The word of His power. This is a phrase that we don’t hear in our modern speech, but it is wording that is found in Scripture, specifically in the opening of the book of Hebrews:
“Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,”
This same creative power was not only extended to Jesus’ work of creation, it also was on display when He was living among us. The same word “power”, or the Greek word δύναμις which is transliterated as dynamis, was used when people who met Jesus discussed His miraculous works:
“and coming to his hometown he taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished, and said, “Where did this man get this wisdom and these mighty works?”
“And they were all amazed and said to one another, “What is this word? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and they come out!””
And it is the same word that Jesus used when He said this to His disciples, as recorded in the first chapter of Acts:
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.””
This same power is available to us when we are doing that which God has told us to do, specifically when we are witnessing of His great love for us as shown through His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Praise our God and Father for the work of His Son in creation and in sustaining our universe through the power of His word. Praise Him also for sending His Son to save us from our sin so that we could have life everlasting with Him. Silence yourself and worship our God.
“”Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!””
Father, I thank You for your Son and for His marvelous works in creation. I thank You, Lord Jesus, for your wondrous love as evidenced by your sacrificial death on the cross, and I thank You, Holy Spirit, for your work in quickening our hearts so that we can believe and have saving faith in our Lord. I pray that I would silence my fears and concerns so that I can be still before You, as I glorify You, my God and my Redeemer.
I have long had a bread machine, but it went unused for most of my working career – too much to do, overtime, documents to read and cases to research.
All that changed after retirement. I have been having a grand time making homemade bread, dinner rolls, and breakfast sweet breads (this latter needs more practice before I serve it to anyone other than my beloved Husband!).
After making two loaves of light rye and one loaf of white bread, I sat down to eat a slice of the rye and, as I was munching on it, I thought of bread in the scriptures.
What exactly was bread in the scriptures? It was as important to the ancient people and cultures as it is to us today.
In the very first book of the Bible, Genesis, we find that Joseph oversaw storing the grain before the severe famine was to hit the area.
“During the seven plentiful years the earth produced abundantly, and he gathered up all the food of these seven years, which occurred in the land of Egypt, and put the food in the cities. He put in every city the food from the fields around it. And Joseph stored up grain in great abundance, like the sand of the sea, until he ceased to measure it, for it could not be measured.”
Grain makes bread, and bread sustains the people. Grain in scriptures included barley, millet, and wheat. The King James Version of scripture uses the word “corn” while the Hebrew definition focuses on wheat, cereal and grain.
For example, we read in the giving of the Law:
“If a man dedicates to the LORD part of the land that is his possession, then the valuation shall be in proportion to its seed. A homer of barley seed shall be valued at fifty shekels of silver.”
Leviticus 27:16 (By the way, a “homer” is about 6 bushels.)
The beautiful book of Ruth speaks of barley as well:
“So she kept close to the young women of Boaz, gleaning until the end of the barley and wheat harvests. And she lived with her mother-in-law.”
Exodus 9:32 (KJV) speaks of “rie” as being in the field, but it is believed that this was not something that we would use today to make “rye” bread; rather, scholars think this more likely to be spelt or emmer which is another type of wheat.
God called Gideon in Judges Chapter 6 while Gideon was beating out the wheat in the winepress in an effort to hide the grain from invading Midianites. And, in Judges Chapter 15 we read that Samson went to visit his wife during the wheat harvest. Indeed, wheat is often referenced in the Old Testament.
This is a picture of a bread pan that was from Lachish (ca, fifteenth century B.C.).
This pan may have been used for forming cakes of bread or it could actually have been used for baking the bread. Leviticus 2:5 says:
“And if your offering is a grain offering baked on a griddle, it shall be of fine flour unleavened, mixed with oil.”
Leviticus 2:5. This is the ESV translation; the KJV translation uses the word “pan” instead of “griddle”. Whether we would consider this a pan or a griddle, the picture gives evidence of what the ancient people making bread actually used. We certainly can relate to this activity even though several millennia have passed since this pan was used.
