Imagine the entire state of Arkansas being fed by bread falling from heaven and appearing in our front yards every morning for 40 years. All we must do is go outside and gather the bread. This event actually happened over 3,000 years ago to a nation of people with about the same population as Arkansas (Exodus 16). Israel, after 430 years of slavery in Egypt, has been released and crossed the Red Sea in miraculous fashion. The initial two weeks of provisions are now gone in this barren desert and the reality of total daily dependency on the Unseen Hand is now required. About 1.2 million gallons of manna will fall every day (except on Sabbath) and feed 2.4 million people every day for 40 years. Moses explained why this happened at the end of the longest camping trip in history when he said to the nation of Israel, “God humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna….to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.” Deut 8.3
Jesus faced a crowd of 5,000 men (Possibly over 10,000 people) in John 6 on a hillside overlooking Galilee. These people of Israel had homes and food to eat but Jesus recognized the need for a meal that day as they left their homes to hear him speak. He asks Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” Philip answers that 8 months wages would not be sufficient to buy one bite for each person. Finding a boy with 5 small barley loaves and 2 fish, Jesus has this giant crowd sit down on the grass and commences to feed all of them a buffet of bread and fish without limit. So much bread was served that twelve baskets were filled with the leftover bread when the meal was over.
Jesus, later in John 6, declares a Parable: “I am the bread of heaven”, “I am the bread that came down from heaven”, “I am the bread of life”, “I am the living bread that came down from heaven”, “Your forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this bread will live forever”. Jesus Christ is the Living Manna and eternal life is always found when feeding on the manna from heaven. Christ’s words are Spirit and they are life. Psalms 78.23-25 records: “Yet he (God) gave a command to the skies above and opened the doors of the heavens; he (God) rained down manna for the people to eat, he gave them the grain of heaven. Men ate the bread of angels; he sent them all the food they could eat.” The thirst of man is satisfied as testified by the woman at the well in Samaria and the hunger of man is satisfied as promised by Jesus in the synagogue of Capernaum. “Just as the living Father sent me (Jesus) and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this bread (Living Manna) will live forever.” The Ancient Words have been very clear: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled!” May we feed daily on the Living Manna and may we pray for our upcoming national election that the representatives of the people be those who feed on the Living Manna as well!!
(Scott and Jane Johnson minister with ast Faulkner Church of Christ and BRG Bible. Bible questions can be sent to [email protected])