Summary: My intention in the sermon is to present one of the Great "I AMs" as Jesus used them in relation to Himself.
Note: I am deeply indebted to Mr. Herbert Lockyer in his Book “All the Messianic Prophecies of the Bible for much of the material in my sermon. Jack D. Harris
PROPHETIC PORTRAYALS OF CHRIST
Int. Manna was a gift from Heaven, designed to sustain the people of Israel physically, to discipline them mentally and to enrich them spiritually. While it resembled certain things with which the people were familiar, at the same time, it was unlike anything they had seen before.
One of the most amazing things about it was, while it possessed the capacity to satisfy fully yet, the duration of its shelf-life was quite fragile. Each person would have all that he needed, but it was impossible for him to retain more than was necessary. The fact that it was given without anyone on earth having to do anything to make it available is without question, one of the most impressive examples of the Grace of God.
The manna fell for the first time while the Israelites were in the desert of Sin, six weeks after their departure from Egypt. They had been murmuring about the things of which they were deprived in the desert, so in response, God initiated the provision of the manna. “Then the Lord said to Moses, “I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way, I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions. On the sixth day they are to prepare what they bring in, and that is to be twice as much as they gather on the other days.” (Exodus 16:4-5)
When the dew fell during the night, the manna came and as the dew dried up, the manna appeared. “When the dew was gone, thin flakes like frost on the ground appeared on the desert floor. When the Israelites saw it, they said to each other, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was. Moses said to them, it is the bread the Lord has given you to eat.” (Exodus 16:14-15) It was to be gathered quickly before the heat of the sun melted it. The quantity to be gathered was limited to one omer per person, a little less than three quarts. Any amount gathered more than that per person would putrefy and breed worms, except the portion which was reserved for the Sabbath. Though it was probably eatable in the natural state, it was usually ground in a mill or beaten in a mortar and then boiled and made into cakes.
There are many similarities between the wilderness manna and the Lord Jesus Christ.
I. THE MYSTERY THAT IS EVIDENT IN THE MANNA.
Along with the giving of the Manna, the first mention is made in the Scriptures of the display of the Glory of God. “Then Moses told Aaron, “Say to the entire Israelite community, ‘Come before the Lord, for He has heard your grumbling. While Aaron was speaking to the whole Israelite community, they looked toward the desert, and there was the Glory of the Lord appearing in the cloud.”
A. The Miracle Involved in its Provision.
This fact is clearly evident in the dialogue between the Jews of Jesus’ day and the Lord Himself. “So they asked Him, ‘What miraculous sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? Our fathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written: “He gave them bread from Heaven to eat.” Jesus said to them, I tell you the truth, ‘it was not Moses who has given you the bread from Heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the True Bread from Heaven. For the Bread of God is He who comes down from Heaven and gives life to the world .’”
By no means could man have ever accomplished the phenomenal task of providing such help!
B. The Secret Concealed in its Substance.
The words of the original man hu may either be translated “what is it?” or “This is a gift.” The Hebrew word for ‘to give’ is manan. The Israelites could not explain what they were seeing until Moses informed them of what it was. In contrast to the fleshpots of Egypt, this mysterious bread was what David called “angels’ food,” or “the bread of the Mighty.” In Deuteronomy 8:2-3, Moses said, “Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep His commands. He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of our Lord.” Such language implies that the ingredients were God’s secret.