Every Friday evening in Jewish homes around the world, a beautiful tradition takes place as families sit around their dinner table to welcome the Sabbath together. As a part of this traditional meal, the woman of the house says a prayer and lights the Sabbath candles. Then the man of the home holds up his glass of wine and says a blessing over the wine. After he recites or sings the blessing over the wine, the man of the home lifts up one of the two special loaves of bread. He then breaks the bread as he recites the blessing over the bread.
It is from this traditional breaking and blessing of the bread that we get the well known English idiom “breaking bread,” which is a way of saying having a meal together.
If you take just a few minutes to search through the Scriptures, you will find that breaking bread together is a recurring theme or event that is mentioned often within many of the major biblical events we read about. Just a few of the many examples are:
In Genesis 14, Melechizedek broke bread with Abraham.
Gen. 14:18 Then Melechizedek , king of Salem, brought out bread and wine—he was a priest of El Elyon. 19 He blessed him and said, “Blessed be Abram by El Elyon, Creator of heaven and earth,
In Genesis 18:4, Abraham broke bread with his three “visitors.”
Gen. 18:4 Please let a little water be brought so you can wash your feet, and make yourselves comfortable under the tree. 5 And let me bring a bit of bread so that you can refresh yourselves—then you can pass on—since you have passed by your servant. They said, “Do just as you have said.” 6 So Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah and said, “Quick! Knead three measures of fine flour and prepare bread loaves!”
In Ruth, Boaz invites Ruth to break bread with him.
Ruth 2:14 At mealtime Boaz said to her, “Come over here and eat some bread and dip your piece into the wine vinegar.” So she sat beside the harvesters and he held out to her roasted grain. She ate until she was full, and some was still left.
And in Matthew 26:26, we read about Yeshua breaking bread with His disciples during their Passover meal.
Matt 26:26 Now while they were eating, Yeshua took matzah ; and after He offered the bracha, He broke and gave to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.”
When we study the Bible and we find an event or theme which is included in stories and events over and over, we should look a little deeper to see if there is an intended prophetic connection, especially when these events become a part of the narrative of Messiah. Remember always that there are no wasted or superfluous words in the Bible, so if something like breaking bread was included in an event, it has a purpose.
In this case, I believe that the inclusion of breaking of bread is very similar to the inclusion of the Passover Lamb and the Sounding of the Shofar. The Passover Lamb was to rehearse for the time when we would be introduced to the “Real Passover Lamb” slain from the foundation of the world. The Shofar sound prepares us for the day when G-D will blow the Great Shofar at the Second Coming.
I believe that we read over and over about the breaking of the bread so that when Yeshua sat down for Passover Dinner with His disciples and broke that bread and said that blessing, we would recognize the supernatural, spiritual, and prophetic importance of the moment.
It was to foster the recognition of this prophetic moment that Yeshua spoke the words “I am the Bread of Life” to His followers earlier in John 6:31-35:
John 6:31 Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘Out of heaven He gave them bread to eat.’” 32 Yeshua answered them, “Amen, amen I tell you, it isn’t Moses who has given you bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is the One coming down from heaven and giving life to the world.” 34 So they said to Him, “Sir, give us this bread from now on!” 35 Yeshua said to them, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to Me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in Me will never be thirsty.
This also helps us understand the significance of Yeshua’s words when He said after breaking the bread, “Take, eat; this is My body.”
We can see the full circle of the prophetic when we realize that the first person who broke bread in the Bible was Melechizedek when he served bread to Abraham, and we understand that Yeshua was a priest of the order of Melechizedek, as we see in Hebrews 7:14-17:
Hebrews 7:14 For it is clear that our Lord has sprung forth from Judah concerning this tribe, Moses said nothing about kohanim. 15 And it is even more evident, if another kohen arises like Melechizedek — 16 one made not by virtue of a Torah requirement of physical descent, but by virtue of the power of an indestructible life. 17 For it is testified, “You are a kohen forever, according to the order of Melechizedek .”
When we understand that the tradition of breaking bread, which began so long ago, was not just simply a part of a meal, but rather a prophetic thread with the purpose of bringing revelation of Yeshua as Messiah. Maybe this was why He was born in Bethlehem, Beit Lechem in Hebrew, which means the House of Bread. It is also why after traveling on the Road to Emmaus with two of His disciples that didn’t recognize Him, they sat down for dinner and Yeshua broke the bread and then immediately their eyes were opened.
Luke 24:30 And it happened that when He was reclining at the table with them, He took the matzah, offered a bracha and, breaking it, gave it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized Him, and He disappeared from them.
With this in mind, every time we gather together and break bread, let us not only thank G-D for bread from the earth, but also thank G-D for the Bread of Life. Maybe while we are breaking the bread and saying the blessing, someone’s eyes at the table will be opened to the revelation of the breaking of the bread and the Messiahship of Yeshua.