To Each According to Their Need

John 6 is a chapter we read a lot during Passover and the closely connected Days of Unleavened Bread (Pesach and Chag HaMatzot). That annual festival ended yesterday, but I’m still thinking about the Bread of Life and all that He has done for us.

In this chapter of John’s gospel, Jesus feeds 5,000 people in one day, walks on water and calms the winds on a lake, then the next day He teaches the people who followed Him across that lake. All the gospels record miracles where Jesus multiplied bread to feed large crowds. John also includes Jesus’s teachings after one of those miracles about Himself as the bread of life, which is so much more valuable than the bread which filled His listeners’ stomachs.

Bread from Heaven

When they found him on the other side of the lake, they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you get here?” Jesus replied, “I tell you the solemn truth, you are looking for me not because you saw miraculous signs, but because you ate all the loaves of bread you wanted. Do not work for the food that disappears, but for the food that remains to eternal life—the food which the Son of Man will give to you. For God the Father has put his seal of approval on him.”

So then they said to him, “What must we do to accomplish the deeds God requires?” Jesus replied, “This is the deed God requires—to believe in the one whom he sent.” So they said to him, “Then what miraculous sign will you perform, so that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, just as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’”

John 6:25-32, NET

This conversation always makes me shake my head at these people (though I’m also not sure I’d have done much better). They’d just seen a miracle the day before, yet they have the audacity to ask Jesus what sign He’ll perform to make them believe in Him. They even suggest that bread from heaven, like the Israelites got with the manna in the wilderness, would be nice. Jesus understood them exactly right when He said they chased Him down to fill their bellies with bread rather than because they understood He could offer them eternal life.

Then Jesus told them, “I tell you the solemn truth, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but my Father is giving you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is the one who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” So they said to him, “Sir, give us this bread all the time!” Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. The one who comes to me will never go hungry, and the one who believes in me will never be thirsty.” …

I tell you the solemn truth, the one who believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that has come down from heaven, so that a person may eat from it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats from this bread he will live forever. The bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”

John 6:32-35, 47-51, NET

There’s a big difference between Jesus as the bread of life and the manna the Israelites ate in the wilderness. One was physical and could only sustain physical life. The other is spiritual, and partaking of Him means you won’t ever die. There are also important similarities, though. Both were sent by God into a situation that seemed hopeless. Both are miraculous. Both are available in just the right amount for everyone.

Image of a woman reading her bible at a table, with text from Matthew 5:6, NET version: "“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied."
Image by MarrCreative from Lightstock

Sustenance One Day At A Time

When the dew that lay had gone, behold, on the surface of the wilderness was a small round thing, small as the frost on the ground. When the children of Israel saw it, they said to one another, “What is it?” For they didn’t know what it was. Moses said to them, “It is the bread which Yahweh has given you to eat. This is the thing which Yahweh has commanded: ‘Gather of it everyone according to his eating; an omer a head, according to the number of your persons, you shall take it, every man for those who are in his tent.’” The children of Israel did so, and some gathered more, some less. When they measured it with an omer, he who gathered much had nothing over, and he who gathered little had no lack. They each gathered according to his eating.

Exodus 14-18, WEB

When people gathered manna according to God’s instructions, they had exactly enough. No one had too much and no one had too little to fully satisfy them for each day. The manna couldn’t be stored-up for the future, though; they had to gather and eat it each day if they wanted food. The only day of the week that manna didn’t rot by the next morning was on Friday–the preparation day for the weekly Sabbath, when God gave the people rest (Ex. 16:19-30).

Thinking of the link between manna and Jesus as the Bread of Life adds another layer of understanding to these words in Jesus’s model prayer: “Give us day by day our daily bread” (Luke 11:3, NET). We need to come to Jesus and “eat” Him every day, taking His words inside us and connecting with Him in prayer. Then on the Sabbath, we can come together with our fellow believers and rest in God’s presence, drinking Him and His words in even more deeply. When we trust Him and stay close to Him, he’ll supply all our needs.

I have learned to be content in any circumstance. I have experienced times of need and times of abundance. In any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of contentment, whether I go satisfied or hungry, have plenty or nothing. I am able to do all things through the one who strengthens me. … And my God will supply your every need according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. 

