Sermon delivered by the intern at Seoul Presbyterian Church

Title: Bread from Heaven: Jesus Christ
Exodus 16 and John 6

In our story, Israel arrives to a desert absent of food. Threatened by death, they grumble. “Grumble,” however, hardly does justice. The Hebrew word doesn’t simply express a disgruntled complaint. It describes a total mutiny against God.

The grumblings of Marah and Rephidim are linked by ‘testing’ or ‘trying’ – legal language. The people are putting the Lord on trial accusing Him of treason. Conversely God is putting the people on trial pronouncing them as unfaithful and disobedient. Psalms 81 says, “I tested you at the waters of Meribah,” whereas Psalm 95 says “your fathers tried me.”

It’s so easy for us, however, to be judgmental here: the Israelites are at it again! So faithless, so rebellious! It’s easy to wag the finger as an observer of the unfolding plot, rather than to identify ourselves as one of the grumbling Israelites. However, do we not also grumble against the Lord? As did Israel, do we not put God to the test - putting Him on trial and pronouncing Him guilty? The Israelite’s grumbling, unfaithfulness, and disobedience mirror our character and track record, proving that we are disobedient Israel. Thus, we too deserve to be sentenced to the same punishment as the Israelites underwent: death and exclusion from the Promised Land. But over a 1000 years after Israelite’s 40 year-desert period, One also underwent a desert period. That One came down from Heaven as an obedient, faithful, and true Israelite, never speaking out against God. That One passed the test that Israel failed. That One is none other than Christ – the Bread of Life sent down from Heaven. He is the Word that became flesh and lived among us. He is Emanuel, God with us.

As God’s outstretched arm rescued the Israelites through Moses from the bondage of the Egyptians, His outstretched arm rescues us believers from the slavery of sin and death through the greater Moses. And through the greater Joshua, He will ultimately deliver us into the greater Promised Land - His eternal Kingdom - where we will enter His Sabbath rest and live with Him forever. Let us feed on Him!

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