I’m forgoing my normal “Table Talk” post this morning, but staying in the same realm.
We had The Gathering last night. It’s an informal worship setting we have every 1st and 3rd Sunday evenings, with the tagline, “Where fellowship breaks out in worship.” It’s geared more toward just sharing with each other, and being together as a Christian community. A couple have called it “inner-city barn night”. 😆 Everyone is welcome. We have a meal and then share songs, poems, thoughts and ideas, maybe have a short devo.
So last night, Daniel was reading from John 6. And you know how sometimes something hits you – you’ve read it a hundred times, but you have that “aha!” moment. (and some of you will read this and say, “Duh, Corri, how have you not seen this already?” I guess it just wasn’t time for me to until last night. 🤷🏼♀️) It’s the passage where Jesus talks about being the Bread of Life. John 6:47-51 reads:
“I tell you the truth, anyone who believes has eternal life. Yes, I am the bread of life! Your ancestors ate manna in the wilderness, but they all died. Anyone who eats the bread from heaven, however, will never die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live forever; and this bread, which I offer so the world may live, is my flesh.”
So the background here is earlier in the chapter is the story about Jesus feeding the masses, 5,000 men plus women and children, with only 5 loaves of bread and two fish. The crowds had followed Him, wanting to be fed physically and hoping to see another miracle. They said, “Even our ancestors were given bread from heaven in the wilderness by Moses. What else ya got?” Jesus’s answer was, “Moses didn’t give them that manna – God did. But now He is offering you the true bread from heaven.”
God did give the Israelites manna in the wilderness. He sustained them and gave them life in the form of bread from heaven when there was nothing else to eat. He filled their bellies day after day, keeping them going, offering them what only He could provide for them. But you know what? The bread kept them alive while they were in the desert, but they eventually died. All it could do was sustain their physical bodies.
You think the Israelites got tired of eating manna every day? I don’t even like to eat the same thing two or three days in a row. But they ate that stuff every day. For forty years. And I’m sure being straight from God and tasting like honey wafers, it was pretty good stuff. But I’m also guessing it got old after a while and they were tired of it. But, God continued to provide for their physical needs, and they benefited from it.
Jesus said He is the new bread from heaven. This heavenly bread gives us eternal life. Yes, our bodies will still die, but our souls will dwell with Him eternally. He tells us in verse 63, “The Spirit alone gives eternal life. Human effort accomplishes nothing. And the very words I have spoken to you are spirit and life.” When He spoke of the bread of heaven, He wasn’t talking about manna or any kind of grain-based product that we pick up and put into our bellies. He was talking about the Word and the Spirit that He Himself pours into us.
Y’all, the physical feeding wasn’t enough.
Sometimes we may feel like it’s getting old, reading the same books and verses over and over. We think, “Yeah, I’ve heard all of this before.” But it is what sustains us and we can gain from it daily. Just as the daily manna kept the Israelites’ bodies alive in the wilderness, daily time spent with the Word and the Spirit keeps our spirits alive today. And it may feel like we are just reading the same words over and over. But, just as I picked up on things last night I hadn’t realized before, we will continue to learn and grow as we continue feasting on His words.
I have learned that different passages mean different things to me as I walk through different stages of life. That doesn’t mean His word is changing. It means that I have grown, and that no matter what part of my life I’m in right now, I still need that Bread of Life. It means that He still has things to open my eyes to, and that He’s not done with me yet. And it means that just as He provided for the Israelites in the wilderness, He will always provide what I need, even when it feels like I’m in a wilderness of my own.