Jesus used wheat in his discourses with the disciples such as we find in Matthew 13. One of the parables taught by Jesus referenced the man who sowed good seed in his field, only to have his enemies plant weeds among the seeds. The owner left the field alone and all the plants grew until harvest when it was easy to identify the good wheat from the bad weeds. Later in the chapter, Jesus explained the parable to the disciples, saying that the weeds were the evil ones, but the wheat represented those in the kingdom of God.
We also read Jesus’ words in Matthew 6:11 where He is teaching the disciples to pray when He said:
“Give us this day our daily bread, …”
The hearers would have understood that bread was a staple of the Hebrew diet. They milled and sifted grain, usually wheat but also barley. They made it into dough, kneading it and forming the dough into thin cakes which were then baked. They also would have understood Jesus’ prayer for bread with the broadened meaning of food in general.
For me, the primary reference that comes to my mind when I think of scripture and bread is Jesus’ I AM teaching:
“Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.”
People understand that bread is life-giving; it is life-saving; it is food; and it represents the fact that food is fundamental to our well-being. We must have physical food or we will die, it is “as simple as that!”
In like manner, we cannot spiritually be alive without the food of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He is the Bread of life, both here and for eternity. He handles our longing for spiritual food and gives us the Holy Spirit as our comforter and guide. We must feast on the Word of God or we will die, this too is “as simple as that!”
Next time you pick up a slice of bread, stop and thank Him for being your Bread of Life!
“Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!”
Father, thank You for providing Your Son for our salvation and for an abundant life now and evermore. May I always look to my Savior and rely on His direction and guidance so that I will bring glory to Your Holy Name.
Christmas is a time of joy, of singing robustly about the Babe who came to earth 2000 years ago and is the Savior of mankind. So, it is a bit unsettling when we hear the opening strains of the carol “What Child is This?” because the tune is set in the key of F minor. We wonder why the soul-searching question at this time of joy and celebration.
The answer to the title question and the somber mood is dispelled by the chorus which proclaims “This, this is Christ the King, whom shepherds guard and angels sing.”
The tune is an old British tune called “Greensleeves”, which originally was a ballad about a man pining for his first love, the Lady Greensleeves. It has been said that the tune was penned by Henry VIII for Anne Boleyn. While this is not likely, what we do know is that Henry’s daughter, Queen Elizabeth I, danced to the tune.
We also know that Shakespeare referenced the song in the play The Merry Wives of Windsor.
The tune was first printed in 1580 and in 1647 it first became associated with Christmas, with words other than those we know today. “What Child is This” has been sung to the tune “Greensleeves” for over 150 years.
The words of the carol are taken from a longer poem that was written by William Chatterton Dix. Mr. Dix was born in Bristol, England in 1837 and earned his living by working as an insurance agent after he moved to Glasgow. His greatest love was writing prose and poetry that praised Christ Jesus. He wrote two devotional books and scores of hymns including two Christmas carols that we still sing today, “What Child is This” and “As with Gladness Men of Old”.
The scripture text that forms the basis of the carol is Luke 2:9-18. Verse 18 reads:
“And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them.”
What child is this? That was the question that the people 2000 years ago in Bethlehem and, later, throughout the land pondered.
Jesus the baby in the manger grew into Jesus the youth who remained in the temple amazing the teachers at His understanding of the Torah. Luke 2:41-50
Jesus the baby in the manger became the carpenter’s son who taught in a way that befuddled the hometown folks. Matthew 13:33-36
Jesus the baby in the manger became the One who had authority so that even evil spirits obeyed His command. Luke 4:36
Jesus the baby in the manger became the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. John 1:29
Jesus the baby in the manger became the resurrected Christ who was taken into heaven and now sits at the right hand of God the Father. Mark 16:19
What child is this? While the inquiry begins as a question from the dark, the answer is illuminated through the joyous response “This is Christ the King!”
Listen as the carol “What Child is This” is presented to you by the Canterbury Choristers directed by Dr. Newell Wright.
Father, I praise Your name for the gift of the baby in the manger who became my Savior and Lord. May my Christmas celebration be glorifying to You.