Readings: Exodus 16, Deuteronomy 8:3, John 6:1-58
It only took two months of wandering in the desolate wilderness, hungry and thirsty, for the newly freed Israelites to turn their eyes back toward Egypt. Slavery, at least, kept them fed.
So God offered them a bread from heaven called manna, with just one stipulation: They would gather only enough for one day at a time, except on the sixth day, when they would gather enough to last through the Sabbath rest. By faithfully stepping out each day to gather His provision, each and every evening they would "know that the LORD has brought you out of the land of Egypt; and in the morning you will see the glory of the LORD" (Exodus 16:6b-7a). This bread would sustain them as a people until they entered into the fruitful Promised Land forty years later.
Thousands of years later, near a little village called Capernaum on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, the Christ claimed for Himself the title, "Bread of Life" - much to the intrigue and outrage of those who knew the wilderness story so well.
The Bread of Life - much like the manna of old, He is neither a luxury nor an option; rather, He is what we need, and need desperately, lest we die - or worse, turn back to our captivity to be filled.
He is the sustenance that God faithfully gives us, each and every day, for the long journey between our earthly liberation and our heavenly Promised Land.
He offered Himself up once in death so that He could offer Himself to us daily in life - just enough for that day's need, and just for the ones who go out in faith every morning to receive Him.
"As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also will live because of Me. This is the bread which came down out of heaven; not as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live forever."