bread

This Sunday at church I am starting a new series that is going through the “I am” statements of Jesus.  The way that God revealed himself in the person of Jesus is so incredible.  It can’t be a contained in a single blog post or multiple for that matter.  It can’t be fully explained in a sermon or even in the volumes of work produced on it over the ages.  This week we are kicking off the series with the first statement, “I am the bread of life.”

When Moses was called to free the Israelites from Egypt, he was a bit intimidated at the task and he asked God, “who should I say sent me?”  In other words, “what is your name?” God answered, “I AM WHO I AM,” this can also be translated, “I will be who I will be,” meaning, “my nature will become evident with my actions.”  God led his people out of Israel and they grumbled.  They were upset that back in Egypt they used to enjoy sitting around pots of food eating their fill.  Now they were in the dessert far from home and hungry.  God did something to show his people that he loved them and he cared for them.  They woke up one day and a substance like frost was on the ground.  Moses had them collect it and make a kind of food out of it.  They ended up calling this substance manna, (probably from an Egyptian word meaning food).

Moses was later remembering the true meaning of manna. It wasn’t just food but it was a tool to teach God’s people that they do not live on bread alone, but every word that comes from the mouth of God.  So manna was something that was a lot bigger than just food, it actually pointed to God in a powerful way, it fed them.  Moses was a great prophet, he even told his people that God would raise up another prophet and God even said that he will “put his words in his mouth.”  Because of this people were expecting a new Moses, and even a greater Moses.  The Jews were actually looking for this person to come and they expected a lot.  Some Rabbi’s even said that just as Moses rode out of Egypt on a donkey so the Messiah will ride on a donkey into his kingdom. The rabbinical expectation was that the messiah would bring new manna from heaven.

So this takes us to a point when over 5,000 people were following around a man named Jesus who seemed to be some kind of prophet.  All of these people were on the far shore of the Sea of Galilee.  Jesus asked his disciples how they would provide for the people.  The only thing that they could come up with was buying food but this miracle worker had something else in mind.  He would stretch out five loaves of barley and two fish to feed everyone.  I probably eat more than five loaves of bread every time I go to the Olive Garden.  Everyone was provided for and ate their fill.  Then Jesus made this ridiculous statement, “I am the bread of life.” He said that if you go to him then you would never go thirsty or hungry. Later on Jesus says that his “bread” are actually words and his words are, “spirit and life.” Peter remarked that Jesus has the words of eternal life.

In the feeding of these 5,000 souls we see the nature of God as one who speaks over his people and feeds them.  He is the kind of God that provides and gives life, but fullness of that life is contained in the words he speaks.  Jesus is the bread of life, give us today our daily bread.

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