This is part of a 10-day series on the person of Christ in the 2016 Lent study.
Some days I’m so busy I make it to mid-afternoon and my stomach starts growling, and I realize I missed lunch. I simply forgot to eat. At this point I have to decide whether to grab a quick bite and probably ruin my appetite for dinner, or suffer hunger pangs for a few more hours until eating. Inevitably I choose the first because being hungry is miserable and makes everything harder. When my energy runs low, concentrating is difficult and I get irritable.
In Exodus 16, the people of Israel were wandering in the wilderness, moving slowly away from captivity in Egypt and toward the Promised Land. There were many thousands of them and not enough food in those desolate areas to support them, so they began to complain to their leaders and God. I complain when I miss lunch, but these people were at risk of starving.
But God provided. He sent them manna, miraculous bread that appeared each morning to meet their needs. God saw their hunger and gave them food.
While we all know the feeling of physical hunger, and some have dealt with severe hunger, we each live with another sort of hunger too—one that is much worse and much harder to fill. No sandwich or granola bar can even make dent in this deep desire. We hunger for life—for rich, full, real life. This is why we strive so hard for so many things – sex, money, status, relationships, possessions, experiences. We want to satiate our hunger for life.
God sent something better than manna to meet this need in us. He sent Christ, the Bread of Life. His provision of manna for Israel in the wilderness was just a precursor to His provision of Jesus for a world in a spiritual famine.
Jesus said “I am the Bread of Life. No one who comes to Me will ever be hungry” (John 6:35). What an odd and potentially creepy statement! Are we to devour Christ? In a sense, yes.
Jesus is the Word of God—the Word made flesh, the Word made alive. That means we can feast on His Word— His perfect sustenance to provide life like we’ve never known. No more pangs. No more seeking fullness in things that are, at best, like cotton candy – sweet to the taste, but gone instantly and sickening when consumed in quantity.
In Jesus’ last meal with His disciples, when He handed them the bread, He told them, “This is my body, do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19). When we come together for communion, we are dining on real bread and partaking of the Bread of Life by remembering Christ—how He lived and died and rose to fill us.
Whether by opening our Bibles or coming to His communion table with our brothers and sisters in Christ, let us come to the Bread of Life and feast on His Word.
written by Barnabas Piper