The Essential Jesus Day 12
Previews of a Savior: True Bread
PRAY: Gracious Lord, I lift up to you all me brothers and sisters who are reading the Bible with me. Clear away obstacles in their life and give them moments of peace and quiet that they may dwell in your Word, feel your presence and hear your voice. Amen
READ: Exodus 16:1-35
REFLECT: Grumble, grumble, grumble. The Israelites sure were good at it! Of course, truth be told, we are pretty good at it, too. But as they think back on their time in Egypt they seem to be wearing rose colored glasses! They were slaves for crying out loud! They remember sitting around in Egypt eating all the food they wanted, including meat! Somehow I doubt it. Not to mention they worked seven days a week. Who had time to sit around? Maybe in their dreams….
That doesn’t mean life was easy after they left Egypt. They are walking many miles through barren, rocky desert of Sinai. It was probably hot. They were tired. Food and water were scarce. But after all the miracles they had witnessed, couldn’t they have praised God and then asked him politely for food and water? Nope. No gratitude. No praise. They just grumbled. Interestingly they complain to Moses—not to God!
Miraculously, God responds to their grumbling. Even in the midst of their sinfulness, God seeks to provide for the needs of his people. The glory of the Lord appears in a cloud (Ex 16:7). Then, he promises to rains down bread upon them. Obviously this is a way to feed them. But it is also a way to test them—to see whether they can be obedient and follow God’s instructions (Ex 16:4). He gives them Manna. Bread from heaven!
Again we have a preview of the Savior. In the New Testament, after Jesus is baptized he goes into the desert. After 40 days of fasting, he is hungry. Satan tempts Jesus to turn stones into bread. Jesus responds, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God’” (Mat 4:4). And if we recall our reading on Day 1 from John 1:1-18, Jesus himself is the Word! He was with God from the beginning and the word was God.
And again in the Gospel of John, after Jesus feeds 5,000 men with 5 loaves of bread and two fish, the crowd follows him and wants to make him king. Why? Because he gave them food! Then in John 6:25-59, the people demand that Jesus give them a sign saying, “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.’” They refuse to believe in Jesus unless they give him a sign—as if all the other miraculous signs don’t matter! Are they blind, foolish, arrogant or what? Jesus tells them, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” They then grumble—just like their ancestors! Who does he think he is? He’s just the son of a carpenter.
God provided them with bread for their physical needs when they were traveling through the desert. They ate bread but they eventually died. God also provides bread for their spiritual needs. Whoever eats this bread will live forever! Jesus says, “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” Whoever believes in him has everlasting life (John 6:47)!
APPLY: What do you grumble about? Do you take your requests to God in thankfulness, praise and prayer? What can you thank God for? What can you praise God for? What does it mean to you that Jesus is the Bread of Life? How does this change your understanding of the Lord’s Supper? What happens when you partake of the bread and wine, his body and blood?
PRAY: Jesus, you are the bread of life! I believe! I trust your promise. Thank you for the gift of eternal life. Forgive me for my grumbling and help me to live in you as you live in me. Amen.