Bigger Than Bread
Jesus was a forward thinker. With the kingdom always in mind, he often warned His followers to look beyond the present to the future.
After His teaching on prayer at the beginning of Luke 11, Jesus shifts to reminding His followers that God is good and always gives good gifts to His children. His illustration has to do with bread and fish and eggs so the reader might think that the Lord is talking about material blessings (11:5-12).
But then Jesus throws a curve ball by ending this particular teaching this way: “If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (11:13).
Hmmmmmm, doesn’t sound like lunch to me!
The message? The greatest gift God can give us is Himself.
By the time we get through Luke 12, we are reminded again that God promises to provide for His children materially. We are not to worry about food and clothing and all those necessities of life (12:22-34). But all this promise of provision is set in the middle of a message to look beyond the present, beyond the material, to focus on kingdom business and to prepare not to be received well because of it.
That greatest gift of Himself, given to us in Luke 11, pops up again in Luke 12. Jesus knows that His followers will be persecuted. He knows that they will be imprisoned and killed. He knows they will need much more than food and clothing to face the persistent pursuit of the enemies of the cross. He knows they will need all they can possibly have of Him in order to stand tall and to stand firm.
“When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say” (12:11, 12).
During His last evening with His disciples, Jesus would remind them again that the Holy Spirit would come to them (John 14-17). They needed to be brimming over with the presence and power of God if they were to accomplish the mission of kingdom building in spite of the obstacles.
We often ask for the lesser gifts, the bread, the fish, and the eggs. How often to we ask God to fill us with the greater gift: His Spirit, so that our lives become more focused on building His kingdom rather than maintaining our own?