Summary: Do we really want to sustain our life -- filled with contentment and joy -- not just for forty, or eighty, or longer years, but even for for eternity?
“So they asked him, ‘What miraculous sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? Our forefathers 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 is 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.’ ‘Sir,’ they said, ‘from now on give us this bread’” (John 6:30-34, NIV).
The Jews asked Jesus for a sign that they may believe in him. They implied that in the case of Moses, he gave a sign when their ancestors were able to eat the manna – the bread from heaven in the wilderness.
But Jesus replied, “…it is NOT Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father…” And He continued on to say that the Father was already giving “the TRUE bread from heaven.”
Notice that this true bread is called “the bread of God.” It is different from the physical “manna,” for now it is “HE who comes down from heaven…” Then the favor – “life” – that is being given is not just an ordinary kind of life (which we’ll understand better as we go on). And that “life” is given NOT only to the Jews, but also to the non-Jews – “to the whole world.”
Jesus Christ is the “true bread” – the bread of God – He who comes down from heaven.
He said, “I am the bread of life” “I am the bread that came down from heaven." “I am the bread of life.” “…here is the bread that comes down from heaven…I am the living bread that came down from heaven… This bread is my flesh…” (John 6:35, 41, 48, 50-51, NIV.)
While the manna sustained only the temporary physical life of the Israelites, the True Bread sustains the life of the Christians for all eternity.
He said, “And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day" (John 6:39-40, NIV).
He added: “Your forefathers ate the manna in the desert, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever… This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this bread will live forever " (verses 49-51, 58, NIV).
The manna did not give the Israelites complete satisfaction. One of their complains was: “If only we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost -- also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic. But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!" (Num. 11:4-6, NIV.)
They were not contented with the manna. They told Moses, “Give us meat to eat!” (verse 13, NIV.)
But the True Bread will truly satisfy us. Jesus said, “He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty” (John 6:35, NIV).