Philippians 4:11-13, 19, NET

These verses are reassuring. God will take care of our needs. That doesn’t mean we’ll never experience “times of need,” or when we go hungry or have nothing (as Paul said happened to him). What it does mean is that God will take care of us anyway and He’ll help us get through those things. It puts me in mind of Jesus’s sermon on the mount, where He said not to be anxious about food or clothing, and to take one day at a time (Matt. 6:25-34). God doesn’t want us fretting about stuff, especially things in the future that we can’t really control or predict. He wants us focused on Him.

Image of 5 Bibles on a table, with people's hands following along on the page. The image is overlaid with text from Matthew 6:33-34, NET version: "But above all pursue his kingdom and righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. So then, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Today has enough trouble of its own."
Image by Inbetween from Lightstock

New Mercies Each Day

The Lord’s loyal kindness never ceases;
his compassions never end.
They are fresh every morning;
your faithfulness is abundant!
“My portion is the Lord,” I have said to myself,
so I will put my hope in him.

Lamentations 3:22-24, NET
Image of people sitting in church holding Bibles, with the blog's title text and the words "God can, and will, supply all our physical and spiritual needs through Jesus as our daily Bread of Life."
Image by Brown Bag Photography from Lightstock

Like manna in the wilderness, God’s compassionate kindness renews every morning. He supplies mercy and forgiveness to each of us according to our need, giving Himself to us as the portion that fills our emptiness.

Jesus said to them, “I tell you the solemn truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in yourselves. The one who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. The one who eats my flesh and drinks my blood resides in me, and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so the one who consumes me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven; it is not like the bread your ancestors ate, but then later died. The one who eats this bread will live forever.” …

After this many of his disciples quit following him and did not accompany him any longer. So Jesus said to the twelve, “You don’t want to go away too, do you?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God!”

John 6:53-58, 66-69, NET

We know, as Peter did, that there’s nowhere else we can go if we want eternal life. We need Jesus every single day. We all benefit from God’s loyal kindness, unending compassion, abundant faithfulness, and renewing mercy. And He can supply as much of those things as we need. We just need to ask Jesus to give us each day our daily Bread of Life.

Featured image by Anggie from Lightstock

Our Daily Bread

We recently observed Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Chag haMatzot). I suppose studying what the Bible has to say about bread is an obvious topic after that, but it’s been a more interesting study than I’d expected for something that seems so basic. Even the Lord’s model prayer that so many of us memorize talks about bread, and it has more to say on that topic than I’d assumed. Bread also acts as a spiritual symbol in scripture–Jesus calls Himself the “Bread of Life” and Paul talks about what kind of bread we’re supposed to be.

Bread for Each Day

So pray this way:

Our Father in heaven, may your name be honored,
may your kingdom come,
may your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts, as we ourselves have forgiven our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.

Matthew 6:9-13, NET

The phrase “our daily bread” involves a curious word. In Greek, “daily” is epiousios (G1967) and it’s only used here and in Luke’s account of this same prayer. It’s not even used outside of the Bible anywhere but other “early Christian literature,” which makes the meaning hard to figure out (NET footnote). “Daily” is just a best-guess for the translation. Other suggestions include “the coming day,” “for existence” (NET footnote), “the bread of our necessity,” and “the bread that suffices for each day” (Thayer’s dictionary).

I wonder if, in using a word that indicated sufficient, needed bread for each day, Jesus might have been thinking about Proverbs 30. Here, Agur asks for two things from God: “Remove falsehood and lies far from me; do not give me poverty or riches” (Prov. 30:7-8, NET). This last one might seem an odd request–who wouldn’t want to be rich?–and Agur provides further details.

feed me with my allotted portion of bread,
lest I become satisfied and act deceptively
and say, “Who is the Lord?”
Or lest I become poor and steal
and demean the name of my God.

Proverbs 30:8-9, NET

It seems there’s as much of a danger in feeling as if you are “rich and have acquired great wealth, and need nothing” (to quote the Laodiceans from Revelation 3) as there is in being so poverty stricken that you’re in danger of starving. Neither extreme is healthy, and so balance in prosperity is a prayer worth praying. We need balance–both in the physical things like Agur is talking about and in the spiritual things that Jesus is talking about in the letter to Laodicea (Rev. 3:14-22).

