I have been asked to prepare several adult Bible studies on Thursday evenings for my church. This is the text from one I wrote, although I spoke it somewhat differently and used this only as my notes.
This is actually quite long, so be prepared to take a bit of time and read. I hope you find this enjoyable and useful.
I love preparing studies and in fact I am working on two more now. I will post them after I present them to the group.
May God bless you and my prayer is that each one who reads this will feel God's lovingkindess.
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This is a story based loosely on a dream Ken (my husband) had a few weeks ago. Imagine this:
There is a new restaurant in town. It’s simply called “The Bread Basket.” You don’t know anything about it and you haven’t been there because you don’t like new things and you certainly don’t like changes. (Note: Can any of us relate to that?)
Over several months, you begin to see differences in people. Your neighbor, who was always the grouch, is now smiling and seems “joyful.” You don’t understand it. He’s always waving to you and has nice things to say. Finally you ask him why he’s different.
“It’s that new restaurant, The Bread Basket. You should really go soon. You’ll love it,” he says with a smile.
You ask, “What do they serve? Are they expensive?”
He just smiles and says, “Come and see. It’s free!” With a happy wave, he goes off to work.
A few months go by, and you finally break down and go to The Bread Basket. No one will tell you much about it, except that it’s free and will sustain you always.
You drive downtown to a not-so-nice area. You glance around skeptically because you know this is where the drug-dealers, prostitutes, and gangs hang out. You park across the street from The Bread Basket and see just a plain stone building with a double-front door. You see people entering the restaurant, some alone, some as couples, some as families, and some as groups. Some of them look happy and some look sad. But everyone who comes out is smiling and joyful. You are hesitant. You look around before you get out of the car, then double check to make sure the doors are locked and your alarm system is activated. (My note: where did Jesus minister?)
You walk to the restaurant and reach for the door, which seems to open magically at your merest touch.
You are expecting to see a dull, drab small building. Instead, you are amazed at the interior size. There are hundreds and hundreds of tables, on several floors. The place is huge inside, yet looks so small from outside. (My note: the narrow path.)
The restaurant is very open and the seating is quite comfortable and not crowded at all. Yet there are no empty tables and no waiting area. As soon as people arrive, they are seated. You cannot see an end to the tables; they seem to go on forever.
Refined shiny metal escalators move people from floor to floor in near silence. You can hear the hum of voices all around, yet no one is yelling or speaking loudly.
The hostess arrives to seat you and asks if you have a preference. You pull back and say “I’d like to wait a few minutes.” She smiles at you in agreement, and then seats new arrivals.
You watch as some people move from table to table, sitting and staying with others. You notice that some of the people are crying. Yet they are smiling through their tears. You don’t know what to think about this place.
In amazement, you look around and wonder just how many tables there are in the restaurant. And how big is the staff, anyway. How can they keep up with all these people?
(My note: begin to hand out menus during the following paragraph. Ask people not to open them yet.)
Suddenly your no-longer-grouchy neighbor sees you. “Come on over,” he calls. The angelic looking hostess appears in front of you – you’re not sure how she did that – and takes you to your neighbor’s table. She hands you a menu and a glass of icy cold refreshing water and says “I’ll be right back with your order.” You nod, and then realize you didn’t place your order. Before you can question her, your neighbor introduces you to everyone else at the table.
You say, “I don’t get it. This place looks tiny and dingy from the outside, yet it’s huge inside. How is that possible?”
“Looks can be deceiving; it’s what is inside that is important. Look at your menu and you’ll see what I mean.” Your neighbor just smiles at you.
You open your menu and are again surprised. This doesn’t look like any menu you’ve ever seen before.
(Have everyone open their menus now.)
Our study tonight is on bread – the living bread of Christ. We are going to look at several verses and their significance. We’ll tie them together from the Old Testament to the New Testament. A concordance search shows there are 253 occurrences of the word Bread in the Bible (NIV).
Using menu for lesson, go through selected verses.
My note: I created a ‘menu’ using PowerPoint. I used an 8.5 x 11 size. The front cover had a picture of double front doors into a building. I added the words “The Bread Basket.” I also put: Hours: Open Eternally, All Are Welcome.
Opening the menu, I listed the title of each verse, including the verse locations. (Example: Bread of the Presense was on the first line; the second line was Exodus 25:30, 35:15, 9:36, and Leviticus 24:5-9; Numbers 4:708. At the bottom of the menu, I added “All bread includes fee living water” followed by Psalm 107:9. The back cover has a graphic of a loaf of bread. At the bottom I included the copyright notice and the date of the Bible study.
