At our first campsite we saw subtle word-play, strongly implying that Messiah is “hiding” himself along The Way to Shavuot. In this lesson of the Manna, we see it again, except this time Messiah reveals himself in his own words.
Read John 6:22-59 for context.
John 6:48-51: “I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”
A common misinterpretation of Yeshua’s words, in this and several other contexts, is that He would diminish, override, or replace the types, themes, or even laws found in the pages focused on Moses. The truth is that in every single case, Messiah is adding tremendous color and depth—never replacing or overriding the original values and lessons. In this case, Messiah is underscoring his crucial role as not just Chief Healer (as at Marah) but his role as Chief Sustainer. He’s also underlining the value of the manna “1,2,3,4,5,6, Rest” pattern– as being the “Bread of Life” cannot be uncoupled from “I am Lord of the Sabbath.” It’s a common family tradition to literally break bread at the end of the 6th day we enter into each Seventh Day rest. Messiah’s words here have especially profound meaning in that context.
The religious leaders, as well as a great multitude who had JUST been fed physical miracle-bread earlier in this same Chapter of John, heard Messiah proclaim himself to be the Bread of Life. Their response was to turn away from Him, because the words were too hard.
John 6:41, “So the Jews grumbled about him, because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.”
Always with the grumbling.
Christians grumble all the time when faced with paradigm-shifting truths. In the Gospels, every effort is made to make one thing perfectly clear—Messiah came preaching the same Word as the Prophets, the Psalms, and John the Baptist. That Word is simple: return to The Way. The habit of continuing to ignore the patterns and eternal truths set forth since the beginning, choosing instead to continue on our own way, is what the lesson of Manna and the entire road to Shavuot is supposed to be correcting.
Yeshua’s words, “And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.” Luke 24:27
Yeshua’s words, “For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me.” John 5:46
Moses words, “YHWH your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers–it is to Him you shall listen…” (Deuteronomy 18:15)
Unlike our ancient Israelite forefathers, we have a distinct advantage—we have the words of Yeshua to clarify and enhance what was first laid out in the Torah of Moses. Our response to his words should prompt us to question, “How do I adjust The Way of my life to align with the life of Messiah?” More often, we let our preconceived ideas of His words override the full context of the Scriptures itself–in that error, we are no different than any generation before us. After stubbornly refusing to comply with the instructions, we then grumble about lack of provision, grumble about lack of healing, and descend into complacency and bitterness. That, my friends, is the slippery slope backwards to Marah.
When it comes to Manna, unlike our ancestors, we don’t have to ask “What is it?”
Messiah answered that for us in John chapter 6.