Jesus said the manna was not the true bread from heaven.



After Jesus fed the five thousand with the five loaves of bread, the crowd began saying Jesus was the great prophet Moses had promised when he said, “A prophet like me will the Lord your God raise up from your own people, listen to him.”

Knowing that the people wanted him to lead a revolution against the Romans, Jesus forced the Apostles to set off in their fishing boat, while he disappeared into the hills. The crowds, were not able to follow him, and seeing that there were wasn’t another boat for him to take, they boarded a number of boats that came along. In the meantime Jesus had come walking on the water, and he joined the Apostles arriving in Capernaum.

The people, on tying up there were astounded at seeing Jesus in Capernaum ahead of them.. In a jolly, wondering, mood they asked, ”Rabbi, how did you get here?”

Knowing that among themselves the people were comparing notes about the taste of the bread he gave them, he said, “You are not looking for me because you understood the sign, but because you ate the bread.”

Here we must consult what scholars tell us about the expectations of those people. They tell us that they believed that when the Prophet like Moses appeared he would make manna to come showering down from heaven. So they said, “What sign can you do? Our ancestors ate manna in the desert.”

Jesus then said that what Moses gave them was not really bread from heaven. (I have heard that Sinai Bedouins still gather a white excretion from aphids that they call manna. Like the Bible’s manna it must be gathered before the sun comes up to melt it.  I wonder if Jesus had that in mind in saying Moses did not give true bread from heaven.) He goes on to say that he is the true bread from heaven. Later in this Chapter Six, Jesus will speak of the bread that he will give them to eat, a bread that is his flesh for the life of the world. However, here he was calling himself bread in the sense that he will  nourishes their minds with wisdom.

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