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No claims of absolute originality are made for this material. As one man said, "I milk a lot of cows, but I churn my own butter." Please use these sermons as the Lord leads, but nothing on this site may be used for profit without my expressed, written permission!

 

 

 

Exodus 16:11-15

MANNA: WHAT IS IT?

Intro: As the children of Israel journeyed from Egypt toward Canaan, they surely had many needs.  There were, by some estimates, about two million of them!  They needed massive amounts of food and water.  Both of these needs were met by the supernatural power of God.  This passage gives us some insight into the food they ate as they journeyed.

      The Manna that fell in the wilderness was a great blessing to the people of Israel.  It fed them in that harsh land for forty years.  God used it to sustain them, strengthen them and to supply them until they arrived in Canaan.  The Manna was given to them to feed their fleshly bodies.  The Manna also serves to teach us spiritual truth.

      While Jesus lived on this earth, the Jews challenged Him to prove to them that He was Who He claimed to be.  They suggested that if He had really been sent by God He would give them Manna from Heaven to eat, like Moses had given their forefathers, John 6:31.  In response, Jesus told them that God, not Moses, had given their fathers bread in the wilderness.  He also told them that the Manna served an even greater purpose than that of feeding a people long dead.  He told them that the Manna represented Him.  Jesus claimed that He was the Bread of Life, John 6:32-35; 48; 51.  Jesus identifies Himself with the ancient Manna that fed Israel.

      Now, when the people of Israel first encountered the little pieces of bread lying on the ground, they looked at it and called it Manna. The word Manna means “What is it?”   I would like to take that question for my title today.  I want to show you what the Manna was why it represents Jesus.  Let’s notice a few facts about the Manna today.  It might be God will use this passage to help you come to know Jesus, or to come to know Him better.

 

  I.  v. 4                ITS CONCEPTION PICTURES JESUS

A.  The idea for the Manna originated with God.  It was not man’s idea.  All the people of Israel could think of was the food they had left behind in Egypt.  Left to themselves, they would have produced something they could have been a part of.  The people would have sought out something that would have gratified their flesh.  By sending the Manna, God totally removed man from the equation.  You see, the Manna was free; all the people had to do was stoop down and pick it up, v. 14-17.  The Manna was also the gift of free grace, v. 4.  They deserved judgment and death, but God gave them life!

B.  That is exactly what God has done in the area of salvation.  Left to himself, man will seek out a religious experience that satisfies and gratifies his flesh.  Man would have never conceived of a plan that demanded nothing of man.  Man wants to work.  Man wants to earn his salvation by the good works he does. Man likes to brag!  He likes to flaunt his achievements.  But, that is not God’s plan; Eph. 2:8-9.  God’s plan is for man to come to Him through Jesus and through Jesus alone.  There is no other plan of salvation available that will save the human soul, John 14:6; Acts 4:12; Acts 16:31.  Salvation is a not about what we can do, but it is all about what Jesus has done.  Friend, you can do anything you please; believe anything you choose; join any group our church out there; but salvation and peace will only be found in one place; and that place is in Jesus Christ!

 

 II.                   ITS CHARACTERISTICS PICTURE JESUS

(Ill. The details the Bible uses to describe the Manna that fell in the wilderness reveal a beautiful picture of the Lord Jesus.)

A.  6:14, 31  Its Appearance – The way the Manna looked paints a picture of Jesus.

1.  6:14  It Was Small – This speaks of His humility.  He is the Creator of the universe, John 1:3; Col. 1:16-17.  He is God Almighty, John 1:1.  Yet, He came into this world and robed Himself in human flesh, John 1:14.  He humbled Himself and became a servant so that He might die for His people on the cross, Phil. 2:5-8.  What love!  What grace!  What supreme condescension!

2.  6:14  It Was Round – Like a circle that has no beginning and no ending; Jesus Christ is eternally God.  He did not have His beginning at Bethlehem; but was able to proclaim, “Before Abraham was, I am,” John 8:58.  And, just as He had no beginning, He shall have no ending, Heb. 7:25.  Our Savior is eternal.

3.  6:31  It Was White – White like the purest of snow.  The whiteness of the Manna speaks of the purity of Jesus.  He was born into this world without the taint of human sin, 1 Pet. 2:22; 1 John 3:5; Heb. 7:26.  In fact, He was not even able to sin!  He lived without sin, so that He might die for sin on the cross, Heb. 9:26.  Only a sinless man could do that!

B.  6:16, 31, 35  Its Appeal –God designed the Manna in such a way that it was a blessing to everyone who ate it.

1.  v. 31  It Was Sweet – The taste of the Manna was like tasting “wafers made with honey”.  No doubt it was pleasant surprise to everyone who placed in on their tongue.  This is a great picture of the Lord Jesus Christ.  To the sinner, Jesus appears to be harsh, a cosmic killjoy Who delights in keeping people from having fun.  But, when you come to know Him, you find that He is the delight of the soul!  You find that He makes life worth living.  The songwriter said: Every day with Jesus is sweeter than the day before.  The Psalmist said it this way, “O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him,” Psalm 34:8.  That has been my experience and I am guessing it has been your too, if you are saved.

2. 6:16, 35  It Was Sufficient – For 40 years the Manna was sufficient for the young ones and the old one and for everyone in between.  The Manna was right for everybody!  The growing boy grew into manhood off the nourishment of the Manna.  The young girl grew into a woman by eating the Manna.  It sustained the rich and the poor.  It fed the leader and the follower.  It was good enough to sustain the lives of the entire congregation of Israel for 40 years.

