The Meaning of the Manna
By: John Ankerberg Show
April 12, 2015
Message, Robby Gallaty, Senior Pastor
The title of the message today, “The Meaning of the Manna.” The Meaning of the Manna.
Men through the ages have been defined by statements they have made. Take for example, Caesar, after he gave the report from what happened at Gall, he said simply three words to the people, “Veni, vidi, vichi” (I came, I saw, I conquered.)
Winston Church in a similar fashion when the was leading the people of England as they went into war with Germany during World War II, he got up and he promised them not an easy time or an easy victory. He simply said, “We will win. But it will come with blood, toil, sweat and tears.” And he was right.
John F. Kennedy said to the American public, trying to challenge them to get involved in our country to do good services or good deeds throughout our county, do their public good, if you will when he said, “As not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”
If you know anything about these statements, you realize that they encapsulate the persona if a person.
Now it is hard to reduce a person down to a particular statement which is why it is very difficult for me to even attempt to reduce the ministry of Jesus Christ down to a statement. I imagine that is why John took so long to write his gospel. Do you know, John wrote his gospel about 40 years after the others had already finished. And I think the reason John did this is, he was meticulous. He was careful as to what he wanted to say about Jesus. And John is the gospel writer who gives us Jesus’ life summarized through seven statements.
Jesus uses these I AM statements as John highlights them, to prove that He is One with the Father. Jesus and God are One shows Jesus’ divinity. Now on the surface, it may look like these statements merely talk about the identity of Jesus or the mission of Jesus, but don’t miss this. It is far deeper than that. In fact, the phrase “I AM” is an interesting phrase. It is first used in the book of Exodus back in Chapter 3. So hold your place in John, we are going to go back to Exodus Chapter 3 and I want to show you the first usage of this phrase, “I AM.” It appears in the interaction between Moses and God through the burning bush.
Exodus Chapter 3 Verse 14. When you are there, say “Word.” “God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Say to the people of Israel, I AM has sent me to you.’ God also said to Moses, ‘Say this to the people of Israel, ‘The Lord, YAHWEH, that is His name, the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is My name forever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations.”
The key word there is the word “LORD.” It is in all caps in your Bible. Here is just a little side note for you. Every time you see the word “LORD” in all caps, it always is the name of God. It is used 6500 times. You find this name 6500 times in the Tanak. It is used all through the Tanak. Jews revered the name of God so much that they wouldn’t even mention the name. You would never catch a Jew using the name Yahweh. They always replaced it with the named Adonai which was LORD. They would refer to God by the consonants of His name. Yod, Ha, Vav, Ha or Yahweh in Hebrew. Yod, Ha, Vav, Ha. They revered the Lord’s name so much.
There was an interesting play on words in the Exodus account. Look at Exodus Chapter 3 Verse 11. Moses says to God, when God says, I want you to be the representative for leading My people out of the bondage of Egypt. I want you to go to the President of the World, Pharaoh and tell him I want you to let My people go. Moses says, “Who am I….who am I…you see it is reversed, “that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?”
God in Verse 14 reverses it and says, “I AM WHO I AM.” I love that. Moses says, “Who am I?” God says, “I AM.” And what He is showing Moses is something interesting. Moses, it is not who you are, it is who I AM. It is not based on your ability, Moses. It is based on your availability. I am going to use you.
Now, in order to understand the phrase “I AM WHO I AM,” we have to unpack it in the Hebrew. You are probably saying, that is a pretty peculiar way to describe someone. You know, why didn’t He just say, go say, My name is Yahweh, go say My name is Jehovah. He didn’t say that. He said, “Go say, I AM WHO I AM.”
Write this down. The Hebrew sages believed that God’s name Yahweh, Yod Ha, Vav, Ha was the combination of three Hebrew verbs formed together to make the name Yahweh. Now listen to the consonants Yod Ha Vav Ha. He Hebrew verb, Hayah, Ha Yod, is the verb, I AM. The Hebrew verb Hoveh, Ha Va is the Hebrew verb I was. And the Hebrew word, YeYah Yod Yod is the verb, I will be. So the sages believe that the very name of God, the essence of God, His character, was a God who always was, who always is and who always will be. And that is what Jesus is about to tell us by using this phrase, I AM, to describe seven characteristics of who He is.
