Then said they to him, Lord, ever more give us this bread.…
Every one acknowledges the golden cornfields to be full of the highest spiritual teaching. It is as if He who gave us the Written Word, which we call the Bible — "the Book" — specially designed the harvest-field to be to it a sort of companion volume; and to that purpose filled it to overflowing with the most striking and beautiful illustrations, which should be at the same time bright enough to catch the attention of the most untutored, and profound enough to richly repay the deepest study of the thoughtful and learned. Nor would our Saviour allow this beautiful supplementary volume to be neglected or overlooked. Let us listen for a moment to what science has to tell us of the character and position of corn in the economy of nature. Corn belongs to the second great order of plants — the lily order; and according to the evolutionist's theory it is either a lily in the making, or in a degenerate and degraded form. This latter theory is the generally accepted one. In process of the ages the corn-plant which was, and is still, of the lily order, gradually developed the invaluable property of producing corn, and did ibis at the expense of its beauty. It separated itself from its beautiful sisters, laid aside the glory of the coloured vesture and elegance which belonged to it as of right, and took instead the russet garments in which we see it now clad; and all in order that it might be of service in its day and generation, and give its own life and substance for the life and support of others. If this were so, what a wonderful little parable we have in its history of the law of self-sacrifice, and of the blessing and reward attending such sacrifice: for what if it that really happens to the corn as a result of its self-surrender? We call it now the "staff of life." That is its usual and well-fitting title. To be singled out from all other plants in the world as the very staff of human life were, I say, marvellous honour for so small and insignificant a plant. But more than that; in giving its life as the staff of ours it, becomes itself a partaker of a nobler nature. In eating it we incorporate its nature with ours, so that it becomes part of our very selves — bone of our bones and flesh of our flesh — and in a very real sense it comes in this way to participate with us in the enjoyment of human life. What a striking illustration we have here, then, of some of our Saviour's words! Jesus said, "He that loveth his life shall lose it, and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal; " and the life-history of the corn emphasizes this truth in a way so remarkable that no one can help being impressed by it. But we have not exhausted this lesson even yet, nor have we reached a thousandth part of the honour God has designed to bestow upon the self-abasing little plant; for when the Lord Jesus Himself came down from heaven to give His life for the world, and one day stood and looked around Him for a figure by which He might signify something of His own Person and office, He could find nothing better to His purpose than the little corn-plant in its so-called degraded form and russet-dress. "I am the Bread of Life," He said, "I am the living Bread which came down from heaven." We can well appreciate the aptness of that simile. The plant that had laid aside its lily-dress, and put off all its glory — clothing itself in russet-brown, and stooping very low, that it might give its life for the many — and, moreover, that could even then only become life-giving bread by being first bruised and crushed and broken — I say we can well perceive how fitting a type in all these particulars it was of Him "who made Himself of no reputation," etc. "Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him," etc.
(John Crofts, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread.