Lent Devotional April 5, 2017

John 6:1-15, 47-51
If you journey to Fisherman’s Wharf you must stop at Boudin Sourdough Bakery. The fragrance alone will lure you inside. Boudin’s has been making sourdough bread since 1849.

  • Boudin’s started baking sourdough bread before the Civil War.
  • Boudin’s started baking sourdough bread before the invention of telephones, automobiles and radios.
  • Boudin’s has been baking sourdough bread since before the invention of sliced bread!

Sourdough bread is unlike other types of bread. Sourdough does not use yeast; rather, it relies on something called starter dough or mother dough. Bakeries often use their starter dough for decades, and sometimes even centuries. The starter dough at Boudin’s dates back to the year 1849. This starter dough is made of two simple ingredients: flour and water. When flour and water are mixed together, enzymes in the flour begin to break down the starch. As these enzymes go to work, a type of natural yeast begins to form within the starter dough.
This starter dough is alive. It is active, and it multiplies. When you bake sourdough bread, you take a portion of the starter dough and mix it with the other ingredients. This starter dough is absolutely vital to the bread. Without this living portion, you have an inedible collection of ingredients—flour, butter, milk, salt and sugar—yet no bread. But with this living portion, you have all that is necessary to turn the other ingredients into delicious, life-sustaining bread.
As Jesus and his disciples journeyed from place to place, bread was a staple in their diet. During the three years of his earthly ministry, our Lord ate bread to sustain himself as he journeyed to the cross. Jesus also performed several miracles using bread.
The last few days we referenced bread (John 6:35 I am the bread that gives life.) and looked at the feeding of the 5,000. During that feeding a great crowd had gathered that day to hear Jesus teach. As evening drew near, the Lord asked Philip, “Where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?” (John 6:5).
Philip scratched his head, looked around for the nearest bakery, and announced, in essence, “It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one of them to have one bite!” Then Andrew showed up with five small barley loaves and two little fish. Meager though it was, Jesus used what was available in that place to feed all those people!
After everyone went home and the disciples had picked up the leftovers, Jesus sent them across the Sea of Galilee in a boat, while he went into the hills to pray. The next day, after the Lord rejoined the disciples, he explained the point of the miracle to them and to the crowds:

Truly, truly I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. John 6:47-51

What do you learn about Jesus from this scripture?
Does it reveal anything to you about the condition of eternal life?


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