Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Manna From Above

John 6:31-35
31 Our forefathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’” 32 Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” 34 “Sir,” they said, “from now on give us this bread.” 35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.

Jesus was teaching more and more about who he was, and giving additional instructions for those who would follow him. His teaching reached back to the ancestors of his hearers, reminding them how God had cared for them in the wilderness, as they journeyed toward the promised land. Their food, known as manna, was from God, not Moses.  Back in the Old Testament, Exodus 16 tells us during their wandering years, after the morning dew had dried, there were flakes on the ground, looking like frost. The children of Israel had trouble recognizing what it was or where it came from. They asked "What is it?" Moses told them it was bread the Lord had provided for them to eat. 

Now Jesus tells his hearers, "It is my Father who gives you the true bread of heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world." Needless to say, when Jesus continued and told them, "I am the bread of life," that teaching did not set well with the Jews. After all, Jesus was just Joseph's son, and they knew his mother and father, so how can he say now that he came down from heaven?  That news just did not satisfy the curiosity of the Jews.

But get this....the manna received by the children of Israel didn't satisfy them, either. They remembered the meat and vegetables they had tasted before and the manna became boring to them. Their grumbling and complaining led them to learn a great lesson. Remember their wandering lasted some 40 years, while they were bound for the land of Canaan. Their need was for them to continue the journey and they would realize the real blessings of God's promised land.

Look at this verse from Joshua 5, "11 The day after the Passover, that very day, they ate some of the produce of the land: unleavened bread and roasted grain. 12 The manna stopped the day after they ate this food from the land; there was no longer any manna for the Israelites, but that year they ate of the produce of Canaan."

Have you ever reached a time of boredom with Christianity, or the church? Here is the lesson of Jesus' teaching. When God delivers us from our sin, he also delivers us into real life in Christ; a life that satisfies.  Paul says in Colossians 1, "13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins."  We can  celebrate deliverance from the dominion of darkness, but we find Christianity that satisfies when we are brought into the kingdom of Jesus.


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