8 March 2017
John 6:27–35, 48–51
Catechism: What is the Sacrament of the Altar?
“Bread from Heaven”
The Israelites were overcome. With pure joy! The Lord had delivered them! Pharaoh and his army were no more! Miriam sang, “Sing to the LORD, for He has triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider He has thrown into the sea!”
Then the celebration turned into panic! Where will our next meal come from? Instead of trusting in God to provide. They began to grumble. Against Moses and Aaron. “Would that we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the meat pots and ate bread to the full, for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger” (Exodus 16:3).
They were in a wilderness. Without food. Without water. And for a while. They thought that they had it better. Back in Egypt. As slaves!
But the Lord was merciful. Slow to anger. And abounding in love. He promised to rain down bread from heaven. So they could eat and be satisfied. The Lord heard their grumbling. Though they deserved to die. He responded with love. “At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall be filled with bread. Then you shall know that I am the LORD your God” (16:12).
God was faithful to His promise. Bread fell from heaven. God provided for their physical hunger. He fed His newborn children. So that they would not go hungry in the wilderness and die. They would not die. God provided for Israel. Throughout the years of their pilgrimage. (40 years)
Just as the Father provided for His people then. He continues to provide for you. He sent forth Jesus. Our dear redeemer. Jesus reminds us in the Gospel of John, “I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This bread 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.” (John 6:48–51).
Christ is the new and greater manna. For He comes not merely to satisfy your physical hunger. He comes to satisfy those who, “hunger and thirst for righteousness” (Matthew 5:6). For it is He alone that can satisfy the hunger of your souls. Whoever eats of this bread—Jesus Christ—will live forever. For His flesh. And His blood. Nourish and strengthen the soul. Unto eternal life.
“Sir, give us this bread always.” Begged the disciples (John 6:34). And so He does. Every time you are gathered. Around His gifts of Word and Supper. Christ feeds you with heavenly manna. Just as He fed the Israelites in the wilderness. He feeds you with holy food.
Just as you sing in the Communion hymn: “Lord Jesus Christ, life-giving bread, May I in grace possess You. Let me with holy food be fed, In hunger I address You” (LSB 625:1).
Manna from heaven. Life-giving bread. —Given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins. That is your spiritual sustenance. As you wander through the wilderness of this world. That is the Lord’s salutary gift to you.—A gift that is undeserved. To be sure. A gift! That comes from your loving and faithful Lord. Amen.
Passive Sentences – 1%
Reading Level – 3.3