Today’s Reading: Exodus 16:2-21
Daily Lectionary: Genesis 42:1-34, 38; Mark 12:1-12
And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “I have heard the complaints of the children of Israel. Speak to them, saying, ‘At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall be filled with bread. And you shall know that I am the Lord your God.'” (Exodus 16:11-12)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Yahweh provided bread from heaven. The food of angels, they called it. “Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you, declares the Lord, and the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion for every day” (Exodus 16:4).
Israel didn’t have to work for this bread. No labor, planting, or harvesting. No sweaty brows, calloused hands, or sore backs. All they had to do was go outside their tents and there it was. Manna in the wilderness. Yahweh provided just enough for each day–no more, no less.
And yet Israel still grumbled against the Lord: “We loathe this worthless food. Why did you bring us out into the wilderness to die? Would that we were in Egypt where we sat by the meat pots and ate bread to the full.”
Bread couldn’t save Adam. The bread from heaven that God gave through Moses couldn’t save Israel, either. And neither will Adam or Moses save us.
For like Adam, we have hungered and thirsted for self-righteousness. We have labored to fill our bellies with the food of this world. Like Israel, we’ve grumbled and groaned against God’s grace. We’ve pushed aside the Lord’s bread to get all we can eat at the world’s buffet. We foolishly think that slavery to sin looks more appetizing and satisfying than the Bread of life that God offers freely.
As Jesus tells the crowds in John 6, “Your fathers ate manna in the wilderness, and they died.” That’s the problem. Like Adam and Israel, we eat bread to our death. Ordinary bread won’t save us.
The bread that Jesus gives, however, is completely different. “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” (John 6:51). The next time you go to the Lord’s Supper, rejoice! In Jesus’ Body and Blood you have true Manna from heaven. Eat this bread and live forever. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
O Lord our God, in your Holy Sacraments you have given us a foretaste of the good things of your kingdom: Direct us, we pray, in the way that leads to eternal life, that we may come to appear before you in that place of light where you dwell forever with your saints; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
-Rev. Samuel Schuldheisz is pastor of Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church in Milton, WA.
Audio Reflections Speaker: Rev. Duane Bamsch
Learn more about your favorite hymns and find the deeper meaning behind the text with Eternal Anthems: The Story Behind Your Favorite Hymns. The book includes devotional commentary and historical facts from forty different contributing authors on fifty different hymns. Now available from Concordia Publishing House.