            Again, this is a picture of Jesus!  He is an all-sufficient Savior.  Regardless of where you are in life, or where you have been, Jesus is all you need!  He can save the young ones; He can save the old ones and He can save all the ones in between.  He can save rich folks, poor folks and folks who are getting by.  He can save religious folks and wicked folks.  In fact, He can and will save anyone who will come to Him and ask, Rom. 10:13; Rev. 22:17. The invitation Jesus offers is good for “whosoever will”, Matt. 11:28.  The Manna did not fail until they arrived in the Promised Land; the salvation Jesus gives will never fail, John 10:28; John 6:37-40!  It will safely shepherd the people of God home to glory!

 

      (Note: Two thoughts are worthy of note right here.  First, according to 16:16-18, no matter how much Manna a person gathered, they always had the right amount.  When you come to Jesus, you will find that He is sufficient to save your soul!

            Second, According to Num. 11:8, after two years, some people got tired of the Manna.  They tried every trick at their disposal to change its flavor.  But, instead of improving the taste, their attempts to make the Manna better ruined the taste.  When man adds his alterations to the Gospel message to make it more appealing, he robs it of its saving power!  The Gospel is sufficient just like it is, Rom. 1:16!)

C.  Its Appropriation – The way the children of Israel appropriated the Manna also paints a picture of how people must come to Jesus.

1.  6:14-15  It Was Appropriated By Stooping – The Manna appeared on the ground.  In order to gather it, the people had to bend their knees and get down there where it was.

            Friends, the only way to come to Jesus for salvation is with a humble heart, Matt. 18:2-4.  No one comes to Jesus filled with pride and thinking they are adequate within themselves.  The only ones who can come to Him are those who see themselves as sinners in need of a Savior.  Those who come to Jesus do so by bowing in humble repentance, Acts 17:30!

2.  6:16-18  It Was Appropriated By Swallowing – The Manna was gathered by the men of the tent.  When the Manna was brought into the tent, it was divided out according to the number of people in the tent.  The Manna was there, but it could help no one until it was eaten.  The only way to benefit from the Manna was to get it inside you!

            Again, this speaks to us of Jesus!  You can come to church, carry the right Bible, hear sermons, song songs, pray prayers and do all the religious stuff you want to.  But, you will never be saved until you come to Jesus for yourself.  No one can do it for you.  Thank God for saved moms and dads, but children cannot ride into Heaven on their coattails.  Grandparents that love Jesus are a blessing, but you have to be saved for yourself.  Here again the words of the Bible, Acts 16:31; John 3:3, 7; Rom. 10:9; Rom. 10:13.

 

III.                             ITS COMING PICTURES JESUS

(Ill. Where the Manna came and to who it appeared also says something about this miracle bread.)

A.  16:1, 14  It Came To A Forsaken Place – The children of Israel were wandering around in a harsh, barren wilderness when the Manna began to appear.  When Jesus came, He came for people who were trapped in the wilderness of their sins, Eph. 2:1-3.  He came to deliver people who had no hope of delivering themselves.  He came to set the captives of sin free, Luke 4:18.  Thank God, Jesus came to where we were.  Had He just come for the good people, Heaven would have been a lonely place.  No, He came for the lost, the sinful and damned.  He came for us, Mark 2:17.

B.  16:2-3  It Came To A Foolish People – God sent the Manna to a people who longed for what they had left behind in Egypt.  They were tired of God’s plan and God’s way.  They did not deserve His blessings.  Still, He sent those foolish people the food they needed.

            So it is with Jesus Christ.  He came to a people that wanted nothing to do with Him, John 1:11.  He came to a people that hated Him, mocked Him and ultimately crucified Him.  Yet, He came to them anyway.  He came in love, grace and forgiveness.  He came to offer them eternal life, if they would only believe.  He makes the same offer to every one in this room today.

      Folks, I was not looking for Him when He came to me.  I was lost and on my way to Hell.  I knew there was a God and that I was going to meet Him some day.  I knew I would probably face Him in judgment.  But, I did not care about Him.  I did not give Him much thought at all.  Yet, it appears that He gave me plenty of thought.  He broke into my darkness and called me to new life in Jesus Christ. (Ill. “When He reached down His hand for me!”)

 

Conc: What about you?  Have you ever tasted that Heavenly Bread?  Have you been saved by the grace of God?  If you have, then you know what “IT” is all about!  If not, you can be, if the Lord is calling you.  Verse 4 tells us that the Manna was sent to test the people.  If was sent to test their obedience.  The same is true with Jesus, John 8:24.  There is so much more that could be said about the Manna.  Verse 7 tells us that the Manna was sent to reveal God’s glory.  Friends, God receives more glory from saving an old sinner than from anything else in this world.  If you need Him why not give Him glory and come to Him today?

      Can you imagine eating the same food for forty straight years?  I am sure many got bored with the same old Manna year after year.  That is why some tried to change is, Num 11.  Well, some have gotten that way about Jesus too.  The sameness of going to church and serving the Lord has led to boredom in your life, and you are not as close to Him today as you once were or as you need to be.  You need to slip into this altar today and say, “Thank you Lord for giving me the Bread of Life.  Thank you for the Heavenly Manna.  Thank you for saving my soul.”  Think about what a mess you would be in if He had not saved you!

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