The Manna - Lesson 3
Find the Gospel in the Story
In Luke 24, Jesus taught his disciples that every story in the Bible points directly to him! He explained that we simply need to look for the gospel pattern of “suffering followed by glory.” That is, we need to look for something that points to his suffering on the cross, followed by something that points to the glory of his resurrection! Use the gospel chart below to help you find “the story within the story!”
Jesus, the True Manna
1. The Manna is shown in the morning as the glory of the Lord (Exod 16:7).
1. Christ, the True Manna, is raised in the morning as the glory of God (1 Cor 15:43; 1 Pet 1:21).
2. The children of Israel said of the manna, “What is this?” (Exod 16:15; Heb Ma-hû?; LXX ti esti touto?).
2. The children of Israel said of Jesus, “What is this (new doctrine)?” (Mark 1:27; John 16:17) (Gk ti estin touto?).
3. Moses said, “This is the bread (from heaven) which the Lord has given you to eat” (Exod 16:15).
|3. Jesus said, “I am the living Bread come down from heaven…this bread is my flesh which I give for the life of the world” (John 6:51).|
4. The manna had a flavor of honey (Exod 16:31).
4. Jesus, the True Manna, spoke the word of God, which was like the honey of the honeycomb (Psa 19:10, cf. Ezek 3:1-3).
5. Israel grumbled (LXX gongudzo) against the Lord who gave them the manna in the wilderness (Exod 16:7).
5. Israel grumbled (Gk gongudzo) at the True Manna that was Christ, whom the Lord had given them (John 6:41, 43).
6. The manna was like human flesh. When it was abused, it putrefied and bred worms (Heb toleah, exuding crimson) (Exod 16:20).
6. The flesh of Jesus was True Manna (John 6:51). When abused, he was subject to death and was made like the worm (Heb toleah, exuding crimson (Psa 22:6).
7. The manna was kept uncorrupted throughout the generations of Israel in a golden jar in the Holy Ark as a memorial of the Lord’s faithfulness to give daily bread to his people (Exod 16:32-36).
7. Christ is the Living Bread, given daily to his people, having been delivered from corruption to dwell in the presence of the Lord forever in his heavenly Sanctuary (Heb 9:1-15).
Gospel Study Notes
The manna is uniquely described as a manifestation of the glory of God appearing in the morning (Exod 16:7). Jesus, too, in his resurrection is uniquely identified with the glory of God (1 Pet 1:21).
Manna is called the “bread of angels” (Psa 78:25) and “bread of heaven” (Psa 105:40). It was unheard of and previously unseen by Israel in the wilderness. Their exclamation, “What is this?” (Heb Mah hu?) memorialized the surprise of the people in the name they gave to God’s provision for them. Instructively, their language of surprise expressed in the Greek (LXX Exod 16:15 ti esti touto?) is likewise used of Jesus in the Gospels. In Mark 1:27, the people wonder at this new doctrine of Jesus (Gk ti estin touto?). In John 16:17, the disciples are perplexed at the idea that Jesus will go away from them (Gk ti estin touto?). The unique and wonderful phenomenon of the manna in the wilderness anticipates the remarkable and unique aspect of the ministry of Jesus. On another occasion, when the temple police were unable to arrest Jesus, they reported back, “No man ever spoke like that man!” (John 7:46). Similarly, a crowd reported about Jesus, “It was never so seen in Israel” (Matt 9:33).
Jesus directly and expansively applies the manna from heaven given to the wilderness generation of Israel to himself and to his ministry to bring Bread from heaven. The Manna of Jesus, however, is uniquely different because the generation that ate the manna in the wilderness died. Those who partake of the True Manna Jesus gives will never die (John 6:50-51).
In spite of the sweetness of the manna, which was like honey, the multitude of Israel grumbled against Moses and the Lord. Their rebellion anticipated the grumbling of the multitude against Jesus, the True Manna come from heaven, in spite of the heavenly sweetness of the Word of God he incarnated.
The remarkable description of the decomposition of the manna, abused by those who hoarded it over a night not a Sabbath, resembles the decomposition of human flesh. It putrefied and bred worms (Exod 16:20). The worm in the manna exuded a scarlet color when crushed. Jesus compared his own flesh to bread in the Supper (Matt 26:26). And he analogized his flesh to the manna (John 6:41). Upon the cross, Jesus described himself as a “worm,” using the same word as the worm in the corrupted manna (Psa 22:6). Emblematically, Jesus too exuded a scarlet blood in his death.
A remarkable fact about the manna is that it was preserved uncorrupted for generations in a golden jar kept in the Tent of the Testimony (Exod 16:31-35). The fact that the manna in the Ark remained uncorrupted demonstrated that it partook of an inherently regenerating power of life overcoming the corruption of death, a manifestation of resurrection power like that of Jesus himself.
Bread sustains life. The manna the Lord gave to Israel in the wilderness sustained life, but not eternal life. The Manna of Jesus, however, sustains not merely life, but eternal life!
Dr. Warren A. Gage © 2022
The Suffering & Glory of Jesus