When we read about the Israelites—how they experienced the parting of the Red Sea, their safe passage to the other side, witnessing their enemies being destroyed, and only three days later murmuring against Moses, “What shall we drink?”—we wonder what kind of people these were. It seems that at every turn God was proving them (Exodus 15:25); revealing the nature of a people who did not know Him; proving to us how He reveals Himself to His people.
“Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no.” (Exodus 16:4) They were promised “in the morning bread to the full;” in the morning ye shall be filled with bread, and ye shall know that I am the LORD your God.” (16:8, 12) “And when the children of Israel saw it, they said one to another, It is manna: (What is it?) for they wist not what it was. And Moses said unto them, This is the bread which the LORD hath given you to eat.” (Exodus 16:15)
They had never seen this food before. This was something new. They did not recognize the provisions from the Father in heaven, which He had created especially for them.
“The Jews then murmured at him, because he said,
I am the bread which came down from heaven.”
The religious leaders of Jesus’ day must have been asking the same question, “What is it?”—about this man who was doing the miracles, who knew the Scriptures, who had an answer for all their questions, whom the crowds were following, who claimed to be the same as God. They did not recognize Christ as the promised Messiah. He was not what they had ever seen or expected. When Jesus spoke of Himself as bread that must be received, and eaten, His disciples murmured at it.
“It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing; the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. But there are some of you that believe not.” John 6:63-64
They did not recognize Him, nor understand the spiritual terms with which He spoke. I pray that we, instead of murmuring against Him, ask ourselves the question, “What is it about Jesus Christ, that over the last two thousand years, has brought millions of people to believe that He is the Messiah promised to God’s people from the time of the fall (Genesis 3:15) and throughout the Old Testament.
What is it that changed a motley crew of apostles with “little faith” while Jesus was with them, into a band of leaders and martyrs for Christianity after His death, resurrection and ascension.
What is it that still draws us to Him and keeps us with our knees bowed, and our hearts open for Him as our Lord and Savior, our praise and adoration centered in Him alone, our mouths confessing our sins through Him alone in whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace. (Ephesians 1:7)
What is it that draws us to Him with every need for ourselves and for others? It is LIFE. It is the promise of LIFE and the fulfillment of LIFE that keeps us in Him. We are kept by Him, as He continually provides LIFE to our spirit, soul, and body, proving who HE IS through us.
What is it that fills us with peace and joy? —it is trusting the Father who has revealed His Son to us, who promises to be our God, who knows, and provides for every need; it is knowing Jesus who has the words of eternal life (John 6:68); it is walking in the Spirit, by faith and not by sight—for His glory and for our joy.
What is it about Jesus Christ? Jesus Christ is our LIFE, now and forever.
“For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven,
and giveth life unto the world.”
(I did not want to end here, but we already have the book of LIFE, His Holy Bible.)