Who Wants Seconds on Bread?
Food is one of the strongest desires we have.
"Is that really what you're preaching about today, Pastor?"
People will do almost anything for food if they get hungry enough. Rob, steal, kill, rent out their bodies, etc. Looting is rampant in America when supplies run low in natural disasters. Grocery shelves are bare in a matter of minutes when there's a run on supplies, and our reserves are so low that we are only days from running out completely under some circumstances. It's not a bad idea to have a reserve of your own non-perishables, and many are growing gardens!
Mankind has a built in spiritual hunger as well.
ill.--Let's see - I'm hungry and I see in front of me a cheeseburger, dripping with the good stuff, and also my Bible. Which will I reach for? How about both!
But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
[physical/spiritual food both in this verse]
O taste and see that the LORD is good:
John 6 is all about bread...from the loaves and fishes to our text today where He offers Himself as the very bread of life. He begins by meeting the needs of the physically hungry and ends with meeting the needs of the spiritually hungry.
The bread of life is partaking of Christ. Only that can satisfy the spiritual hunger of the soul. Things don't satisfy, nor pleasure, money, or anything else. The deep seated longing in your soul can be fulfilled...ONLY by Jesus, the bread of life!
As important as it is to meet the physical needs of our bodies...it is much more important to meet the eternal, spiritual needs of the soul.
And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
v. 26 "You are coming back for seconds!" "You follow me because I filled your belly." [you are living in the physical, and need to seek the spiritual]
Our world today lives entirely on a physical plane, as if that's all there is in life. We've become two-dimensional beings with just a body and a soul [outer person and inner person], instead of the three-dimensional beings made in God's image which are complete when our Spirit is awakened and brought to life.
"Filled" in v. 26 is a word picture of an animal gorging itself. It has the base instinct of meeting its physical need anytime it can. Jesus is saying, "Don't live at the same level as an animal...you are my only creation made in my image."
ill.--sex in marriage is a beautiful gift that is FAR more than just a physical act. [this is where you shift in your seat, uncomfortably!] But mankind has reduced it to the level of animals. Who cares about the other person's feelings, emotional wellbeing, STD status, or even if they love me, or can blink or look back at me [pornography] ... it's just an animal urge, and man will sow his seed where he may. No wonder women are regarded as 'pets' or 'bunnies'...evolution says we're just more evolved animals and we should satisfy our instincts.
Take the spiritual aspect out of sex and you reduce it to the level of the barnyard.
Jesus says, you don't want a Lord, just more loaves. You should reach beyond the physical to the spiritual needs of your heart.
And WE are guilty of the same when we make the gospel so 'need centered' or 'man centered.'
We say, "Do you want a happier life? Your marriage fixed? Health and wealth? Come to Jesus!" It is need centered evangelism. Certainly Jesus can and does do all the above, but our motive for coming to Jesus is because we are sinners in need of a Savior, and not for what He can do for us...but rather for what He has ALREADY DONE for us!
Whether God fixes your temporary situation or not you should come to Him because of your eternal situation!
v. 27 You eat and in a few hours you are hungry again. But not so when you partake of Christ...it continues to satisfy permanently.
vv. 31-35 This is a reference to the OT manna in the wilderness. For much of 40 years God supplied these little white wafers which gave them everything they needed to be nutritionally and physically satisfied.
ill.--2 to 3 million Jews gathered an omer a day, and someone with too much time on their hands estimated that it would take 240 box cars to feed them every single day. But it was a small thing for God. He can certainly meet your daily needs!
"Can God furnish a table in the wilderness?" the psalmist asked. The answer: He can and He did!
That manna was a picture or foreshadowing of Jesus Christ.
14 And when the dew that lay was gone up, behold, upon the face of the wilderness there lay a small round thing, as small as the hoar frost on the ground.
15 And when the children of Israel saw it, they said one to another, It is manna: for they wist not what it was. And Moses said unto them, This is the bread which the LORD hath given you to eat.
