Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home. –John 19:25-27
Provision. What a loving and sacrificial act of kindness Jesus displayed to His mother as He hung on the cross. He desired for Mary to be well taken care of, so He arranged for her provision prior to His death.
Being a part of a family holds much more value than simply housing and food, however, although those things are certainly necessary for survival. The fellowship and care that comes from belonging to a family is what’s most important. Within the walls of family we find the presence of those who love us, the promise of protection, and the provision of life-sustaining care.
We see this legacy of provision displayed by Jesus throughout the Bible.
This week we will explore the third article of the tabernacle—the Table of Showbread, also called the Bread of the Presence. In understanding this part of the tabernacle, we will discover a beautiful picture of Jesus’ presence, His promise, and His provision.
Before stepping inside the tabernacle, we must focus in on a few prominent passages of provision from the Old Testament. In Genesis 22, God made Himself known to us as Jehovah-Jireh, the Lord Provides, when He provided a ram as a sacrifice in the place of Abraham’s son, Isaac.
In Exodus 12 God provided deliverance for the Israelites from their oppression in Egypt. He also provided manna, water, and quail in the desert in Exodus 15-18. But God not only provided safe passage and food for His people; He provided something that would satisfy not only the belly, but also would satisfy the soul.
What did God provide? He allowed His very presence to dwell with His people in the tabernacle—and foreshadowed the coming of His Son, the ultimate provision. The tabernacle and its articles pointed to Jesus then and provides beautiful symbolism for us today.
Situated on the right side of the Holy Place, the Table of Showbread housed 12 loaves of bread, representing the 12 tribes of Israel. Each week the priests would bake new loaves of bread, which would remain until the Sabbath day. On the Sabbath only the priests would eat the Bread of the Presence in the Holy Place and replace it with fresh bread on the table.
The Table of Showbread was also called “bread of the presence” to signify that it remained in the presence of the Lord always. The bread symbolized God’s willingness to koinonia or fellowship with man. Much like an invitation to share a meal or to commune in friendship, the bread signified God’s promise and provision to continually commune with His people.
Jesus—God Incarnate—carried on this same legacy of provision.
Jesus lived, died, and rose again so that those who would believe in Him would have everlasting fellowship and communion with Him on earth and for eternity. Jesus’ broken body on the cross is our only access to this fellowship with God through His Son—the Bread of Life.
In John 6:35, 49-50 Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die.”
That “I AM” statement reminds us of Exodus 3:14 when God said to Moses, “I AM who I AM.” The literal translation of “I AM” in Aramaic is the word, havah, which means to exist, to be, to become, to abide, remain, continue, to be with.”
Jesus—the great I Am—fulfilled God’s covenant of promise by becoming the Bread of Life, the Good Shepherd, the Light of the World, the Gate, and triumphantly, the Resurrection and the Life.
Jesus was God’s provision for us. God never breaks His promises to keep and care for His people, and Jesus did not fail to be faithful to His duty as an earthly Son to care for His mother upon His death.
Oh the beauty and love of our great God and His loving Son, Jesus.
From the tabernacle to the tree, Jesus’ presence, promise, and provisions are sure. He is faithful. He is our provider. He is our access to the forever home of our Father, our Jehovah, our Covenant God.
Use these verses to guide your prayer time today.
Precious Savior, Bread of Life, thank You for the gift of Your presence. Thank You for Your loving care for me. Help me find all I need in You alone. Your provisions for me are perfect. Your plans and promises sure. Continue to prepare my heart for the celebration of Your resurrection. In Jesus’ name, amen.