And they took their journey from Elim, and all the congregation of the children of Israel came to the wilderness of Sin…
I am the living bread... he shall live for ever. John 6:51. Having given the manna story, discussed the miracle, and given the lessons bearing on our providential path, we now go up to the higher level, and listen to the truths taught in relation to the kingdom of God's grace. These gather round the central truth - that the Lord Jesus Christ is the nutriment of the soul. For that truth we have his own supreme authority. [See the full discourse from his own lips on the manna, in John 6.] Avoid small typologies - small every way - e.g., that the roundness of the manna stands for Christ's eternity; its whiteness for his purity; its sweetness for the preciousness of Christ. When men would estimate the majesty of a mountain they play not with the pebbles at its feet.
I. THE OBJECT OF GOD IN THE GIFT OF THE HEAVENLY MANNA. Why Christ? Long before Israel cried, the Father saw the coming distress; and resolved to give the manna to meet it. So with Christ. Christ was given for atonement, and to bring from under the cloud of condemnation; but also for other reasons beyond, to give life and strength to the moral and spiritual man. There is a rich provision in the world for the body and for the mind [describe]; but there is something higher in man - the spiritual - not only a ψυχή, but a πνεῦμα - for which provision must be made.
II. THE FAMINE OF THE SOUL WITHOUT CHRIST. Very difficult to imagine a world without bread; more to suppose a world without Christ. His name, his history, his death, his reign, his presence, power, and love are implied, and involved always, everywhere, in all the phenomena of life. But endeavour to imagine Christ annihilated - no name of Christ to entwine in the lullaby at the cradle, and so on through every stage and circumstance of life, till the dying moment - no Christ for the guilty, sinning, sorrowing, tempted, etc. etc. What a famine of the soul!
III. THE SUPPLY OF THE SOUL WITH CHRIST. Having seen what the world would be without Christ, see positively what Christ is to the world. The understanding cannot live without objective truth (mere opinion will not suffice); Christ is that truth: nor the heart without a supreme object of love; Christ that object: nor the conscience without authority behind its moral imperative; Christ is that authority: nor the will without a living inward abiding power; and Christ is that power. In very real and intelligible sense, Christ is the manna, bread, nutriment, sustenance, vitality, and power of the believing soul.
IV. THE FULNESS OF THE SUPPLY. All we need certainly in bread, probably in the manna, assuredly in Christ.
V. ITS FREENESS. Men may confuse themselves, and imagine they "get" their own bread. But manna was manifestly the free gift of heaven. So Christ. This the one truth, which it is so difficult for men to receive. See 1 John 5:11, 12; Romans 6:23.
VI. ITS MYSTERY. The name of the desert provision was "Man-Hu?" - "What is it?" Men did not solve the mystery ere they ate. Why should men wait to solve the mystery of Christ's person, office, etc. etc., ere they eat "the living bread"?
VII. ITS NEARNESS. Both the manna and Christ at every man's tent-door.
VIII. ITS APPROPRIATION. Vain that manna for the two millions, if no man went out to gather; so vain the all-sufficiency of Christ, if no man "comes," "believes," appropriates. John 6:35, 37, 40, 47, 57.
IX. ITS EVERY-DAYNESS. NO man can live upon a past experience of the sufficiency of Christ.
X. ITS ORDER. Full and free as the supply of manna was, its appropriation and use were under Divine direction, were according to a certain order. So are there now channels, means, ordinances of grace, which no man can safely neglect.
XI. THE AIM IN MAN'S APPROPRIATION. Not self-indulgence; not merely his own growth. No man an end unto himself. The final end of food is strength, work, good for others. The danger of middle-class evangelicalism is that of making personal salvation the ultimate aim of God's grace. We are saved, that we may save. The end of bread is labour.
XII. The subject carries our thoughts on to THE HIDDEN MANNA. Revelation 2:17. Ñ Christ will be the soul's nutriment in heaven. "Hidden," for there will be in heaven as yet undiscovered glories of Christ the Lord. For the final lesson see John 6:27. - R.
Parallel VersesKJV: And they took their journey from Elim, and all the congregation of the children of Israel came unto the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after their departing out of the land of Egypt.
WEB: They took their journey from Elim, and all the congregation of the children of Israel came to the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after their departing out of the land of Egypt.