BREAD USED FOR DECEPTION
The Biblical Creation Account tells us that God made a good world and a good man, but bread or food caused him to go bad. Eve let her taste buds cloud her thinking and believed her baker that the bread from the poisonous plant or tree would not be fatal. She ate and it made her feel so elated that Adam joined her willingly in her new experience with bread. Hence, bread gave them life, but it also brought them death (Gen. 3). Hereinafter, bread became a tool for both good and evil.
I would like to begin my study of bread with the baker or the chief that prepared the first meal for Eve and Adam. Who was he and what did he put into the bread that could confuse two rational beings and destroy their lives with a single meal? In addition, it changed the destiny of their offspring. Adam and Eve were not the first to die, their son Abel died at the hands of his brother Cain. Who is he that can get into a human mind and lead that creature into a behavior pattern that self–destructs? Please do not presume for a moment that anyone of us is immune to what he feeds us in his diet. His bread can pop our eyes, sweeten our taste buds and warm our inside. It will cause our heads spin for days and many spin into oblivion. Suicides are far too common in our time.
The snake or the ancient serpent, called the devil or Satan is rampant in the world and his fury is well camouflaged by pinning his devastations on the Creator (Rev. 12). He had no difficulty to beguile Eve to question God’s command not to eat that one particular fruit. The serpent and Eve were friends and Satan used that friendship to turn them into enemies. Eve and the serpent took their punishment and Satan got away. From that day on they became enemies by the Creator’s ordinance. “Because you have done this, cursed are you among all cattle, and above all wild animals; upon your belly you shall crawl, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel” (Gen. 3:14-15). Adam was told, “cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth to you; and you shall eat the plants of the field” (Gen. 3:17-18). Death became a blessing by releasing all flesh from endless animosity and punishment.
If we think this was a fable then what shall we make of Jesus’ application of The Parable of the Weeds (Mt. 13:24-30)? Who are the real enemies that want us to starve? The disciples asked, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.” Jesus explained, “The Son of Man sows the good seed; the world is the field, and the good seed are the sons of God’s kingdom; the sons of the evil one are the weeds, and the enemy who sows them is the devil” (Mt. 13:36-39). Jesus showed his contemporaries what Satan had done to a woman. He imprisoned her mind with infirmities for eighteen years. He made her believe that she herself was the cause of her suffering and so did the people. And the reason Satan was plaguing her was because she was a daughter of Abraham (Lk. 13:10-16). Satan makes people believe that they are the cause of their infirmities (Jn. 9). He is an accuser and faultfinder and goes after God’s finest like Job (Job. 1), the High Priest Joshua (Zech. 3:1-2) and Jesus’ most faithful brethren (Rev. 12:10). Satan hides his identity by moving in with churches and synagogues and reduces their influence (Rev. 2:13; 3:9). What he has done to the land of the Seven Churches, he has done to the Ukraine where I was born and he is doing to the USA. He has turned the best lands in the world into wastelands and he has done it with good people – with people the masses believe in.
Satan had no scruples to test the Son of God, what makes us think we can outwit him? We may want to learn a lesson from Peter – the largest fish in God’s pond, Jesus’ right hand man. The head of the first Christian group was Peter. It was to him that Jesus said, “Get thee behind me Satan, you are hindering me, you do not desire the things of God but the things of man” (Mt. 16:23). On another occasion, Jesus told Peter, “Simon, Simon, Satan wants you for his own so that he may sift you as one does wheat” (Lk. 22:31). Following that, Peter promised to die with Jesus and shortly after he denied his Lord three times. Later in life, he wrote, “Be sober and alert, for your enemy the devil is prowling about like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (I Pe. 5:8).
Satan even tried to deceive Jesus by tempting him, rather challenging him to do what he was not supposed to do. It was a powerful challenge to turn stones into bread, defy gravity, and dare to honor Satan (Mt. 4:1-11; Lk. 4:1-12). Later, Satan, with the help of humans, wanted to take credit for Jesus’ miracles (Mt. 12:22-28). The Jewish leaders were deceived in thinking that by opposing Jesus they were serving God. Jesus told them that they belonged to their father the devil (Jn. 8:42-47). They were doing his bidding without realizing it. Now, if Satan tried to deceive Jesus, what makes us think he cannot roast us over his fire? Our fight is not only against flesh and blood, but against the spiritual forces of darkness that are behind all the deceptions and destructions (Eph. 6:12).
Satan is not that obnoxious, nor is he a mere Simpleton. He is a master of disguises. He parades as an angel of light (II Cor. 11:14). He is the deceiver of the world (Rev. 12:9). His puppet, the antichrist, has an army of deceivers (II Jn. 1:7). He even has an appealing gospel (Gal. 1:6-9). He delights in deceiving Christians into thinking that they are wise in their ways, when in reality they make fools of themselves (I Cor. 3:18). In our effort to assert ourselves, we endanger our destiny in Christ and unknowingly play into the den of the devil and his angels (Mt. 25:41). We can test ourselves easily where we are headed. If we have not apologized lately to someone, then beware. We are either being deceived or we are deceiving others and ourselves.
It is an unwanted feeling of having been deceived while eating bread by some one close to us. Why does a close friend turn on us? Satan is behind such deception. First, he takes away the truth (Mk. 3:15); second, he settles himself in the human heart or mind; third, he carries out the command of his father the devil (Jn. 8:44). It was when Jesus handed Judas the bread that Satan took complete control of him and went out to betray his teacher and then hung himself (Jn. 13:27; Mt. 27:3-5). Could Judas have been saved? There is an interesting promise in Psalm 41:9. “Even my bosom friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted his heel against me. But do thou, O Lord, be gracious to me, and raise me up, that I may absolve them.” Jesus forgave Peter for denying him, the soldiers for crucifying him and Pilate for sentencing him, but not the merciless Jewish leaders to whom Judas went for forgiveness. Had he come back to Jesus, we may have had a different ending. No one could stop or alter Jesus’ destiny as the ransom for many (Mk. 10:45). “For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life, that I may take it again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down on my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again; this charge I have received from my Father” (Jn. 10:17-18). That is why we remember Jesus every time we eat bread and drink wine together.
There is more we must do. To eat bread together, we must raise bread together. We must stop letting ideologies, religions and systems keep us from breaking bread together and feed each other; for the closest we can ever come to each other is when we break bread from the same loaf.