The People are Crying for Bread,
not French Pastry.
About fourteen years ago, my wife Beverly and I stayed in a motel for several weeks on the outskirts of Paris, France. Just outside our window across a shopping mall was a French pastry shop. Every morning we would wake up and dash over to the shop to taste something new that caught our attention on the the shelf. Although we never tired of this morning activity we also realized that a diet consisting primarily of French pastry would lead to an unhealthy condition of the body. The reasons are obvious. Fats and sugars are used to replace starch and fiber. The fructose included with other sugars is turned into fat in the liver, while excess sugar itself may contribute to insulin resistance, a stepping stone to diabetes. Although pastries consist of some amount of bread, the end product is bread plus. Bread plus other ingredients which are unnatural, artificial and unhealthy. Why then are they added? The reasons are multiple and varied. Different flavors, colors, and taste variations are added; all designed to increase interest, anticipation and customer appeal. The goal is to simply increase the popularity and profit of the business owners.
The spiritual comparisons are obvious. The people are crying, they are needing the true Bread, which is Christ, not Christ plus. Adding artificial, unnatural, and unhealthy ingredients to the true Bread is not a new invention of mankind. Paul spoke of this in Galatians 4:17, 5:1-6, and in 6:12, where to add appeal and acceptability, some were preaching Christ plus, Christ plus circumcision. We have the same issues today. Some, in order to gain popularity or wealth, preach Christ plus. It may include a health and wealth gospel, legalism, or a variety of additions designed to promote their own agenda rather than that of the Lord. In whatever case, the true Bread is obscured and the hunger that mankind has for Him is not met.
The only Christ my friend knew was hidden behind the addition of ceremonies and services which were not understood. The true Bread was never presented. His life was like that of the man in Psalm 107:4. “Some wandered in desert wastelands, finding no way to a city where they could settle. They were hungry and thirsty, and their lives ebbed away.” When given an opportunity to get to know the person of Christ by looking at the Scriptures together, he jumped at the chance. He later came to know Christ personally and was satisfied with the true Bread. Psalm 107:9 describes this. “For he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.”
Another man with whom I met was reminiscent of the passage in Psalm 107:10-12. “Some sat in darkness and the deepest gloom, prisoners suffering in iron chains, for they had rebelled against the words of God and despised the counsel of the Most High. So he subjected them to bitter labor; they stumbled, and there was no one to help.” This man was the son of a pastor who preached Christ plus. The plus was a severe degree of legalism. Growing up in this atmosphere, he could not see Christ and rebelled against all religion. Many years were spent as an alcoholic and locked away in prison. Following release from prison, he managed to get free from alcohol but remained a bitter reclusive individual who wanted nothing to do with God. Although denying the authority of the Bible, he was willing to read the Gospel of John with me. Before many months transpired, the Holy Spirit opened his eyes to the true Bread and he was able to rejoice in the sufficiency of Christ for his life. He also experienced the truth of Psalm 107:9. “For he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.”
The cry of mankind is always for the Bread of God. Although they did not fully understand what Jesus was telling them, the deepest need of their hearts was reflected in the statement they made to the Lord in John 6:34. “Sir, they said, from now on give us this bread.” Jesus answered them as follows. “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.” John 6:35.
In their search for bread mankind is but dimly aware of the enormity of its need. As G. Campbell Morgan relates, “Man is a ruined instrument. He nevertheless retains, though in impaired form, the natural elements which constitute the Divine image. There is therefore a constant demand in his nature for that for which he was created. Intelligence is still demanding light. Emotion continues to seek for objects upon which to fasten. Will requires a governing principle; in brief, man demands God.” The Crisis of the Christ. Hardpress Publishing, Miami, Florida 5th Edition. Page 22.
God, in His great love for lost mankind, became incarnate in Christ so that the Father might be revealed, sins might be taken away, the works of the devil might be destroyed and the Kingdom of God be established in the new heaven and the new earth. The heart of God will only be satisfied when the heart of mankind is satisfied. God’s great love will permit nothing less. To that end, in Christ, God has become one with mankind. In Christ, mankind has become one with God.
The people are indeed crying for bread, but that bread, and that union with the creator comes only from calling on the name of the Lord. “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?” Romans 10:14 “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.” Romans 10:17
It is through the preaching of Christ alone, and not Christ plus that the true Bread is revealed to mankind by the Holy Spirit. As we are led by His Spirit to affirm and proclaim the Gospel, may the person of Christ, not Christ plus, be clearly seen in our lives and ministry.
In Christ, Richard Spann