I usually think of the request in the model prayer as asking for provision of needs, with bread standing in for all the things like food and clothing that Jesus tells us we don’t need to worry about just a little later in this same sermon (Matt. 6:25-34). I recently heard someone point out, though, that the focus of this prayer isn’t on physical things. It’s about honoring God’s name, praying for His will and His kingdom, and asking for forgiveness and deliverance. There’s no reason not to assume physical provision is included, but it’s likely that Jesus also intended for us to think about spiritual bread. He is, after all, the bread of life.

Living Bread from Heaven

After one of the loaves and fishes miracles (recorded in John 6), Jesus crossed over to the other side of a lake and the whole multitude followed Him. There, He told them they’d followed Him not because they believed He was the Messiah or because they saw miracles, but because they’d eaten a free meal. He advised them, “Do not work for the food that disappears, but for the food that remains to eternal life” (John 6:27, NET). To work for this eternal food, they must do “the deed God requires—to believe in the one whom he sent” (6:29). Then, these same people who’d just seen Jesus turn five loaves of bread and two fish into enough food for more than 5,000 people with 12 baskets full of leftovers, actually asked Him, “what miraculous sign will you perform, so that we may see it and believe you?” They even brought up the manna in the wilderness miracle, showing full well that they knew they’d seen one bread miracle and were asking for another (John 6:30-31).

Jesus and His Father weren’t focused on delivering physical bread this time, though. There wasn’t going to be a repeat of free food on the ground every morning when the Israelites woke up (Ex. 16:4-36). Rather, they’d planned a far more enduring way to satisfy a deeper, spiritual hunger. Yes, Jesus fed the people when they were hungry but the plan was to go far beyond providing for physical needs. Just as Jesus was here on earth to take the Law and the Covenants to a deeper, higher, fuller level, He did the same thing with the miracle of bread from heaven.

“I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that has come down from heaven, so that a person may eat from it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats from this bread he will live forever. The bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh. … the one who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.”

John 6:48-51, 54-55, NET

This brings us right back to where we started this post: Passover and Unleavened Bread. Jesus’s flesh is symbolized by the bread and His blood by the wine that form the core symbols of the New Covenant Passover (Matt. 26:26-30; 1 Cor. 11:23-26). The invitation for us to eat this bread from heaven is also an invitation to be part of His covenant community and be sustained by God.

Our Unleavened Lives

Grace and salvation through Jesus Christ are gifts that we can do nothing to earn. Once we accept those gifts, though, we enter a reciprocal covenant relationship with God. We are supposed to respond a certain way after we’ve received grace. In other words, it is because of the Bread of Life that we ourselves can take on the characteristics of a very particular kind of bread.

Purge out the old yeast, that you may be a new lump, even as you are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, has been sacrificed in our place. Therefore let’s keep the feast, not with old yeast, neither with the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

1 Cor. 5:7-8, WEB

Because we “eat” the Bread of Life, we become “unleavened” bread. Symbolically during the Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread, leaven represents sin. Eating unleavened bread for that seven-day festival pictures us putting sin out of our lives and replacing it with His character. During the remaining days of the year, though we are free to eat yeasted and otherwise leavened breads, the importance of turning to God to fill all our needs (including our need to daily take-in Jesus Christ) remains the same.

God is concerned about our physical needs. He appreciates it when we choose not to fret about where we’ll get our physical daily bread and instead ask Him to provide (as Jesus did in His model prayer), trusting that He can and will take care of us. Even more than that, though, He is concerned about supplying our spiritual needs because that has eternal ramifications. We also ought to pray for God to “give us today our daily Bread of Life,” trusting that He will satisfy our spiritual hunger.

Featured image by FotoshopTofs from Pixabay

The Easiest No-Knead Bread

Easy No-Knead Bread | marissabaker.wordpress.comMy new favorite bread recipe comes from Be sure to click over there and visit her recipe, since she has lots of tips for making this turn out just-right, as well as several variations that I haven’t tried working with yet. What I’m posting today focuses on making one peasant loaf and one faux focaccia loaf.

This bread is incredible easy to make, but you do have to plan ahead. I need about three hours between the time you start the bread to the time when you can eat it.