16 This is the thing which the LORD hath commanded, Gather of it every man according to his eating, an omer for every man, according to the number of your persons; take ye every man for them which are in his tents.
17 And the children of Israel did so, and gathered, some more, some less.
18 And when they did mete it with an omer, he that gathered much had nothing over, and he that gathered little had no lack; they gathered every man according to his eating.
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 the disciples were arguing. What was that about again? Who would get to change diapers in the nursery, or cook that meal, or do the dirty work on work day? Oh no, they were arguing about which of them would be the greatest. Jesus' response? He washed the disciple’s feet. And He then consorted w/ the poor and diseased. Humility is being small, even if you are not small.
And it was round, which speaks of His deity. A complete circle. It had no end. He's not the great I Was, or the great I will one day be...but the Great I AM!
It was also white, which speaks of His purity. He was sinless! And it was sweet. And there’s no sweeter name than Jesus!
The manna tells us who Jesus is...
2. How Jesus came.
This bread was a gift from heaven. It 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!
If you want Jesus, He wants you. He said, "Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out."
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.
Lost people are spiritually blind...the gospel is hid from them, until the light comes on...until the Light comes in!
The manna came on the dew. [Num. 11:9] It came first thing in the morning, 6 days a week, not on the Sabbath. It was daily bread, not weekly bread. Some people come to church and say, gas me up preacher, I’ve got a big week ahead. May I say kindly, gas yourself up, daily. On Monday, get w/ God and get what you need...Tuesday...etc.
The manna came to a rebellious people. After being delivered from slavery and passing thru the Red Sea. Oh, the audacity. God could have rained down fire and brimstone but instead He said, I’ll rain down manna upon them.
They longed for the leeks, onions, and garlic of Egypt. If an apple a day keeps the Dr. away, I think leeks, onions and garlic will keep everyone away. They forgot about the whips on their backs. What an insult to God. How does He respond?
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
God didn’t send a Savior because we WANTED one, but because He knew we NEEDED one!
Who He was, How He came...
3. What we must do in response.
We must feel the hunger pangs. Do you know for sure now that there's more to life than existing and trying to get along physically? The prodigal son said "I perish with hunger...even the servants in the Father's house have bread enough and to spare!"
“I’ve had the worst day!”
The worst day you can have as a Christian is better than the best day you can have in the world.
We must be willing to stoop down and pick it up in humility. The sinner must bow their heart, swallow the pride, and admit their sin and accept the Savior. The manna didn’t fall onto a table, nor did it grow on trees for them to climb. Many people won’t get saved because they refuse to stoop and humble themselves before God. Others miss salvation by believing it’s something to climb up for.
Eat! Are we spiritually hungry? Will we avail ourselves of the feast set before us? Each had to take for themselves. They couldn’t be satisfied by watching another partake, and no one else could gather for them. Each had to reach for their own!
They had to receive it early. For when the sun came out it melted.
Ill.—Isaiah said, Seek ye the Lord while He may be found. There is a coming day of judgment, and it’s coming soon. This is also a good example of having morning devotions!
"I'll get saved when I'm good and ready." Famous last words. Every time you say no or delay your heart hardens a little bit. You should get saved when GOD is good and ready!
Manna is a great example of God’s Word. How do Christians grow spiritually? By reading and meditating and studying God’s Word...and on a daily basis. It cannot be horded ahead of time. It needs to be fresh and new every day, every morning.
Too many Christians are still hungering for the carnal diet of this world. Let’s ask God to make us hungry for spiritual manna. Not just spoon fed by the pastor or a s.s. teacher, but digging in for yourself!
Every day the children of Israel had 2 choices when they woke up. They could gather their manna and eat it, or if not, they had to walk upon it, or walk around it.
Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God....
We trod Him under foot when we live a life of sin, willfully.
Please pass the bread! It's spiritual, not just physical. Those in our text wanted seconds on the physical bread. But why settle for less...we can have thirds and fourths...eternal, ever-satisfying, forever bread - Jesus Christ!
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