John 6:30-33 (NIV): So they asked him, “What miraculous sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? Our forefathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’” Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who 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.”
These people talking to Jesus are the same ones who had received the multiplied bread and fish from His hand just the evening before. Yet here they are now, demanding a sign from Him so that they can believe that He really was sent from God. Jesus had just told them (verse 29) that the work of God that would form eternal life in them was to believe in the one that God had sent – Jesus.
But now the people wanted some kind of proof that Jesus was worthy of their faith. Multiplying bread and fish to feed more than 5,000 people apparently wasn’t enough for them to place their trust in Him to save. So they came up with their own criteria: Moses had given the Israelites and unending supply of food in the wilderness – the manna, bread from heaven. With the manna the people didn’t have to work for their food; they just had to go and pick it up each day. It was easy. All Jesus had to do was to give them manna, and they would believe.
But Jesus quickly pointed out to them that the “He” in the passage from Psalm 78:24 was not Moses, but God. Moses was not the provider of the food, or of the water from the rocks in the wilderness, or of the way to the Promised Land. Moses was only God’s instrument. God provided, and continues to provide, all that His people need, IF they will fully believe in the One He has sent.
The ultimate bread from heaven, the food that yields eternal life, is Jesus Himself. It is only through faith I Him, only by believing that He is who He claimed to be (God in the flesh), only by believing that He accomplished all that He claimed to have done (giving Himself as the ultimate sacrifice for sin), that real eternal life can be obtained.
Father, thank You for this gracious gift – Your own Son, through whom You grant us eternal life. There is no real life through any other, because ALL others are only sinful men who themselves need Your grace to be saved. Only one, Jesus, the genuine bread of life whom You sent can save us from death and cleanse our hearts from every sin stain. Amen.