The cultivation of a grass called wheat (Triticum aestivum) reaches far back into history. That grass became one of the first domesticated food crops and has been a primary staple food for people ever since. Today, wheat is grown on more land area than any other commercial crop and continues to be an essential food grain source for people. As a result, world trade in wheat is higher than for all other crops combined.
Although small, a wheat kernel has three main parts that enable it to feed the world. The source of white flour comes from the endosperm, which makes up about 83% of the kernel. Bran is the outer coat of the kernel, making up about 14%, and provides an excellent source of fiber. The smallest part of the kernel is the germ. It makes up only about 2.5% of the kernel and stores the embryo. People who mill flour separate the germ from other parts of the wheat kernel because it contains fat that limits flour’s shelf-life.
The endosperm of the wheat kernel contains a protein called gluten. It allows bread dough to rise by trapping minute bubbles of carbon dioxide when fermentation occurs in the leavened dough. Unfortunately, a small segment of the world’s population has to avoid eating gluten because of gluten sensitivity or a more serious autoimmune disorder known as coeliac disease. However, wheat is the most nourishing of the cereal grains, containing vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, and fats to make a highly nutritious combination.
The grass called wheat is mentioned many times in the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation. Jesus referred to wheat in His parables and used it to illustrate principles in other ways. For example, people use wheat to make bread, and Jesus referred to himself as the Bread of Life. For thousands of years, wheat has been a vital part of the human diet, and the need for it only becomes greater as the population grows. Likewise, people worldwide need Jesus, the Bread of Life, who can teach us how to live in peace, give us meaning and purpose in life, and bring us into a relationship with God.
— Roland Earnst © 2023