“Lord, always give us this bread.”
John 6:22-42 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
The next day the crowd that stood on the other side of the sea saw that there was no other small boat there, except one, and that Jesus had not entered with His disciples into the boat, but that His disciples had gone away alone. 23 There came other small boats from Tiberias near to the place where they ate the bread after the Lord had given thanks. 24 So when the crowd saw that Jesus was not there, nor His disciples, they themselves got into the small boats, and came to Capernaum seeking Jesus. 25 When they found Him on the other side of the sea, they said to Him, “Rabbi, when did You get here?”
26 Jesus answered them and said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. 27 Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal.” 28 Therefore they said to Him, “What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?” 29 Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.” 30 So they said to Him, “What then do You do for a sign, so that we may see, and believe You? What work do You perform? 31 Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread out of heaven to eat.’” 32 Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread out of heaven, but it is My Father who gives you the true bread out of heaven. 33 For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world.” 34 Then they said to Him, “Lord, always give us this bread.”
35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst. 36 But I said to you that you have seen Me, and yet do not believe. 37 All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. 39 This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. 40 For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.”
41 Therefore the Jews were grumbling about Him, because He said, “I am the bread that came down out of heaven.” 42 They were saying, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does He now say, ‘I have come down out of heaven’?”
In today’s text it says: Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread out of heaven to eat.’” Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread out of heaven, but it is My Father who gives you the true bread out of heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world.” Then they said to Him, “Lord, always give us this bread.” Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.” In the prayer that Jesus taught us to pray it says: “Give us this day our daily bread.” Jesus compares Himself to the manna which the Israelites ate while they were in the wilderness. Praying for our daily bread is not then about satisfying our natural hunger. It is about satisfying our spiritual hunger. In Matthew 5:6 Jesus says: "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” It is important though that Jesus compares Himself to manna, the bread from heaven. We can learn about how we should approach our need for Jesus, our daily bread, by understanding and knowing about the bread that the Israelites ate in the wilderness.
In Exodus 16:4-28 we see the instructions about manna and the experience of the Israelites regarding it. Then the Lord said to Moses, “Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day, that I may test them, whether or not they will walk in My instruction. On the sixth day, when they prepare what they bring in, it will be twice as much as they gather daily.” So Moses and Aaron said to all the sons of Israel, “At evening you will 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, for He hears your grumblings against the Lord; and what are we, that you grumble against us?” Moses said, “This will happen when the Lord gives you meat to eat in the evening, and bread to the full in the morning; for the Lord hears your grumblings which you grumble against Him. And what are we? Your grumblings are not against us but against the Lord.” Then Moses said to Aaron, “Say to all the congregation of the sons of Israel, ‘Come near before the Lord, for He has heard your grumblings.’” It came about as Aaron spoke to the whole congregation of the sons of Israel, that they looked toward the wilderness, and behold, the glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud. And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 12 “I have heard the grumblings of the sons of Israel; speak to them, saying, ‘At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall be filled with bread; and you shall know that I am the Lord your God.’” So it came about at evening that the quails came up and covered the camp, and in the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp. When the layer of dew evaporated, behold, on the surface of the wilderness there was a fine flake-like thing, fine as the frost on the ground. When the sons of Israel saw it, they said to one another, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was. And Moses said to them, “It is the bread which the Lord has given you to eat. This is what the Lord has commanded, ‘Gather of it every man as much as he should eat; you shall take an omer apiece according to the number of persons each of you has in his tent.’” The sons of Israel did so, and some gathered much and some little. When they measured it with an omer, he who had gathered much had no excess, and he who had gathered little had no lack; every man gathered as much as he should eat. Moses said to them, “Let no man leave any of it until morning.” But they did not listen to Moses, and some left part of it until morning, and it bred worms and became foul; and Moses was angry with them. They gathered it morning by morning, every man as much as he should eat; but when the sun grew hot, it would melt. Now on the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two omers for each one. When all the leaders of the congregation came and told Moses, then he said to them, “This is what the Lord meant: Tomorrow is a sabbath observance, a holy sabbath to the Lord. Bake what you will bake and boil what you will boil, and all that is left over put aside to be kept until morning.” So they put it aside until morning, as Moses had ordered, and it did not become foul nor was there any worm in it. Moses said, “Eat it today, for today is a sabbath to the Lord; today you will not find it in the field. Six days you shall gather it, but on the seventh day, the sabbath, there will be none.” It came about on the seventh day that some of the people went out to gather, but they found none. Then the Lord said to Moses, “How long do you refuse to keep My commandments and My instructions?
There are at least three important lessons or applications we can learn regarding manna and Jesus. First is that like the manna which God provided for the Israelites, Jesus spiritual provision for us must be sought daily. What was given yesterday will not be enough for today’s needs. Lamentation 3:22-23 says: The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. The Lord’s mercy, His compassion and His spiritual provision for us is new every morning. So too are the challenges and the difficulties we will face. In Matthew 6:34 Jesus says: “Each day has enough trouble of its own.” His answer comes in the preceding verse: “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness.” God’s faithfulness is indeed great. He will not fail us. If we though, fail to seek Him each day, we won’t have what we need; our provision for that day.
That brings us to the second truth. It is not enough just that we seek Jesus daily. We need to seek Him first. We need to seek Him early. If the Israelites waited too long, if they put off seeking the provision from God, it would no longer be available. It would melt away once the sun came up. If we wait too long, if we begin our day, going about the things we need to do once the sun is up. It will be too late to receive the provision we need, when we are faced with the circumstance of our need. Fortunately for us, the Lord is faithful and will hear our cries and our prayers, answering them in our time of need. Like when Peter walked on water and the Lord rescued him in Matthew 14:29-31: Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” Jesus will reach out and rescue us if our faith fails. But, He is faithful and His mercy, His compassion and His provision for all that we need is available to us, if we will seek Him early, first, before our need arises.
The final thing we see is that the Israelites were told: “Six days you shall gather it, but on the seventh day, the Sabbath, there will be none.” Far too many Christians today have this backward. They believe that one day, the Sabbath is the day to receive and gather the blessings and provision from the Lord. They go to church seeking to be filled for the week. They want good music and good teaching to satisfy and fill them up. The Sabbath is to be a day for the Lord. It is a day to rest in and with Him, a day to worship Him. We should go to church to lift our hands in praise and to fold them in prayers of thanksgiving. We should not go to church to reach them out to receive. We need to gather every day so that we may find the Sabbath rest with and in Him.
Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ; precious Holy Spirit; give us this day our daily bread. I will seek You early. I will seek You first each day. Thank You that Your compassion and Your provision is new and is enough for the day. Thank You for Your word which says: “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.” I am satisfied in You. Amen.