Bread is a simple food. You get some flour and water and yeast, maybe a little salt, mix it all together and stick that bad boy in the oven until it rises. People eat it all over the world, and its uses are limitless. For the most part, the differences are subtle, if not altogether absent.
But if you decide to add an extravagant amount of salt, or use very poor quality flour that’s been sitting in your cupboard for three years, you’re going to get some terrible bread. There’s no way around it. In just about any case, too many additives or deviations create unnecessary complexity, and an imbalance ruins the essential fundamentals.
I’ve accidentally purchased that nasty bread with the extra seeds and nuts in it occasionally. I suppose some people like it, but my wife and I both find it abhorrent. If I wanted trail mix, I’d get some.
Sometimes, bread can also be corrupted, in a manner of speaking. There’s the bread that claims it contains all of the essential nutrients, yet it weighs about as much as the two dollars you spent on it.
And sometimes huge amounts of sugar get added, or it’s bleached to the point of looking like that angel food stuff. That’s actually called cake.
What fascinates me about the gospel of Jesus Christ, in contrast to other religions, is its utmost simplicity and accessibility. The work has already been done; Jesus is the final sacrifice for all of your sins, making the road to heaven quite straight forward. It is merely a matter of making Him Lord (which does require incredible humility). Adding anything to it only corrupts the core product.
Preconceptions when approaching the gospel can create problems, which is what God deigned to eradicate in Acts 10. Peter had one rather bizarre dream addressing his Jewish bias when it came to evangelizing to the non-Jews. God had to directly intervene and set up a divine appointment to blow up his worldview. Fortunately, it worked, and Americans who head into church every week are the beneficiaries of Peter’s obedience.
Unfortunately, corruption has been renewed in many churches. People have added ingredients that were never part of the simple recipe. Some say you must be baptized, or that you must accumulate a certain amount of deeds. Some require a specific prayer to get to heaven.
Likewise, some have even attempted to remove or lessen the message of Jesus Christ, saying that we must only pay Him lip service through a rote prayer, or just warm up a seat for enough Sundays to get to heaven. There is no sincerity or life change involved. God cannot quench the thirst of a man who picks up the glass, but refuses to drink the water.
There is really only one way to make bread; also, there is also only one way to heaven. You might decide to do things your way, but it will no longer resemble bread and instead become something entirely different or inedible.
Opponents to the gospel will say that Jesus is too narrow, that we should find our own way to heaven. Unfortunately, it is this very declaration of stubbornness that prevents essential steps toward humility. It is no longer “Your will be done,” but “Mine” — you become god, and it is not the Bread of Life that saves you in your own mind, but your own recipe.
And it is this very mentality that Jesus speaks of when He once said:
“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.”
If you’re looking for heaven, and quite possibly the simplest (albeit not the “easiest”) religion, then Christ is for you. In fact, it’s for everyone: Jews, Muslims, white or black and everything in between; there is no cultural, geocentric, or ethnocentric bias — while the West has “Westernized” Christianity, the message of Jesus Christ is universal.
May you see the unadulterated, uncorrupted version of the gospel as presented by the one true God today instead of the Wonder Bread version you might be seeing around you. Because truly, there is only one kind of Bread that satisfies, and it is the sole means to eternal life.