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Bread, Part 2

September 22, 2006

Bread to the EaterÂ

Bread has very little value, except to be eaten. Obvious as that is, it is also true. Bread does not make nice decoration at the table. Bread is not aesthetic. It is useful.

That being said, bread adds something to a table that flowers simply can’t. To this author, nothing dresses a table better than warm, fresh bed. Bread offers itself as one of those simple pleasures, extraordinarily ordinary, stunningly plain.

Bread is for eating. The good cook places the bread on the table last. It can cool on the plate. And no need for half-melted butter. Let the bread do the melting. Serve the butter cold. Cut off thick slabs of it and watch it soak into the bread. The first slice won’t survive long. Usually, a second slice is needed before finishing that first plate-full. The main course is for health. The bread, sheer pleasure.

Eating bread is a pleasure. When you have prepared it, it sits, warm and inviting, wanting to be eaten. After all, what other purpose does bread have? It exists to be eaten. You oblige. You pick up the bread and carry it to the mouth. In anticipation, you salivate. You open your mouth to receive the bread. Your teeth grab hold of that first savory bite. Your mouth receives the bread. It chews. The mouth chews until the bread can be swallowed. And all the while, your tongue soaks up the taste. The mouth tastes and sees that the bread is good.

When the mouth finishes with that bite, the tongue, teeth, and esophagus begin the work of swallowing. If you did not swallow, you did not eat. To chew the food and spit it out before swallowing cannot be called eating. The man who chews without swallowing, who spits out the bread before it can be ingested, sins against the bread. He consumes upon his lusts. He didn’t really want the bread. He only wanted the taste. He didn’t want it in him. Maybe he was afraid it would make him fat. Maybe he was afraid it would become him. Maybe he was afraid he would become it. He wanted the pleasure without any commitment. He would not be married, only gratified. Bread is not for tasting. Bread is for eating.

The eater chews and swallows. When he swallows, the eating is complete. He has ingested the bread. He tastes and sees that it is good. Now, he believes it to be health to his naval, marrow to his bones. Man is dust. And unto dust shall we return. But in between, man becomes what he eats. Bread, when ingested, is digested. Miraculously, the body breaks down the bread and distributes it throughout the body. That bread becomes the body, and the body becomes that bread. I in it, and it in me, that we may be one. I become that bread, and that bread becomes me.

The Lord invites me to His banqueting table, and his banner over me is love. He has bread at that table. Bread and a cup. At the Lord’s Table, I take that bread, broken for me. Christ says, take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.

I take that bread. By faith I open my mouth. I place the bread inside. I close my mouth. I chew. I swallow. I do not spit it out. I want it in me. That is faith. Faith is taking, tasting, chewing, swallowing. I hunger for bread. Extraordinary ordinariness. Stunning plainness. It dresses the table like nothing else. I ingest it. I digest it. I am fed. I am full. The bread becomes me.

John 6:56 He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.

Bread is for eating. Eating is faith. Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God.

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Categories: Lord's Supper, Mallinak
  1. Baptist
    September 24, 2006 at 6:49 am

    This article, and the last one by this brother, bring up some exegetical questions.

    1.) Why are we using John 6 as if it had something to do with the Lord’s supper, when the supper was not even instituted yet? If it has something to do with the supper, it only is related as much as any other act of the Christian life has to do with that text. Eating Christ is believing in Him and being justified by faith; it is not taking the memorial elements of the supper. John 6:56 has nothing in particular to do with eating the bread of the supper. Affirming it does sounds much more like the Reformed doctrine of the spiritual real presence then the Biblical and Baptist doctrine of the supper as a memorial. So does “eating is faith.” The assumption that if you eat the elements you receive Christ is common in the (false, heretical) Reformed tradition. The verse “blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God” is talking about the Millenium, not the Lord’s supper.

    In “Bread part 1,” I hope unintentionally, the title, “Blessed are the Hungry,” is the title of a Reformed book on the Lord’s supper.

    In that article, the bread of the Supper is said to be a type. Does Scripture say it is a type? Christ said it is a “remembrance” of Him. “The wafer is our bread–‘This is my body,'” is affirmed. But “this is my body” means “This signifies my body,” as the context shows. There is no special presence of Christ with the elements of the bread and the fruit of the vine, or at least, the Bible never says that there is.

    I am not saying that there are not good thoughts in here; but some of this sounds Reformed; I trust, unintentionally.

  2. September 24, 2006 at 9:45 am

    Pastor Mallinak can answer for himself, but I think you may be reading something into what he was saying. First, I think he was attempting to have more of an impact through his rhetoric than do much exposition here, using a kind of rhythmic style that would make it poetic. This kind of style can affect the emotions of a reader. I don’t think he intended with that last verse to communicate amillennialism, spiritualizing the millennium. It is true that he really didn’t explain what he was doing with that last verse, and perhaps he could have been more clear, but I think he was simply saying that the relationship that we have with Christ through the Lord’s Supper will continue in a physical way in the kingdom. That’s what I took from it.

    I also don’t think that he thinks that John 6 directly connects to the Lord Table, but it does connect. Jesus uses bread as a metaphor for Himself in John 6 and then He institutes the Lord’s Table in which the bread is a symbol. We do remember Him, but we remember Him as the Messiah. I have a post coming that I believe backs up this theme. We are making a statement when we put that bread and juice in our mouth—remember yes, but also taking worthily, being honest to the World about our fellowship with Christ.

    Welcome Baptist, whoever you are, to JackHammer.

  3. September 25, 2006 at 10:28 pm

    Hi, Baptist, it’s nice to have your kind visiting! WE like Baptists! And thank you for the question.

    You said, “Eating Christ is believing in Him and being justified by faith”.

    That was my point. That is all. Bread is a metaphor. Biblical metaphors must be taken literally. Eating is a metaphor. Eating bread is a metaphor. I think it pictures faith, and that was my intent. But I’m glad you were concerned.

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