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Jesus, Moses and Manna


matzah bread on a rustic table

Have you ever followed a tradition, ritual or continued a habit because you thought it was beneficial to your life? When I was younger, it was popular for people to say, “you have to wait for a minimum of  30 minutes before you  swim, after eating.” This may seem like an insignificant habit to follow, and even more insignificant belief to pass down to your children. But imagine hearing these words from Jesus’ mouth in  John 6:32 , “Jesus then said to them, I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, Moses did not give you the Bread from heaven [what Moses gave you was not the Bread from heaven], but it is My Father Who gives you the true heavenly Bread.” 


Jesus confronts a history among the Jewish people that is pivotal to their faith and identity. The children of Israel relish in the famed tale of deliverance from Egypt, wandering in the wilderness being fed manna from I AM that I AM. This very incident tells of the provision from Jehovah Jireh. It is a narrative that has been passed from generation to generation through the practice of oral tradition cultivating and embodying the roots of Judaism, Torah and cultural identity.

 

In one line, Jesus is an affront to all that is held dear: Moses and manna. Now, at face value, John seems to be sharing that what Jesus had preached or performed up to this point was not enough to compare with Moses’s manna.  Consider that just 18 verses before this, Jesus fed 5,000 plus men, women, and children by lifting up 5 loaves of bread and 2 fishes to the Father for multiplication and then they had 12 baskets left over.  Yet, here we are with these “onlookers” as Jesus referred to them, asking for another sign. He had just pointed out that they were only there because of the signs they saw with the bread. They didn’t believe enough to faith, they just wanted to see Him pull another "rabbit out of His hat." To their credit, they did believe Jesus as a prophet.


John 6:14

When the people saw the sign (miracle) that Jesus had performed, they began saying, "Surely and beyond a doubt this is the Prophet Who is to come into the world!”

 

They saw a miracle but they did not believe in Jesus as the Son of God. I want to make it clear that this is not a criticism of the children of Israel or the Jewish people. This statement is rather an indictment against my apathy and passive religious day-to-day life and activities. I can say to myself “I go to church on Sunday” or “I prayed the sinner’s prayer when I was 10.” I can also say “my family helped build 20 churches in 3rd world countries" and then question others asking, “how many churches have you built?” to justify myself and my lack of devotion, passion, and love for God.  I am challenged in my nominal Christian walk by this statement from Jesus, which I would paraphrase as “Moses didn’t give you anything, that was a religious temporary provision that will never truly satisfy. The True Bread comes from My Father, and it is found in Me.” 


There is nothing that can satisfy like Jesus. Religious tradition, rituals and empty vain repetitions cannot fulfill what Jesus alone can fill.  I had the idea of how so many want to treat Jesus like a genie in a bottle. Many only want to be near and rub up against Him to see what they can get out of Him. 


Exodus 35:13 calls the bread in the tabernacle of Moses “the bread of the [divine] Presence (showbread).” This is a description of the shewbread from a study called “The table of Showbread: Christ the Bread of Life” by David Levy. What is meant by the term “showbread”? The word comes from a Hebrew word which means “bread of the face” or “bread of presence”, because the loaves were set before the face or presence of Jehovah (who dwelt in the holy of holies) as a meal offering from the children of Israel. (Lev. 24:8) With delight, God gazed upon the pure bread offering which sat continually before His face. Bread is called the staff of life and is emblematic of life itself. The showbread is a foreshadowing of Jesus Christ who is the true Bread of Life, giving unfailing sustenance to all who partake of Him.


I am enraptured by the face of the ONE who keeps looking at me. This description of the shewbread, the bread of divine Presence delighting in looking upon these 12 loaves of bread, representing the twelves tribes of Israel only serves to remind me of how the original intent of Father’s heart was to be with us, His creation. I think of how there was going to be a moment when Jesus would reconcile a holy, righteous and loving Father back to His children never to be separated again. Only now, the blessing of multiplication was upon this Living Bread. There is a revelation in the number of remaining baskets. An apostolic (12) overflow of provision of the Bread to all walks of life. I believe there will be an abundance of the Bread broken to be distributed to all who would take and eat from Him.  The temporary manna (law) is described as a guardian until we reach the age of full inheritance according to


Galatians 3:23-27

“Now before the faith came, we were perpetually guarded under the Law, kept in custody in preparation for the faith that was destined to be revealed (unveiled, disclosed), So that the Law served {to us Jews] as our trainer [our guardian, our guide to Christ, to lead us] until Christ [came], that we might be justified (declared righteous, put in right standing with God) by and through faith. But now that the faith has come, we are no longer under a trainer (the guardian of our childhood). For in Christ Jesus, you are all sons of God through faith. For as many [of you] as were baptized into Christ [into a spiritual union and communion with Christ, the Anointed One, the Messiah] have put on (clothed yourselves with) Christ.


1 Corinthians 10:1-11

“For I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, that our forefathers were all under and protected by the cloud [in which God’s Presence went before them], and every one of them passed safely through the [Red] Sea, And each one of them [allowed himself also] to be baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea [they were thus brought under obligation to the Law, to Moses, and to the covenant, consecrated and set apart to the service of God]; And all [of them] ate the same spiritual (supernaturally given) food, And they all drank the same spiritual (supernaturally given) drink. For they drank from a spiritual Rock which followed them [produced by the sole power of God Himself without natural instrumentality], and the Rock was Christ. Nevertheless, God was not pleased with the great majority of them, for they were overthrown and strewn down along [the ground] in the wilderness. Now these things are examples (warnings and admonitions) for us not to desire or crave or covet or lust after evil and carnal things as they did. Do not be worshipers of false gods as some of them were, as it is written, the people sat down to eat and drink [the sacrifices offered to the golden calf at Horeb] and rose to sport (to dance and give way to jesting and hilarity). We must not gratify evil desire and indulge in immorality as some of them did—and twenty-three thousand [suddenly] fell dead in a single day! We should not tempt the Lord [try His patience, become a trial to Him, critically appraise Him, and exploit His goodness] as some of them did—and were killed by poisonous serpents; Nor discontentedly complain as some of them did—and were put out of the way entirely by the destroyer (death). Now these things befell them by way of a figure [as an example and warning to us]; they were written to admonish and fit us for right action by good instruction, we in whose days the ages have reached their climax (their consummation and concluding period.)


Life Application: 

Our Father, this magnificent God of covenant, friendship and love has justified us through Christ and made us holy to Himself. He wants to see our faces daily, to delight in us and overflow in our lives. His original intention is always limitless access to Him always. His divine intention is not to restrict or inhibit us from accessing this LIVING BREAD, but rather to eat from the Bread every day, as many times as we want to, so that it may overflow into the lives of others around us.  


Let's Pray: 

Father, help me to be satisfied by the Bread from Heaven. Let me eat from Him daily and not hunger after temporary things of this world to satisfy my flesh. Holy Spirit, reveal to me where I have been doubting God and seeking rules and regulations,  striving and performance to substitute intimacy with the Lord.

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