As followers of Christ, we engage in various practices that are integral to our faith. One of these practices, which dates back to the time of Jesus and the early church, is breaking bread. Breaking bread holds deep spiritual significance and serves as a reminder of our connection to one another and to Christ. This blog post will delve into the meaning of breaking bread, exploring its origins, purpose, and the role it plays in the life of a believer.
When we think of breaking bread, our minds often turn to the act of sharing a meal. However, in the context of Christianity, breaking bread represents something more profound. Throughout the Bible, breaking bread is depicted as a unifying act that not only brings people together but also reminds us of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. To truly appreciate the importance of this practice, let us examine the scriptural basis and the various aspects of breaking bread.
The Origins of Breaking Bread
Jesus and the Last Supper
The roots of breaking bread can be traced back to the Last Supper, a pivotal event in the life of Jesus and His disciples. As they gathered to share the Passover meal, Jesus took bread, broke it, and shared it with His disciples. The account in the Gospel of Matthew states, “And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, ‘Take, eat; this is My body'” (Matthew 26:26, NKJV). This symbolic act would later become a key element of Christian worship.
The Early Church
The practice of breaking bread was not confined to Jesus and His disciples but was also a vital aspect of the early Christian church. Acts 2:42 tells us that the believers “continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers” (NKJV). This demonstrates that breaking bread was a central part of the communal life of early Christians, serving as a reminder of their faith and commitment to Jesus Christ.
Breaking Bread as Communion
A Symbol of Christ’s Sacrifice
At the heart of breaking bread is the concept of communion, which refers to the sharing of bread and wine in remembrance of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians provides further insight into the meaning of communion: “For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, ‘Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me'” (1 Corinthians 11:23-24, NKJV). By partaking in this sacrament, believers remember the body of Christ, broken for their redemption.
A Call to Unity
Breaking bread also serves as a call to unity among believers. Paul emphasizes this in his letter to the Corinthians, writing, “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we, though many, are one bread and one body; for we all partake of that one bread” (1 Corinthians 10:16-17, NKJV). As Christians break bread together, they are reminded that they are united in their faith and in their love for Christ.
Breaking Bread in Today’s Church
The Lord’s Supper
In many Christian churches today, the act of breaking bread is observed through the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper or Holy Communion. Believers gather to partake of bread and wine (or grape juice), which symbolize the body and blood of Jesus Christ. This ritual allows Christians to remember the sacrifice Jesus made for their salvation and to reaffirm their commitment to Him. The Lord’s Supper is an essential aspect of Christian worship, observed regularly in churches around the world.
In addition to the Lord’s Supper, breaking bread can also refer to the practice of sharing fellowship meals among believers. These gatherings serve to strengthen the bonds of Christian community and provide opportunities for believers to share their faith, encourage one another, and pray together. Acts 2:46 describes the early church’s practice of breaking bread in homes: “So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart” (NKJV). This tradition of sharing meals is still observed in many churches and Christian communities today.
As we come to the conclusion of this exploration of breaking bread, it is essential to recognize the profound significance this practice holds for Christians. Breaking bread serves as a powerful reminder of the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross, providing a means for believers to remember and honor His act of love. Furthermore, breaking bread calls us to unity, encouraging us to strengthen our bonds with fellow believers and our commitment to Christ.
In today’s fast-paced world, it is more important than ever for Christians to take the time to engage in the practice of breaking bread. Whether through the observance of the Lord’s Supper or the sharing of fellowship meals, these moments of communion allow us to pause, reflect on our faith, and draw closer to Jesus and one another.
Let us remember the words of Jesus, as He broke bread with His disciples, and let them inspire us to continue this vital tradition: “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me” (1 Corinthians 11:24, NKJV). May the act of breaking bread continue to serve as a meaningful expression of our faith and a testament to our love for Christ and one another.