"If you’ve raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in safe country, how will you manage in thickets by the Jordan?" (Jeremiah 12:5). Our journey is intended to be more than simply "stumbling" through the days while the world "wears us out.” We are made to experience the thrill of "running with horses” and to navigate life amongst the "thickets." The RWH blog focuses on both the spiritual race of which Jeremiah speaks, and the physical act of running that I absolutely love. In short, it's where "the miles meet the Message" to provide insight, perspective & encouragement that might enable you & I to successfully run either of the races set before us. May our course be purposeful and may we be passionate in our pursuit of the abundant life He desires for us.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Our Spiritual Manna

This week we are going to be reading through John, chapter 6.  Much of the discussion will be around the dialogue that Christ has with His followers in which He reveals that He is the “Bread of Life.”  It’s a really interesting study in that it ties in Old Testament references to the miraculous sign that Jesus performs with the feeding of the 5,000.  (note: the use of miraculous “sign” is used much more often than the term “miracle.” The point? There is spiritual significance to each of these actions.  It is not simply for the sake of those directly involved) 

First, let’s go back a few years.  In Exodus 16, the Lord says to Moses,”I will rain down bread from Heaven for you.”  We later learn that He kept His promise and the daily supply of bread met their physical needs; sustained them.  In verse 31, the people of Israel “called this bread Manna.”  (Manna literally means, “what is it”, as referenced in Exodus 16:15, “for they did not know what it was.")

Now, fast forward to John 6.  The crowd has been miraculously fed and the “sign” of this miracle is about to be revealed.  In speaking to the followers, Christ points out their endless fascination on the physical, or material world.  They sought Him because He provided food to eat.  He encourages them to pursue the food that never spoils.  The crowd then challenges Jesus by reminding Him of the Manna given their forefathers.  Basically, they were saying, “So, how will you top that?”

Over the course of His reply, Christ explains that He is offering them nourishment of the soul, the spiritual equivalent of God’s physical miracle for their forefathers.  Most notable are verses 48-50, “I am the bread of life.  Your forefathers ate the manna in the desert, yet they died.  But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die.”  This would have had even more impact than we can imagine in that not only is He pointing out the physical / spiritual similarities to the passage in Exodus, but the crowd would have likely been familiar with the prophet Isaiah’s proclamation to “come, take of the bread that is good and will delight your soul.” (Isaiah 55:1-3).

As you read through this passage and think about the study notes for Thursday, one practical question should be asked (In fact, Sonny did so as he closed out today’s message);  Are we so consumed in meeting our physical needs / desires that we neglect our spiritual Manna? Have a great week.

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