Advent 2018: Until the Son of God Appears

Day 11: O Come, Bread of Life

Exodus 16:1-12, Matthew 26:26-29, John 6:22-40, John 6:56-58

 

I love baseball. When I was about 12 years old, I had the opportunity of a lifetime. My cousin worked for the local minor league baseball team, and he said he could introduce me to Kerry Wood, one of the most dynamic pitchers in Major League Baseball and a member of my favorite team, the Chicago Cubs. He just happened to be in town rehabilitating from an injury.

Though I was one of his biggest fans, I was really scared to meet Kerry Wood. He was one of the fiercest, most powerful pitchers of his day, so I expected him to be just as fierce and powerful in person. I couldn’t imagine him being a “nice guy.” But when I met Wood, he blew me away with his kindness. I was shocked that someone so fierce could be so kind.

Sometimes in life, our expectations are blown out of the water by reality. Such was the case with Jesus and the Jewish concept of the “bread of life.”

Following the feeding of the five thousand, an audience gathered around Jesus at a synagogue and asked Him what they could do to perform the works of God (John 6:28). Jesus responded, saying, “This is the work of God—that you believe in the one he has sent” (v.29), implying that He was that person. The crowd responded by asking Jesus to prove that He was, in fact, sent by God, recalling that when Moses led God’s people He provided manna from heaven for the people to eat (Exodus 16).

As he continued to teach, Jesus redirected His Jewish listeners away from thinking of bread from heaven as physical food that only nourishes physical hunger, and toward a fuller version of the concept. He told them, “I am the bread of heaven… No one who comes to me will ever be hungry, and no one who believes in me will ever be thirsty again” (John 6:35).

Jesus is the bread of life. He is God’s ultimate provision for a beloved people wandering and whining in the wilderness. The manna that fell on the Israelites points to the descending of the Son of God, who came to save us all. Christ is enough for every hunger and for every need, for every want, desire, ache, and pain.

As we continue to remember and celebrate the coming of Christ this Advent season, we need to ask ourselves: Is Christ sufficient for me, or am I longing for more?

Written by Chris Martin