And today He is about to show us that He is the God who sustains us. I want to show you today from this text that Jesus Christ is the One who sustains us. He is our only source in life. Everything else will be unsatisfying to us. Do you believe that? He is the Only One who can sustain us.
If you have your Bibles, turn with me to John Chapter 6, John Chapter 6 and we will consider verses 25-36. When you are there, say “Word.”
“When they found Him on the other side of the sea, they said to Him, “Rabbi, when did You come here?” Now remember, Jesus is just off the heels of the feeding of the 5,000. So here is the deal. He feeds the 5,000 which is actually 20,000 to 25,000 people. Then He sends the disciples ahead on a boat. He walks on the water and then they land on the other side. The crowd finds Him.
Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on Him God the Father has sent His seal.” Then they said to Him, ‘What must we do, to be doing the works of God?’ Jesus answered them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.’ So they said to Him, ‘Then what signs do you do, that we may see and believe in You? What work do You perform? Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave the bread from heaven to eat.’ Jesus then said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.’ They said to Him, ‘Sir, give us this bread always.’ We want you to keep giving us this bread, please. Continue to give this to us.
Jesus said to them, ‘I AM the bread of life; whoever comes to Me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in Me shall never thirst.”
Father, we pray that You will bless the reading and the preaching of the Word today, that we would be conformed to the image of Christ more so than before we heard this truth or even this word. We love You, and we ask it in Jesus’ name. And everyone said, Amen.
Let me break this text down into two different sections. The first thing I want you to see and that is what Jesus wanted to get across to the crowd and that is, the Father provided bread for life. The Father God provided Bread for life.
Verse 25, “When they found Him on the other side of the sea, they said to Him, ‘Rabbi, when did You get here?’” Now in the morning, the crowds had found Jesus. They came to Jesus and they are wondering, how in the world did You arrive here? And Jesus has an opportunity to really exponentially grow His ministry. The way He responds here, I want to share with you, is just the opposite of what you would expect someone to respond if they are trying to grow an earthly ministry. In fact, in the court of public opinion, Jesus’ ministry is about to take a nose dive because that is all Jesus had to say. You have to understand, thousands are around Him now and they say, “Jesus, when did You get here?” And that is all Jesus has to say is, What do you mean, when did I get here? I just walked on the water! In fact, if you don’t believe Me, ask these twelve guys. They saw it. The crowd would have ooh’d and the crowd would have ah’d ad they would have tried to crown Him King again. They would have a crowd to follow Him to Jerusalem and Jesus would have grown His ministry exponentially. But as you and I both know, Jesus’ miracles are not just for the crowd. They are for the twelve. Jesus is teaching the twelve the significance of these miracles. And it is unfortunate for the crowd. They don’t understand why the miracle actually happened.
You see, the crowd is only interested in having their bellies filled. They are not interested in seeing Jesus as the Messiah. The crowd just wants a meal ticket. They don’t understand that Jesus is feeding them for a spiritual, deeper meaning. And unfortunately, the disciples don’t get it either.
Turn to Mark Chapter 6 Verse 51. The poor disciples cannot connect the dots. They are just like us and that is encouraging for us today, amen? These guys didn’t get it either at times.
Mark Chapter 6 Verse 51. When you are there, say “Word.” “Then Jesus got into the boat with them, and the wind ceased. And they were completely astounded, because they had not understood about the loaves, instead their hearts were hardened.”
So go back to John. So the disciples missed it as well. And so Jesus then teaches them about what He came for. Notice what He says. He says, “Truly, truly, verily, verily, amen, amen.” Whenever you see this in the Bible, don’t miss this, put brackets around it, underline it, highlight it. When you see these two words together, it is as if Jesus is grabbing you by the ears and say, “Listen up! This is important!”
And so He says, “Truly, truly, I say to you, don’t work for food that spoils.” Now, what are You saying, Jesus? Jesus is saying, you guys have a materialistic understanding of the kingdom of God. This has nothing to do with food. It has nothing to do with bread. This is a portrait of the Messiah and you guys have missed it. You see, they want a fill for their stomachs, the same way the woman at the well did, remember? When Jesus meets her and says, I can give you living water, what does the woman say? Can you give it to me forever so I don’t have to come back here and fill this bucket up every day? Jesus says, no, you missed it.
