Posts Tagged ‘metaphor’

Bread of God

December 3, 2015

Seven I am Statements in John

Posted a year ago, the following entry is revised and re-posted below:

The Verse of the Day for December 3, 2015 mentions one of seven metaphors that express the identity of Jesus Christ in John 6:35 in the Amplified Bible:

Jesus replied to them, “I am the Bread of Life. The one who comes to Me will never be hungry, and the one who believes in Me [as Savior] will never be thirsty [for that one will be sustained spiritually].

Bread is said to represent food, that which sustains life. As the “bread of life” Jesus provides nourishment and sustenance for anyone who comes to him. In a conference message to the New York University Bible Fellowship, Sahaed H. comments,

“When we are hungry, it is because there is an emptiness in our stomachs that should not be there and we must fill that emptiness with food. In the same way, because of our broken relationship with our Father God our souls have been starving. But when we come to Jesus and believe in him, Jesus, the bread of life, fills that void and restores our relationship with Father God. Then we can be truly satisfied from all our hunger.”


The photo display a hearty brown bread which is also called the “staff of life” or a basic food that supports life. Some form of bread is found in virtually every culture around the world.

In reflecting on this particular metaphor, I was inspired to write the following:

The Bread of God

This is the bread which comes down
from heaven, that a man may eat thereof,
and not die.

I am the living bread which came down from heaven:
if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever:
and the bread that I will give is my flesh,
which I will give for the life of the world.

John 6:50-51

Bread of Heaven, Bread of Heaven,
feed me till I want no more.
Guide Me, O, Thou Great Jehovah

Traditional Hymn

Food to sustain, the staff of life, our daily bread:
One of two elements of a New Testament,
Healing our mortal bodies to the fullest extent,
Those who partake never hunger, as Christ has said.
Unleavened bread of truth sanctified, set apart,
So this bread symbolizes Christ’s broken body,
Bruised, battered and wounded, as if for only me.
As I eat this bread and believe with all my heart
That Christ finished the work which was his bread, his food,
I partake of the bread of life and testify
Of bread from heaven that man may eat and never die,
For man is sustained by knowing that God is good.
The living bread was given to redeem and restore:
The bread of God comes down from heaven to give life;
The bread of peace fulfills our souls, dispels all strife.
Bread of Heaven, feed me till I want no more.

The Fron Male Choir sing “Guide Me O Thou Great Redeemer,” the great hymn by William and Peter Williams with its opening verse from which the closing line of the poem is taken.

Put others first and you will be great

January 29, 2015

Mark-9 35

The Verse of the Day for January 29, 2015 speaks of the oxymoronic nature of true servanthood: the last shall be first and the first shall be last. If you want to be in the premier position as number one, then put yourself in the last position by putting others first, and you will be great.

Mark 9:35 (NLT)

He sat down, called the twelve disciples over to him, and said, “Whoever wants to be first must take last place and be the servant of everyone else.”

Other places in the Scriptures also reveal this striking portrait of a true servant of the Lord:

Luke 22:26 (NLT)

But among you it will be different. Those who are the greatest among you should take the lowest rank, and the leader should be like a servant.

A similar response occurs in Mark 10:43 (NLT)

But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant,

A particularly noteworthy verse is found in Matthew 20:27 (NLT):

And whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave.

In following in the steps of Jesus Christ, one of the most noble character traits that a person can demonstrate is that of serving others. Throughout the life and ministry of Christ, he takes upon himself the form of a servant, thus modeling the behavior that he desires to see his followers emulate.

In the New Testament we find that the metaphor of the servant or bondslave is used in the Bible to portray this admirable heart of service. The distinction between the term “slave” and the “bond servant” which is translated from the Greek word doulos in the New Testament is that the servant or bondslave offers his life in “voluntary servitude.” Though often looked upon in a negative light, choosing to become a servant of the Lord is a most admirable character trait.

My attraction to this particular metaphor occurred more than 40 years ago when I was introduced to the concept of the doulos, translated “servant” but more accurately rendered “bondslave.” I produced an article “Doulos: A Different View of the Slave” published in 1975. In 1978 while completing my Master’s thesis, I explored the subject in light of Paul’s literary style in the Church Epistles. I went on to complete my Ph.D. in 1986 with a dissertation entitled Portrait of the Bondslave in the Bible: Slavery and Freedom in the Works of Four Afro-American Poets. Aside from a purely academic exploration of the topic of the bondslave, I have also endeavored to practically apply the precepts of this biblical term. I express my application of the principles of servitude found in this intriguing figure in the poem “More Than Metaphor”:

More than Metaphor

For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me:

and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another,

Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it

Matthew 8:9


To capture my essence I strive to find a word,

Phrase, image or mind picture to bring clarity,

To express my deep yearning for intimacy.

Like Paul, my calling card reads: “servant of the Lord.”

Each fiber of my being and each emotion

Pulsates with lifeblood flowing from a servant’s heart.

As I endeavor to learn and live to impart

The joy of serving with pure-hearted devotion,

I pledge to work in voluntary servitude,

As I fix my eyes, looking unto my Lord’s hands,

To heed His Word and to do more than He commands,

To serve with love from a heart filled with gratitude.

Beyond a single concept, more than metaphor

Is this branded bondslave, who embodies “the more.”


Listen to “The Servant Song” by Maranatha! Promise Band, as we close this blog entry.

I am the vine: Yet another metaphor

December 9, 2013


The Verse of the Day for December 9, 2013 offers yet another metaphor used by Jesus Christ to help his followers understand who he is and who he is called to be:

John 15:5, 8:

I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.

This particular metaphor used by Jesus relates to a parable where he uses this comparison:

 “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.

This reference relates to the parable of the vinedresser, the vine, the branches and the fruit. That is, it explained how the Twelve were to produce a spiritual harvest for God.

John 15:1-8 records how Jesus, during the evening when he was betrayed and captured, said to the eleven apostles who remained at the table with him (Judas had departed and gone to betray the Lord), that his Father was a “vinedresser” (grape farmer), or “husbandman” as some translations have it, and that he, Jesus, was “the true vine”, and that those apostles were “branches” who were attached to Jesus, the Vine. In order to be fruitful the branches must “abide” in the vine. When the branches remain intact with the vine, God is glorified as the branches bear much fruit.

The following photo shows a fruitful vine from a vineyard that illustrates the parable where Jesus describes himself as “the true vine.”


John Michael Talbot has composed a musical rendering of this passage performed here by Jon Mulkey: