"Give us this day our daily bread." What sort of bread does this phrase mean? Sliced or loaf? White, wheat, or rye?
In Jesus' day bread was the main course everyday. It was the most important human food, the essential element for life. Lechem, the Hebrew word for food also translates as bread. It appears two hundred and sixty times in the Old Testament. The Greek word for food and bread, used the same way in the New Testament is artos. There it appears eighty one times, with Jesus speaking it on twenty-two of those occasions.
Bread really means what we need for our daily sustenance. Without stretching the point, we can rephrase this clause in another way. It is the same as if Jesus taught us to pray, "Give us the money we need to live today." That understanding is so common that in slang, "bread" means money.
We acknowledge in this part of Jesus' prayer that God is involved in our income process. Our Father, in his love, wants to provide our daily sustenance. His will is for us to have the necessary food, clothing, and shelter. His will for us is that all our needs - material and spiritual - shall be met.
God wants to supply our needs so we can keep our attention focused on his total will - what he wants us to do on earth, before we get to heaven. An early promise from Jesus is that our Father gives all necessary gifts, grace, and providence to us when we seek his will and follow it. Matthew 6:25-34 records God's guarantee to be our provider.
When we know these promises are true, and we can rely on God to lead us through our greatest concerns, it is easier to get serious about religion. A real God who does real things for us that can be seen quickly gains our attention and respect.
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