You don’t know what manna is? That’s cool - the Israelites didn’t either. In fact, the word manna literally means “what is it?” In order for you to understand what manna means for you, you’ll need to look through the lenses of the New Testament.
John 6 : 5 7 Jesus makes the bold statement “whoever feeds on me will live because of me” ..... Ok it’s not only a bold statement, but also kind of creepy. Why we would feed on you Jesus? You make us sound like parasites.
Hold up a moment and go back 26 verses. There’s context to this statement. The crowds get all up in Jesus’ grill:
/// John 6:31-35 ///
“Moses fed our ancestors with bread in the desert. It says so in the Scriptures: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat. Jesus responded, “The real significance of that Scripture is not that Moses gave you bread from heaven but that my Father is right now offering you bread from heaven, the real bread. The Bread of God came down out of heaven and is giving life to the world.”
So obviously they get super excited, like “OMG gimme this bread!” (mild paraphrasing.) To which Jesus drops one of the most radical statements he’s going to make in the whole gospel: “I AM the bread of life.” Ok, it might not seem that radical to you. But let’s now rewind back a few hundred years (over 1000 actually) to the Israelites and manna they were talking about.
Everyone knows their story right? God SAVES them from slavery in Egypt and LEADS them toward the Promised Land, via the desert. However, they don’t have any food, so they’re all like “God, thanks for saving us but we’re STARVING! And if you don’t give us something to eat we’re going to run out of energy. We’re going to get discouraged. And you know what? We’re going turn this camp right around and head back to Egypt because at least they have garlic.” (So I'm pretty sure this is the first recording of someone being hangry. Hungry + Angry. We've all been there.)
To alleviate their hangriness, God literally rains down bread from heaven and calls it “manna”. He sends it every day for 40 years, and it doesn't run out until they get to the Promised Land.
/// Exodus 16:4 ///
“God said to Moses, “I’m going to rain bread down from the skies for you. The people will go out and gather each day’s ration”
So in John 6, Jesus picks up this whole situation and paints a brilliant picture of our lives. We get SAVED from the slavery of sin, and LEAD toward our Promised Land (Heaven - yay.) But there’s this big, fat space called Life in between. And while we’re on that journey we’re going to need something that keeps us from running out of steam, getting discouraged, and basically giving up on our faith altogether.
FYI: The something you need is Jesus.
Jesus is the new manna. Just as the manna was the supernatural provision that sustained and strengthened the Israelites through the desert, Jesus is the better bread from heaven, and His Word is going to sustain us, nourish us, strengthen us and make us grow on this journey called life. (For more on this, you should totally read STOP STARVING YOUR SOUL )
/// John 1 : 1 ///
"In the beginning was the word, and the was with God and the Word was God.”
HE IS the miraculous, daily provision from the Father sent straight from Heaven. Just as we die without feeding our bodies food, our spirits die without Christ. So we can look at the way God instructed the Israelites to get their bread as a way of going about our own devotional lives in His Word. While they fed on the manna...
We feed on Jesus by feeding on His Word
Don’t eat the paper - that would be next level vegan - it’s about consuming his words. Devouring them. Chewing on them. Ingesting them into your spirit. Why the word? Because Jesus is the Word of God.
/// John 1 : 1 4 ///
"So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness."
Just as the manna was something physical that the Israelites could hold in their hands and gain strength from by consuming it, so is that bible on your bedside table or shoved on the bookcase.
It’s not the leather-bound book that gives you life and strength - it’s the words on that paper.
The bible is the heart and thoughts of God wrapped up in written form. From Genesis to Revelation, it's the written revelation of Christ. The Old Testament points toward Jesus, and the New testament points back to him. Hold it in your hands, and gain life from the only Words that will never pass away.
Matt 24 : 35 “Sky and earth will wear out; my words won’t wear out.”
Feed your soul with the Word of God, and you'll truly come alive. Whoever feeds on Him, lives because of Him.
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