view as web pdf The Meaning of the Breaking of Bread


The Breaking of Bread is a meeting for the sustenance, not of the body, but of the heart and soul. It is a meal for the soul. “Take, eat, this is my body.” “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood.” After all, the body is not the only part of man needing sustenance. There is the mind, which is fed by education, observation and reflection. And there is the spirit, which, if it is to be worth anything, is to be fed on the best food. On at least one occasion Jesus led his hearers’ thoughts from ordinary to spiritual food. The miracle of the five thousand drew crowds, but their motive was open to question: “Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat the loaves”. And then Jesus taught them the great lesson that whereas food for the body is of passing value, there is a food for the spirit leading to Eternal Life. “Labour not for the meat that perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you … I am the bread of life”. This discourse in the sixth chapter of John was delivered long before the last supper, but there is little doubt that it expresses a fundamental truth of which the solemn breaking of bread and drinking of wine is a most vivid, particular embodiment.

In simple terms, when at the Judgement a man’s heart is laid bare, it will be seen to be mostly Christ, or mostly of sin. If sin, then the man has been feeding on selfishness, lust, sloth or indifference to his God. If Christ, then he thought a great deal about Christ during his probation. He fed his heart on the words of Christ, read them, let them sink in and move him not only to Christ-born thoughts but to Christ-born deeds. In the solemn Breaking of Bread, such a Christian is not only intimately reminded of who and what his most precious food is, but of how it became such by that Life and that Death.

Bro J B Norris - “The First Century Ecclesia”

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