What follows is the list of verses I used in the study
Exodus 25:30, 35:13, 39:36
Bread of the Presence – the Presence is God
Put the bread of the Presence on this table to be before Me at all times.
the table with its poles and all its articles and the bread of the Presence
the table with all its articles and the bread of the Presence;
See Lev 24:5-9
Take fine flour and bake twelve loaves of bread, using two-tenths of an ephah (four quarts approximately) for each loaf. Set them in two rows, six in each row, on the table of pure gold before the LORD. Along each row put some pure incense as a memorial portion to represent the bread and to be an offering made to the LORD by fire. This bread is to be set out before the LORD regularly, Sabbath after Sabbath, on behalf of the Israelites, as a lasting covenant. It belongs to Aaron and his sons, who are to eat it in a holy place, because it is a most holy part of their regular share of the offerings made to the LORD by fire."
as commanded by God to Moses
Bake 12 loaves for the 12 tribes (see information at end)
Set them in two rows for the 12
Eaten by Aaron & sons (the priests)
Sabbath after Sabbath as a perpetual offering to the Lord
See Numbers 4:7-8
Over the table of the Presence they are to spread a blue cloth and put on it the plates, dishes and bowls, and the jars for drink offerings; the bread that is continually there is to remain on it. Over these they are to spread a scarlet cloth, cover that with hides of sea cows and put its poles in place.
Cover the table with a blue cloth, add dishes, plates, etc.
Cover all with a scarlet cloth (perhaps blood of Christ – He is the ultimate sacrifice)
He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.
Don’t we also need to be humbled to realize our need for Christ.
See Deut 8:9(a) and 10
a land where bread will not be scarce and you will lack nothing; a land where the rocks are iron and you can dig copper out of the hills. When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the LORD your God for the good land he has given you.
Liken this to Heaven – it will be a place where we will not need anything – a place where worshipping and praising the Lord is what we will do.
See Job 23:12(b)
I have not departed from the commands of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my daily bread
See Psalm 104:15 (b)
wine that gladdens the heart of man, oil to make his face shine, and bread that sustains his heart.
They asked, and he brought them quail and satisfied them with the bread of heaven.
Q: Are we satisfied with God’s provisions for us or do we always want more?
See Ps 78:24-25
He rained down manna for the people to eat, He gave them the grain of heaven. Men ate the bread of angels; He sent them all the food they could eat.
God provided for their every nutritional need, yet they still turned from Him in complaints and actions. His bread was sufficient.
Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread.
God’s words are more vital than bread, as they provide our eternal sustenance.
This leads directly into:
Matthew 6:11, Luke 11:3
The Lord’s Prayer – give us this day our daily bread
Discuss importance of daily food and why we should ask the Lord daily for this provision. Is it merely “food” for which we are asking? Or is it our daily strength, boldness, etc?
Matthew 4:4, Luke 4:4
Man does not live on bread alone.
Sound familiar? Where did we hear this before? (Deut 8:3). This is a neat tie-in from the Old Testament to the New Testament.
See John 4:32 and 4:34
4:32 But Jesus said to them, "I have food to eat that you know nothing about."
4:34 “ My food," said Jesus, "is to do the will of Him who sent me and to finish His work.”
What does Jesus mean by verse 4:34? The food is to do the will?
Is our food to do the will of the Father?
Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world."
Jesus makes it clear here that He is the bread – the living bread. Moses gave only what God had already given – Moses was the bread basket.
This leads right into:
Then Jesus declared, "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.
At this the Jews began to grumble about Him because He said, "I am the bread that came down from heaven."
I am the bread of life. Your forefathers ate the manna in the desert, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world."
Here Jesus confirms that He is the bread of live – He gave Himself as the ultimate sacrifice so we can have eternal life.
1 Corinthians 5:8
Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth.
Referring to the feast of unleavened bread – because they left Egypt so quickly.
Old yeast of malice perhaps could also refer to being too quick.
Take the time to learn the truth of God (Bible) and your words will become sincere and profound – all for His glory.
Truth is found in reading the Bible
Sincerity is a matter of the heart – only God can change us for His benefit.
Wrap up with:
Jesus answered, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life."
The living water (Christ) leads to eternal life. It is as essential as the bread of life He offers.
On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him."
You gave your good Spirit to instruct them. You did not withhold your manna from their mouths, and you gave them water for their thirst.
He said to me: "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life.
The Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" And let him who hears say, "Come!" Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.
End with: Now let’s return to The Bread Basket. Like our fictional character, I hope you have a better understanding of why people come to the Bread Basket regularly. Our character found that each table has a separate distinct message of the word of God. Our character is now content and joyful, with an inner joy and peace that is only possible through Christ. You have eaten of the bread of life and crave more. You know you’ll return to this restaurant on a daily basis.