asking God to provide food for the day. Petitioning God for daily bread is asking for a daily portion of Jesus Christ. Just as God sent manna to those wandering in the desert, God sent Jesus, the bread of life, to his people. God cares for all of your needs, but he is mostly concerned with fulfilling your need for Jesus because above all else, we need Jesus.