Summary: For preaching prior to Communion/The Lord’s Supper. Link included to Formatted Text Version, Handout, and Powerpoint Template. See Also: "A Portrait of The Blood."
A Portrait of the Bread
John 6:31-35; 48-51; 58
[Israel is referring back to Exodus16: 1-21; 31]
It’s a beautiful symbol of Jesus, come down from above. Christ is the bread of life. It’s how we live. Man alive!
Where God guides, He provides. And where He leads, He feeds! He didn’t bring them this far to let them starve. He has a plan for them just as He does for us, and all we must do is follow. And whether the path lead over mountain or valley, or even thru a sea...desert, wilderness, whatever, He promises to meet the needs along the way if only we’ll follow.
But the people didn’t believe it, and again returned to their complaining. And each time they gripe the glory of God appears and works a miracle. Were they starting to take advantage of God? Did they believe that the squeaky wheel would always get the oil? The book of Numbers makes it clear that God was keeping track, and God said, “These 10 times have ye tempted me...” Be careful little tongue what you say. Nevertheless, you can’t receive unless you ask. But could they have asked more nicely?
They awoke in the morning and found manna on the ground.
If there were 2 million of them then what God provided was somewhere in the neighborhood of 240 box cars of manna every day, for 40 years!
Yea, they spake against God; they said, Can God furnish a table in the wilderness?
He can and He did! And still we ask, can God provide for this car repair, this medical expense...can God fill my tank w/ gas?! [that last one is getting more questionable!]
But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
Not all our greeds, but all our needs. Did manna get old? Perhaps in terms of variety, but it always met the need.
Ill.—like the high school cafeteria—on Monday we had tuna salad sandwiches, and on Tuesday it was tuna casserole made from the leftovers, Wednesday was ‘tuna surprise’ and Thursday was tuna and noodles...I brought my lunch a lot!
I’ve joked before that they had: baked manna, fried manna, boiled/pickled/manna on the half shell/for dessert…pineapple upside-down manna or banana manna! They could have raised money by selling the Mother Moses Cookbook of 1,001 ways to prepare manna! [If they had lived today they would have demanded gluten free manna, reduced calorie manna, enriched whole grain manna, and Subway would offer to toast their manna!]
But seriously, it could be prepared in a variety of ways. Numbers 11 says they could grind it, beat it, or bake it in pans. No doubt they came up w/ many ways to prepare it.
But it’s our nature to complain, esp. when we get in the habit of it. Like the guy who got a $10 bill in the mail and complained because he needed two fives!
They said, would to God we were in Egypt where we had onions and garlic to the full! [breath issues?] But though they remembered the food of Egypt, they forgot about the sting of the taskmasters whip!
The Manna illustrates 3 things:
1. Who Jesus is
It was small, which speaks of His humility. He came as a small baby in a manger...what an act of humility! He left heaven for this? Not even for a palace...but a stable! What was his first scene to look on? First sounds He heard? First smell?!
His humility continued throughout his adult ministry, like when He washed the disciple’s feet, or consorted w/ the poor and diseased.
And it was round, which speaks of His deity. A complete circle. It had no end. It was also white, which speaks of His purity. He was sinless!
And it was sweet. And there’s no sweeter name than Jesus!
2. How Jesus came.
The bread wasn’t brought from Egypt nor manufactured in the wilderness along the way. It came from heaven! Manna fell as a gift from heaven right where the people were…and you can come to Jesus today, and He’ll take you right where you are. Jesus said it first, ‘come as you are, and you’ll leave changed!’ / fed / full!
For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.
This manna came at night, just as Jesus did. Light came into darkness.
Ill.—There’s an unusual grave in west Texas, still there today...it has a little window where you can see all the way down to the casket 6 feet under. Sunlight makes its way each day down to it. It’s the grave of a little 10 year old boy who on his death bed said daddy, when I die, don’t leave me in the dark...promise me you won’t leave me in the dark!