It reminds me of these dooms day preppers. Have you seen these guys on TV, the show on TLC I think it is. Actually, we have a few in our church. I am not going to mention any names, but anyway. I am playing. But seriously, we may have. These dooms day preppers are men and women who will fill their basements with food and supplies and drinks trying to get ahead of the coming apocalypse of the world. And if you ever venture down into these prep rooms, you realize that some of them have more ammunition than the Sportsman Warehouse. They may even put them out of business because they are prepping for the future.
Just a side note, if you believe in Jesus Christ and you know the Word of God well, you will realize that we are all going to be evacuated out of here before the seven year period of the wrath of God, and so the only prepping you and I need to be doing today is to make sure our souls are right with Jesus when He calls us. That is another sermon for another day, but you get the point there. So these doomsday preppers, they gather all this food and the problem they have is this…don’t miss this…with every month and year that there is no global catastrophe, the food they have stored away goes bad. That is kind of a problem, right? So they have to keep recycling food. In essence, the food spoils.
That is what Jesus is saying here. He is saying, you can prepare all you want. You can store away food all you want. But if you have worked for that food, it will spoil. “My food…” look at what He says in the text, “that I give you does not spoil. Why? Because it is eternal.
What is the food that Jesus is talking about? Well, He told us in Matthew Chapter 4. When Jesus was attacked by the devil in that series of temptations, Jesus, the first response to the devil when he says, turn these bricks into bread, what does Jesus say? “Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Jesus makes this amazing connection between the Word of God and the Bread of Heaven or the Bread of Life.
People say, “What must we do then, Jesus, to be doing the works of God?” And Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.”
Now don’t misunderstand this. The Jews through the years have gotten a bad rap. Some people have thought that Jews believed in God by exercising works and now New Testament believers believe in God by putting faith in Christ. Friends, that is a misnomer. It has always been by faith. They believed by faith in the coming Messiah. We believe by faith by looking back to the Messiah. It is always the same. So they are not asking Jesus, what must we do to perform all these good works because Jesus clarifies in Verse 29. He says, You want to do something, Believe. See it. That is the work. You want to do something. Believe in Me or believe in the Son that God has sent.
Verse 30, “So they said to Him, ‘Then what sign do you do, that we may see and believe? What work do you perform? Jesus, our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’ And Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.’”
The people want Jesus to do another sign. In essence what they are saying here is, Jesus, You did a good deed with this one feeding but we want You to one up Moses. You don’t understand, Moses provided bread for our forefathers for 40 years and yet You did one. That is a good start, Jesus, but you don’t know what Moses did in the past. And Jesus corrects their faulty thinking. He says, It wasn’t Moses who gave you the bread….don’t miss this…it was My Father.
In fact, I will show you a couple of passages to prove that it was God who continuously and consistently provided for the people. Look at the screen. Exodus 16 Verse 4. You can write it down if you are taking notes. Exodus 16 Verse 4. The Word says, “Then the Lord (watch this) said to Moses.” If we can get that up. “Then the Lord said to Moses, behold, I am about to rain down bread from heaven for you and the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day that I might test them.” God says, “I am the One who is going to do it.” Forget that one, go to the next one. Nehemiah 9:15. Good try, but we will go to the next one. Sorry. If you missed that one, go to the next one. Nehemiah 9:15…that is a joke…”You gave them bread from heaven.” This is Nehemiah, “You God gave them bread from heaven for their hunger and brought water for them out of the rock for their thirst and You told them to go in and possess the land that You have sworn to them.”
Psalm 78 Verses 23 and 24. It just continues on, write it down. “He commanded,” watch this, “the skies above and opened the doors of heaven and He (God) rained down manna on them to eat and gave them the grain of heaven.” Here is the final one. Psalm 105:40. “They asked and He brought the quail and gave them bread from heaven in abundance.”
What Jesus is saying here is simply this. He is confronting their misunderstanding of who provided and sustained the people. Jesus says, It is My Father who gave the bread.
Now what He is doing is, He is setting them up for what He is about to tell them. He is saying, God was the One who sustained you. Jesus said it this way in the New Testament. He said, “Don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow has enough to worry about itself. Does God not clothe the lilies of the field. Does God not provide for the sparrows of the air? Will God not provide more so for you?” And what He is saying is, we have to get to the place where we believe it is God who provides for us. Amen? You may work hard. You may earn a living, but it is God who provides for you. He is the One who gives you what you need.
So Jesus shows us in the text that it is the Father who provided the Bread for life. But then He sets them up for this. It is the Son who IS the Bread of Life. Write this down. It is the Son who IS the Bread of Life.
I love this. I love this. In fact, I had a lot of fun with this all week thinking about this. Verse 34. “They said to Him, ‘Sir, give us this bread always.’ We are hungry. We want to eat. Can you give this bread to us always. “Jesus said, ‘I AM the bread of life; whoever comes to Me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.”
Look at Verse 47. “Truly, truly I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. I AM the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I AM the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is My flesh.”
What the crowds basically say is, Jesus, we are hungry. We want You to feed us. We enjoyed this one-time feeding of the 20,000-25,000 and that is a good start, Jesus, but Moses, our forefather, he provided for our families for 40 years as they wandered in the desert and they wanted Jesus to do the same thing. Jesus, we want You to open up a seafood business and we want You to provide fish po-boys whenever we want. You see, these people want to make Jesus their permanent baker, if you will. They want a bread winner and they want Jesus to be the baker. They don’t want a Messiah. They want a meal ticket. They want Jesus to provide for their needs.
What they don’t understand is that the bread was a means to a spiritual end. It had nothing to do with the bread. In fact, bread was a motive for something greater. You see, when Jesus says these words, “I AM the Bread of Life,” folks, get this, if this was a Hebrew audience and eastern audience, those words would explode in our minds. Why? Because Hebrews think differently than westerners. You see, there is a difference between eastern thought and western thought. When easterners tried to prove a concept or to teach a concept, they don’t use bullet points and lists like we do in the west. They use pictures to portray a truth.
For example. In the west, when we describe God, we use words like wise or holy or righteous or loving and all those are good. But they are not a motive. When an easterner talks about God, they say words like, living, running water. Fresh baked bread. An eagle’s wing. A rock. Who sounds like that? It sounds like Jesus, right? They always talked in pictures because it raised emotions inside of our hearts and bread was one of the chosen motifs that God used all throughout the Bible to talk about His provision. In fact, it started all the way back with Moses.
Do you know, and many people miss this and I think I have for years, that when God provided the manna, He wanted the manna to be a constant reminder that He provided for them in the Old Testament. Now here is the deal…watch this…God even told them in Exodus, don’t forget this. Watch this. Go to Exodus Chapter 16 Verse 33. Watch this. Exodus 16:33. This is when God sends the manna, fills the ground with the bread, if you will. And then He says to them in Verse 33, “Moses says to Aaron, ‘take a jar, ad put an omer of manna in it, and place it before the Lord to be kept throughout your generations.” Now what is he saying here? Watch this. He is saying, I want you to capture this manna and I want you to put it before the Lord. Well, how in the world would you put it before the Lord? You would put it before the Lord in the Holy Place.
Turn with me to Hebrews Chapter 9, back in the New Testament. This is pretty interesting. Hebrews Chapter 9 describes the contents that were in the ark of the covenant in the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle of the Jewish people. Hebrews Chapter 9 and Verse 4 gives us a picture. “Behind the second curtain,” Verse 4, ‘was a second section called the Most Holy Place, having the golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, in it which was a golden urn holding the manna, from the Old Testament.” So the manna was a constant reminder of the provision of God. It is a picture that God provides the bread, but He is the Bread, right?
Now, the motif goes further. God says, I am going to send Myself, My Son, and He is going to be born in a specific city. Micah Chapter 5 Verse 2. Of all the cities, it says, “You, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me One who is to be ruler of Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.”
Bethlehem would have been so small, some early maps did not even have it on the map. It was that small. It was that insignificant. And that is how God works, though. He goes to the most insignificant place and sends the most significant person. Bethlehem is two words made up in the Hebrew. You are going to love this. Beth-lehem. Bet Lechem. Bet is the Hebrew word for House. Lechem is the Hebrew word for Bread, lechem. It is not accident that God sends His Son to a Bread Factory to be born. Jesus is born in the city called the House of Bread. Are you starting to see what is happening here? God is trying to say something to the people. It is no accident when the devil tempts Him with the stones, that the first thing Jesus says, the first spoken words we have recorded. He quotes scripture. Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.
