Locations & Times

Christ in the Breadline: The Truth is that God is Always Among Us

We lose sight of the fact that Jesus is with us during the rough periods in life. What often happens in our lives is that we become too busy…

by Donny Abbott on March 31, 2022

Eichenberg, F. (1951). Christ in the Breadline [Wood Cutting]. Shared to the Catholic Worker (Flickr/Jim Forest).

Christ in the Breadline is a woodcutting piece of art created by German artist Fritz Eichenberg. Created in 1951, Eichenberg perfectly captures what happened to the two fellas walking on the road to Emmaus. You remember them, they were among the first to whom Jesus appeared after His resurrection. These two guys were simply walking when Jesus cozy’s up alongside them and engages them in conversation. But, for some reason, at thatin that moment they didn’t recognize Jesus. This lack of recognition happens in our own lives also; Christ simply goes unrecognized. 

The truth is that God is always among us. But as the Prophet Elijah discovered, God didn’t appear to him in the wind, an earthquake or a fire, but instead in a “still small voice.” That’s just like God isn’t it; to appear in subtle ways. He did it in the birth of Jesus as He wasn’t born into some grand palace fit for a king, but instead in a stable surrounded by barn animals. On the last week of His life, Jesus didn’t enter Jerusalem as a triumphant war hero ready to liberate Israel from the Roman’s. Instead, He rides humbly into town on the back of a donkey. 

What often happens in our lives is that we become too busy and miss the subtle cues of God working in our midst. 

Eichenberg’s image captures what we know to be true; Jesus is with us in the good times for sure. Isn’t that why we have good times? But the image also illustrates that Jesus is with us in the tough times as well.  

Blogger and artist Stacy Hogue notes: 

“I can't stop thinking about the Holy One divesting himself of his deity and taking the bread when all the while he is the Bread of Life in disguise.” 

Many of us lose sight of this. We lose sight of the fact that Jesus is with us during the rough periods in life. Perhaps you’re like me and tend to think that if Jesus is with me, if He is blessing me, if I were experiencing His favor, then I wouldn’t have tough times. It should be smooth sailing, shouldn’t it? Marriage would be perfect, kids would behave, and we wouldn’t have to deal with the aches and pains of getting older. But the truth is we come to a better understanding of God through life’s pains and challenges than through contentment and triumphs. 

As followers of Jesus, you and I have an opportunity, if not a moral obligation, to be His hands and feet and help others in their times of need as well.   

In the book of Matthew, Jesus shares a story about the Kingdom of Heaven and who will gain its inheritance: 

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”

You and I can point people to Jesus when we extend compassion and engage in service to others. Jesus concludes this teaching by adding: 

“Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” Matthew 25:31-40

In this passage Jesus shows us that when we care for the least among us, we are showing care to Him. 

Jesus revealed Himself as the Bread of Life to his best friends at the last meal Jesus would enjoy before enduring the horrors of the cross. He also revealed Himself as the Bread of Life to the two men walking to Emmaus. Accepting an invitation from the two men to spend the evening with them, they had a meal together. It was at this meal when Jesus broke the bread that their eyes were opened to the reality of who Christ was; the Bread of Life.

If you are a follower of Jesus, your eyes were opened at some point as well. There was a specific point in your life when you recognized Jesus as the Bread of Life; the only one who could sustain you spiritually. The only one who could fulfill your deepest needs. The only one who could offer salvation.

Father, we thank you for your gift of grace that you offer to every one of us. Jesus, we thank you for giving your body, your life as a sacrifice for our sins. Holy Spirit, we thank you for the way you are constantly at work in our world. May the truth of who you are be revealed to us anew each and every day. May our eyes be opened to you, the Bread of Life. Amen.

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