Announcement: I’m planning some changes to this blog to focus on providing more useful resources for my readers. My posts on type psychology have been the ones people consistently comment on as being the most helpful, so I want to focus on that while continuing to write my Christian articles and introducing homeschooling resources for teaching high-school English. With all these changes, I’m most likely going to be phasing-out these weekly recipe posts or moving them to a different blogging platform (unless you all REALLY want me to keep them, in which case they’ll probably be less frequent).

Easy No-Knead Bread

2 cups lukewarm water (110–120° F)

1 tablespoon sugar

2 teaspoons active-dry yeast

4 cups flour (3 cups all-purpose, 1 cup whole wheat)

2 teaspoons salt

room temperature butter, about 1 tablespoon

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1/8 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1/4 teaspoon parsley

1 clove garlic, diced

coarse sea salt

Dissolve the sugar into the water in a small mixing bowl or glass measuring cup. Sprinkle the yeast over top, then let it stand for about 10 to 15 minutes until the mixture is foamy.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Once the yeast mixture is foamy, stir it up. Mix the yeast mixture into the flour until it forms a soft dough.

Easy No-Knead Bread |
before rising

Cover the bowl with a tea towel run under hot water and rung out so it is slightly damp. Set it aside in a warm spot to rise for about one-and-a-half hours.

Easy No-Knead Bread |
after rising

Grease one oven-safe bowl or a medium casserole dish and one 9-inch by 9-inch baking dish. Use 1/2 tablespoon of butter for each. Using two forks, punch down the dough and scrape it from the sides of the bowl, turning the dough over on itself. Using the two forks, pull the dough apart into the equal portions and then scoop one into each baking dish.

Easy No-Knead Bread |
dividing the dough

The peasant loaf, the one in the bowl or casserole dish, is now done. For the faux focaccia, mix 1 Tablespoon olive oil, 1/8 teaspoon Italian seasoning, 1/4 teaspoon parsley, and 1 clove diced garlic. Spread the dough out with your fingers to fit the shape of the pan, then dip your fingers in the olive oil mixture and press the top of the dough to make dimples in the surface. Spread the remainder of the olive oil mixture on top of the bread, and then sprinkle the top with coarse sea salt.

Easy No-Knead Bread |
right before the second rising

Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Let the dough rise for about 20 to 30 minutes, then bake for 12 minutes. Reduce the heat to 375ºF and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and turn the loaves onto cooling racks.

Easy No-Knead Bread |

Brush the top of the peasant loaf with butter. Let the loaves cool for about 10 minutes before cutting.

Easy No-Knead Bread |
aren’t they lovely?


Lemon Quick Bread

Lemon Quick Bread recipe,

I posted a form of this bread before — trying to turn it into a lemon-almond loaf — but it’s this version that I keep going back to when I want to make a lemony quick bread. This bread has a light lemon flavor — not too sweet, not too lemony. When you bake it, it almost develops a glaze on the top. The original recipe baked it in one loaf pan, but I was having trouble getting it to cook through without burning the edges, and then the center of the bread got squishy. Baking it in two pans, or four mini-loaf pans as I did here, or seems to do the trick.

Lemon Quick Bread

Lemon Quick Bread recipe, marissabaker.wordpress.comprint this recipe

3 cups flour

1, 3.5-ounce box lemon flavor instant pudding

1 cup sugar

3 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 ½ cups milk

Lemon Quick Bread recipe, marissabaker.wordpress.com2 eggs, lightly beaten

6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoons lemon juice

2 Tablespoons poppy seeds

Mix together flour, pudding mix, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl. Set aside. In large bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, and butter. Add vanilla and lemon and mix well. Add the flour mixture, along with poppy seeds. Mix until just combined.Lemon Quick Bread recipe,

Grease and flour two 9x5x3-inch loaf pans, or four mini-loaf pans. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pans and bake at 350°F for 35-45 minutes, or until toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

Allow loaves to cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10-15 minutes, then remove from pan to finish cooling on a wire rack. Allow to cool completely.

Lemon Quick Bread recipe,

No-Knead Cinnamon Rolls

No-Knead Cinnamon Roll recipe,

I found this recipe on Pinterest, and it’s the only cinnamon roll recipe I make now. It’s originally from a blog called pReCiouS MoMentS. I’ve changed measurements that were in grams to cups or tablespoons, to make it easier to American cooks to follow. I also changed the scalding instructions — I wanted an exact temperature to aim for so I didn’t scorch the milk or kill the yeast, and it takes much less than an hour for my milk to cool to the right temperature. My rolls also have less filling, and I’ve added a glaze.

No-Knead Cinnamon Rolls

No-Knead Cinnamon Roll recipe,
first round of ingredients ready

Print this recipe


1 cup milk

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup canola oil

1 teaspoon yeast

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup white whole-wheat flour

No-Knead Cinnamon Roll recipe,
Scald at 150 degrees Fahrenheit

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt


1 Tablespoon cinnamon

4 Tablespoons brown sugar

2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted



1/2 cup powdered sugar

1/4 teaspoon vanilla

1 Tablespoon milk

No-Knead Cinnamon Roll recipe,
dough before rising for the first time

Mix milk, sugar and vegetable oil in a pan. Scald by heating to 150°F. Leave to cool for about 20 minutes, or until the temperatures is between 105°F and 115°F. Sprinkle yeast over the scaled mixture and let sit for about 5 minutes.

Place 2 cups flour in a mixing bowl. Make a well in the center and add scalded mixture. Stir with a spatula until it comes together to form a thick batter. Cover and let the batter sit for at least 1 hour.

No-Knead Cinnamon Roll recipe,
I was probably cutting them a little less than 1-inch thick. You could also just cut it into 20 equal size slices.

Add the remaining 1/4 cup flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir until the mixture comes together. Rolls can be made now, or covered and chilled until needed. Dough will be easier to work with if chilled.

When ready to make the rolls, mix ground cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl. Dust the work surface and the top and bottom of dough freely with flour. Roll out the dough into a thin, rectangular shape. Dust the dough and work surface with flour when necessary.

Brush the rolled out dough with melted butter. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture evenly over the surface. Roll the dough neatly in a line towards you, rolling as tightly as possible. Pinch the seams to seal.

No-Knead Cinnamon Roll recipe,
Top image: rolls before rising. Bottom image: rolls after rising. The size change isn’t really noticeable until after baking

Cut into 1-inch thick slices and arrange in a baking pan greased with butter. Use one 9×13-inch baking pan, or two 8×8-inch baking pans. Place the rolls close together so that they are almost touching.

Cover and leave to rise for 30 to 60 minutes, or until the rolls double in size. Rolls can be left to chill in the fridge over night and baked the next morning. If rolls have doubled in size in the refrigerator, bake right away. Otherwise leave to sit on counter until they double. Bake in preheated oven at 375°F for 12-16 minutes, or until golden brown.

Let rolls cool on the counter. Mix glaze ingredients and drizzle over cooled rolls.

Lemon Almond Bread

Lemon Almond bread recipe
Lemon Almond Bread

While visiting a friend is Wisconsin, I was introduced to an amazing almond lemon bread with some kind of glaze. It reminded me a little of the lemon bread recipe I’ve used a few times, so I decided I’d try to alter that recipe to match the almond lemon bread. The recipe I’m sharing today is my first experiment. It wasn’t exactly what I was looking for, but it has a good flavor. I think my next step will be to add extra almond, maybe some lemon juice to make it more moist, and change the glaze a little. This glaze is very lemon-y right now, especially if you try to eat the bread right after glazing instead of waiting until the next day.

Lemon Almond Bread

Lemon Almond bread recipe
same bread, different lighting

print this recipe

3 cups flour

1, 3.5-ounce box lemon flavor instant pudding

1 cup sugar

3 teaspoons baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

1 ½ cups milk

2 eggs, lightly beaten

6 Tablespoons butter, melted

Lemon Almond bread recipe
cooling on a wire rack

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon almond flavoring

2 Tablespoons poppy seeds

¼ cup powder sugar

½ teaspoon lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9x5x3-inch loaf pans.

Mix together flour, pudding mix, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In another bowl mix together the milk, eggs, and butter. Stir in extracts and mix well. Add flour mixture, along with poppy seeds. Mix until just combined.

Lemon Almond bread recipe
freshly glazed

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pans and bake in the preheated oven for 35-45 minutes, or until toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Allow loaf to cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10-15 minutes, then remove from pan to finish cooling on a wire rack. Allow to cool completely.

Meanwhile, mix powder sugar and lemon juice. Brush glaze over fully cooled loaves.

print this recipe