Now don’t miss this. When Jesus feeds the 5,000 and the 4,000, those two multiplying miracles with bread, it is not by accident. In fact, He is trying to teach a spiritual truth.
Now, I know what you are saying. The crowds were satisfied and you are right, but the disciples were being schooled. The crowds benefited from the miracle, but the disciples were being taught a lesson. And unfortunately for them, they don’t get it until Jesus has to spell it out.
Now let me show you a map here. We are going to show you two maps. The first map is to describe the land of Israel to you. One side of the land of Israel, the western region, was known in the First Century as the Land of the Twelve. And the reason it was called the Land of the Twelve is because the twelve tribes of Israel inhabited the western region of Palestine. It was known as the Land of the Twelve for the tribes.
On the eastern side of the River of Jordan, that was known as the Decapolis, but it was also known as the Land of the Seven. This is a little known fact that some people miss. You have to really dig to figure this out. Ray Vanderlaan suggested on his web site in a lot of his material called Follow the Rabbi, that it was called the Land of the Seven because it was represented…get this…by the Seven pagan nations that Joshua drove out when Israel took over the land. Those seven pagan nations moved east. Jews believe that this area was dominated by the devil. The pagans were known to worship fertility gods and have many other practices that were detestable to God.
Now follow me. In the Land of the Twelve, Jesus does a miracle. In fact, you remember a couple of weeks ago, He takes a boat to the northern side of the Sea of Galilee. When He lands, He is in the Land of the Twelve. He performs this Feeding of the 5,000 which we know is actually 15-20,000 plus people with men and women and children. After He performs the miracle, Jesus does something that is really uncanny. He says, I want you guys, He calls His disciples, I want you guys to go and take these baskets and I want you to fill all of these baskets up with leftovers. Now that is odd. I mean, Jesus, why can’t they just leave them on the ground? I mean, lets just give them take out boxes. Right? They could take it home. Or better yet, why don’t we let the wild dogs eat them that roam the land. Just let the dogs have it. No, Jesus says, no, I want you to pick up all the scraps, if you will.
So the disciples go through and it probably takes them a while, 20,000 people at a church dinner on the grounds, a lot of people here, if you can imagine. So they come back. And I almost imagine the weight that is setting in as the disciples line up before Jesus at dusk and Jesus begins to count the baskets, one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve.
Well, the disciples still don’t understand what is going on. In fact, in Mark Chapter 6 Verse 51 it says that “Even when Jesus got into the boat after walking on the water,” look at this, “the disciples were utterly astonished for they did not understand about the loaves because their hearts were hardened.” So Jesus doesn’t give up on them. Follow me here. He gives them another shot at the mid-term exam. He brings them to the region of the Decapolis for a second miracle like the first. You have always wondered, why does Jesus feed people twice. Here is why. As He is walking through the Decapolis, Mark Chapter 7 Verse 31 shows us. Watch this. “The disciples were following their Master through the region of Tyre and Sidon, by the way of Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, through the region of (what?) the Decapolis.” Now get your geography right. He just performed it on this side, now He is going to cross the Jordan and perform another miracle. Jesus has multitudes gathering again. He feeds the 4,000 here and at the end, Jesus does the unthinkable again. These guys are wiped out. Jesus says, hey, listen, don’t get too relaxed. We are going to clean up again. And I want you to take these baskets and I want you to fill them up.
Now the twelve probably have baskets. And Jesus says, let’s consolidate the baskets, probably, and then He counts again. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven. Now the disciples still do not understand what Jesus is trying to tell them. They can’t connect the dots in their finite minds. And so they are still arguing.
Mark Chapter 8, the very next section. Verse 17. “Jesus, aware of this, (watch this) Verse 17 said to them, ‘Why are you guys discussing the fact that you have no bread?” They are still talking about it. Just like us. “Do you not perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened? Having eyes do you not see, and having ears do you not hear? And do you not remember? When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?’ They said to Him, ‘Twelve.’ ‘And the seven for the four thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?’ They said to Him, ‘Seven.’” Without having to say another word, do you know what Jesus just said to those men and do you know what He is saying to us from the text? That I am not only the God who came to save Israel, the land of the Twelve, but I am the God who came for the pagan Gentiles, the land of the Seven, as well. Aren’t you glad? I am the God who provides for them.
