“For there was a tabernacle made; the first, wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the shewbread; which is called the sanctuary.” (Hebrews 9:2, KJV 1900)
When I was a young man, my dad was really into surf-fishing. We spent nearly every weekend during the fishing season at the beach. The wife of one of my dad’s fishing buddies was also an avid fisherperson. While we would all be fishing for the elusive striped-bass from the surf, she would fish for anything that was edible and biting. Her pet expression was “You’ve got to get your bread.” By this she meant you must put food on the table. Without food on the table, one cannot eat. Food is essential for life.
The author of Hebrews presents another furnishing in the Tabernacle, the table of showbread. This was a table made of acacia wood and overlaid with pure gold (Exod 25:23-30). Every Sabbath, twelve loaves of bread were baked and set upon it. Only Aaron and his sons were to partake of this bread and only in the holy place. The bread was considered “a most holy portion out of the Lord’s food offerings” (Lev 24:5-9, ESV). The showbread then represents a most holy provision. It points to Jesus.
Jesus boldly stated that He is the bread of life (John 6:35). Prior to making this statement, Jesus was in an area near Bethsaida. on the northeast of the Sea of Galilee. There, around 5,000 people gathered and Jesus performed the miracle of the feeding them with a few loves and fishes. After this, He crossed the sea to Capernaum and the people followed Him. He stated that the people did not come to him for the right reason, but only to get their fill of food (John 6:26).
Then Jesus explained the significance of this title, the “bread of life.” He speaks of the manna that God sent during the time of Moses that sustained the people in their time of sojourning. Using this historical event as a foreshadowing, He stated that He was the true bread from heaven. “For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.” (John 6:33, KJV 1900) The true bread of God is a person that gives true life to the world. Hearing this, the people asked for this bread that will give them life.
To this Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.” (John 6:35, KJV 1900) Jesus is the bread of God, which is the bread of life. Only those who will by faith partake of the bread of life, will experience eternal life. Jesus gave them this summary. “I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” (John 6:51, KJV 1900)
Jesus came from heaven to earth. Jesus is fully God and fully man. He gave Himself as a sacrifice for us that we may have eternal life. This comes by faith. While eating earthly food is essential for earthly life, we must partake of God’s most holy provision, Jesus, to have eternal life. When we partake of the Lord’s Table, we remember these words, “And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.” (Luke 22:19, KJV 1900) Let us never take of the communion meal without reflecting on the deep truth of God’s most holy provision, the bread of life.