Read verses 30-33
Q: Why should we not be surprised that they requested a sign?
A: Paul tells us that this is a characteristic at the core of Jewish culture and society.
For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness,
— 1 Corinthians 1:22-23
Q: So did they bring up the miracle of the manna just because they had just been fed?
A: Although this cannot be discounted as a major factor, we must also consider that a common teaching by the rabbis of the time was that when the Messiah came, He would duplicate the miracle of the manna as part of the fulfillment of the promise that He would come in the character of Moses.
“The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen, you shall listen to him.
— Deuteronomy 18:15
Point: They actually knew that an “attesting sign” of the true Messiah would be to supernaturally feed them, but failed not only to believe in the greater spiritual meaning of these things, but failed to believe in spite of seeing it literally fulfilled!
Q: What is particularly ironic about the Scripture they quote to Jesus in v.31?
A: It is from Psalm 78, the whole context of which is a teaching about Israel’s historic unfaithfulness, that they failed to learn and put into practice the correct meaning of all the signs and miracle God performed on their behalf. They are replaying this very unfaithfulness and rejection of God’s Word once again.
Q: What indicates that they are spiritually divergent again in their thinking from Jesus’ teaching?
A: Jesus has to point out to them that Moses did not actually effect the miracle, but it was supplied by the Father, and God the Father is the actual source both in Moses’ time and now through Jesus.
Q: What do we know bread to be representative of throughout Scripture?
A: The Word of God, upon which Jesus will further elaborate shortly.
Q: So how is this a dramatic illustration especially in the comparison between Christ and Moses?
A: Through Moses God provided not just the physical bread of life, but the Word of God which was the spiritual bread of life which foreshadowed the true Word to come. Now “the true bread out of heaven” has been literally provided by the Father, the fulfillment of all which began through Moses.
For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace. For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ. No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.
— John 1:16-18
Q: Why should the Jews of Jesus’ day have known the greater meaning of the manna as representing of God’s Word?
A: It was clearly explained as such in the Word given through Moses.
“He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the lord.
— Deuteronomy 8:3
Q: What did Jesus plainly reveal about Himself?
A: He reveals His person as what we commonly refer to as the “Bread of Life”, a distinction which even in Jesus’ time could not be taken for anything short of announcing He is the Messiah. But He also added that that He not only “comes down out of heaven” to give life just to the Jews, but “gives life to the world”.
Application: Although God is always faithful where our personal needs are concerned, earthly concerns are never to be pursued at the expense of the eternal. God’s provision is always focused on the greater goal of eternal life.