Bread of Life
41. BREAD OF LIFE.
Bread is expressive of the Atonement of Christ, in the process it undergoes. From its birth, till it is consumed, the corn of wheat preaches to us.
Ⅰ. The corn of wheat has to die, before it can bring forth more wheat. Christ uses this very fact as an illustration of the necessity of His death for us (John 12:24). He would have been for ever alone in His holiness and blessedness, if He had not died for us; and we should have been for ever alone in our sinfulness and misery.
Ⅱ. When the corn is ripe it has to be cut down; even so, when the fullness of time was come, Christ was cut off out of the land of the living (Isaiah 53:8); cut off by the justice of God in dying for our sins (Zech.13:7); and cut off by death, that He might conquer the king of terrors, and overthrow him who had the power of death, which is the devil(Heb.2:14).
Ⅲ. Then the wheat has to be threshed. How intensely Christ was maltreated. He gave His back to the smiters, and His cheek to them that plucked off the hair (Isaiah 1:6). “ The chastisement of our peace was upon Him” (Isaiah 53:5). How much Christ suffered at the hands of wicked men! We have only to go over the scenes that immediately precede His death for illustration on this point.
Ⅳ. The corn has to be ground. Whether we think of the corn being bruised between the mill-stones as used in the East ( Isaiah 28:28), or think of the corn as it is ground in the modern machinery of to-day, we are reminded of the bruising of Christ. “ He was bruised for our iniquities” (Isaiah 53:5). Who can analyze such expressions as “ He was made sin for us” (2 Cor.5:21). “ He was made a curse” (Gal.3:13)? Who can weigh that soul agonizing cry of Christ, “ My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” Well might Luther sit for hours pondering that mysterious exclamation, and at last burst forth in the following words, “ God, forsaken by God!”
Ⅴ. When the flour has been made into loaves, it has to be baked. The fire makes it into bread, so that we can eat it with pleasure. This reminds us of Christ, who has undergone the fire of God’s judgment for our sins. He passed through the fiery baptism of God’s wrath (Matt.20:22). when He was condemned in our stead (Rom. 8:3, margin). It is because the fire has fed upon the God appointed sacrifice that the coals from off the altar have a cleansing virtue, as is illustrated in the case of Isaiah, when the seraph applied the live coal to the unclean lips of the prophet, and said, “ Thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin is purged” (Isaiah 6:7).
Ⅵ. When the bread is eaten, then the nutriment of the bread becomes part of the one who eats; and when Christ is received by faith, then we possess Him, and He becomes the life of our being (John 6:54).
── F.E. Marsh《Five Hundred Bible Readings》