When the Israelites arrived in the Desert of Sin (meaning clay or mire) they grumbled against Moses and Aaron because they did not have the food they were used to in Egypt. "Then the Lord said to Moses, 'I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people will go out each day and gather enough for that day.'" (Exodus 16:4) Each morning, the bread appeared exactly the way God described. "...In the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp. When the dew was gone, thin flakes like frost on the ground appeared on the desert floor. When the Israelites saw it, they said to each other, 'What is it?' (or "Man hu") For they did not know what it was." (Exodus 16:13-15)
What the children of Israel called manna was to be remembered for generations to come. The Lord commanded, "Take an omer of manna and keep it for generations to come, so they can see the bread I gave you to eat in the wilderness when I brought you out of Egypt." (Exodus 16:32) The Israelites were supplied with manna for 40 years, the amount of time they were in the wilderness. Once they reached the Promised Land, the daily manna stopped.
Jesus would talk about the manna after he multiplied bread to feed the five thousand. Jesus said, "I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world." (John 6:48-51)
Father God confirmed what He was doing in bring us Living Bread from heaven. Every Christmas we celebrate the birth of Jesus, meaning "Jehovah (eternal one) is salvation." Do not think it is a coincident that Jesus came from heaven and was born in Bethlehem, meaning "house of bread." After His birth, Jesus was placed in a manger, a box or crib to hold fodder. Even the shepherds were told by the angels, "This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." (Luke 2:12)
There are two kinds of bread that come from heaven. One (manna) is meant to sustain physical bodies for a day on earth. It had to be collected daily. The other bread (Jesus) has life in it that comes to nourish us for eternity. The concept that Jesus introduced, that His flesh is the Living Bread, was not easy for the disciples to understand. It is not easy for us to understand! However, we must receive this truth. By placing our finite understandings on the God of the Universe we miss out on the power of His truths.
This is the season of miracles—ones that are beyond our comprehension—where anything can happen. Two women conceived: One beyond childbearing years and the other a virgin. A priest was struck dumb and could not speak until his son was named. Angels appeared to shepherds in a field and directed them to the place where the Son of God lay in a manger. Wise men took a very long journey to Bethlehem, being led by a star, so that they could worship the Christ child. This Christ child is our "daily Bread" that promises us eternal life if we believe in Him. Instead of filing ourselves with the world's bread, we must fill ourselves with the Living Bread--His life, His Word and His promises.
Joan E. Mathias