Now unfortunately for us, we can’t see that because we are thinking as a westerner and not a Hebrew. We don’t think with eastern lenses. We don’t look with eastern lenses at the Bible.
Well, I know what you are saying here, but Robby, why didn’t Jesus just come out and say it? Why didn’t He just come out and say that I am the God of the Hebrews and I am the God of the Gentiles. Why didn’t He just say that? Why does He have to be so cryptic with something so important? He did say it! He said it as an easterner. He didn’t say it as a western American. He said it all the time. He is saying it with pictures.
Friends, you have to understand, Jews spoke in pictures. He didn’t give us a list of facts to commit to memory. He didn’t give us things to write down on pieces of paper so we can bullet point. He gave us pictures. And you know as well as I do, pictures are worth a thousand words. The Lordship of Jesus Christ is not something that we memorize in order to pass a test. It is truths to be embraced on our heart.
You see, Jesus doesn’t give us a bunch of things that we have to commit to our minds. What Jesus does is, He wants us to taste and see that the Lord is good. He wants it to move from our heads and He wants it to move to our hearts.
He said plainly in John Chapter 6, for those who missed it, “I am the Bread of Life. Anyone who believes in Me will never be hungry. Anyone who believes in Me will never be thirsty again.”
Now, knowing what Bread means, feel the weight of this. At the Last Supper, Jesus Christ, at that table, reaches over and picks up a piece of bread. A visual picture of Him. And before the disciples eyes, He takes this bread and He breaks the bread. And what He says to them, I think, is this. This is My Body, this bread that will sustain you forever must first be broken. And when it is broken, it will satisfy everyone.
Now some people have misinterpreted that and say, well, we should eat Jesus’ flesh because He said, Eat my body. That is not what He is talking about. In fact, in the very next verse, He says, Do this in remembrance of Me. Think about Me. Meditate on My words. Follow after My teachings. Ponder My truths. Take time to meditate on My life. Follow My example. Savor My teachings. Man shall lot live by bread alone, He said, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.
Here is my point. Just as Jesus, sorry…just as God, could be Jesus, just as God sustained the people of the Old Testament with physical bread, Jesus sustains believes today with Himself, with His words, with His teaching, with His presence.
Dr. Charles Malik, one-time Secretary-General of the United Nations said this on the steps of Wheaton College in front of the Billy Graham Center. He said these words, he said, “I could live without food, I can live without drink. I can every live without sleep and air, but I cannot live without Jesus.”
Can you say that? You see, the reason some of you can’t say that is because you have so much in your life from the world that you have no time to be filled with the Word. You see, the reason you don’t hunger and thirst after righteousness is because you, like me, we get filled up with everything but Christ, right? So we have no room for Christ. And for some of us today, we are going to have to empty out some things in our life in order to be satisfied. Because as I said earlier, nothing in this world will satisfy you but Christ. The greatest hunting experience or fishing excursion will never satisfy you. The great shopping trip or football game will never satisfy you. The most exquisite meal will never satisfy you because you have to top it with something more exotic, right? The greatest vacation will never satisfy you because next year you have to one up the trip.
Anything in this world that is temporal, will never satisfy us. Jesus says, I am the One who can satisfy your soul.
C. S. Lewis said it this way. “I can never find a cup of tea which is big enough or a book which is long enough.” And what he is saying is, anything other than Christ will not satisfy.
I think the great philosopher, Mike Jagger knew it well when he said, “I can’t get no satisfaction.” And the reason he couldn’t get no satisfaction is and it is the mantra of this world is because they are finding it in anything other than Jesus. Don’t miss this. Jesus alone can satisfy. And I think that is why Jesus said, Everyone who hungers and thirsts for righteousness shall be filled.
So let me ask you as we close, will you find satisfaction in Christ and Christ alone? Would you put your faith in Jesus and Jesus alone?
You see, we love Jesus for who He is, not for what He can give. There is a big difference. We love Him for who He is, not for what He can give. And we know that Jesus said He is the great I AM. Aren’t you glad He didn’t say, I am the great I will be? Or the great I was? He says, I am the great I AM. I AM always what you need at every moment of your life. And that is something to be celebrated today. Amen?