After God led the Israelites out of Egypt, where they had been in slavery for over 400 years, they were ungrateful and disobedient to God. Their punishment was to wander in the desert for 40 years, never being able to go to the Promised Land of Canaan. That was for the next generation. During this time, God provided food for them every day in the form of quail (meat) and manna (Exodus 16), and they still grumbled.

“Then the LORD said to Moses, “I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out daily and gather enough for that day. I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions. On the sixth day, they are to prepare what they bring in, and that is to be twice as much as they gather on the other days.” So Moses and Aaron said to all the Israelites, “In the evening, you will know that it was the LORD who brought you out of Egypt, and in the morning, you will see the glory of the LORD because he has heard your grumbling against him. Who are we that you should grumble against us?” Moses also said, “You will know that it was the LORD when he gives you meat to eat in the evening and all the bread you want in the morning, because he has heard your grumbling against him. Who are we? You are not grumbling against us, but against the LORD” (Exodus 16:4-8)

Psalms 78:24, “he rained down manna for the people to eat, he gave them the grain of heaven.”

Psalms 105:40, “They asked, and he brought them quail; he fed them well with the bread of heaven.”

Manna means, “What is it?”. It was small, round, and white. It was a gift from God that came every morning. God was showing them His faithfulness.

Manna sustained them for that day. It did not save them from their sins, nor did it keep them from death.

The manna foreshadowed the Bread of Life, who came from Heaven: Jesus.

Jesus started His ministry when He was 30 by speaking to people and doing miracles. He used bread to show His followers that He was the Son of God, the long-awaited Savior.

“When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him,” he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he would do. Philip answered, “It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!”Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, ‘Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?’ Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down (about five thousand men were there). Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish. When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten. After the people saw the sign Jesus performed, they began to say, “Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.” Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself. (John 6:5-14)

The next day, the crowds found Jesus and began to question Him. “Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” So they asked him, “What sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’”Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” “Sir,” they said, “always give us this bread.”

Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day” (John 6:28-40).

Jesus clarified that He is the I AM, God, who brings eternal life to ALL who believe.

When Jesus called Himself ‘the Living Bread,” He was not claiming to be the bread that fell from the sky for the Jews to eat. He was claiming to be much greater. Manna was to sustain the Jews for a single day, and Jesus offers eternal life to the whole world when they believe. When God gave the manna, it was a simply gift. When God gave His Son, He gave Himself at a great cost. When we receive the Son as our Savior, we become His Child, not for the moment, but forever with Him on this earth and when we die, in Heaven!

“For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” (Romans 8:15).