Sermons from St Faith's
All Manna of Things!
Brenda Cottarel, Sunday,
August 2nd, 2015
I’m sure you have noticed the link between this
morning’s Old Testament reading, Psalm 78, the
Gospel (John 6: 24 – 35) and although we haven’t
sung them yet, the next two hymns. The link is
It’s like a heavenly bakery.
The O. T. reading from Exodus 16 tells us of Moses
asking God for help with the grumbling Israelites
complaining of hunger and thirst in the wilderness
and how they would have been better off staying in
Egypt being slaves because at least they would have
been fed. God sends down Manna, a sort of bread,
from heaven each morning, everybody eats well and
all have enough for the day, they are told they must
not keep it or store it, more will be provided the
In Psalm 78 we hear of this event in a more poetic
way “He rained down on them manna to eat and gave
them the grain of heaven”. This Psalm is credited to
Moses although I believe that hasn’t been proved.
In the Gospel of St John, the crowds are still
following Jesus and ask Him for a sign, Jesus
rebukes them, telling them they have only followed
Him because He had fed them. Last week’s Gospel told
us of that story, Jesus fed five thousand people
with five loaves and two fishes and there was twelve
baskets left over. Jesus goes on to tell the crowd
it was not Moses who had commanded the manna from
heaven, as they suggested but God, His father who
had sent the bread down from heaven, the bread that
gives life to the world. When the people ask for
some of that bread Jesus tells them, “ I am the
Bread of Life, whoever comes to me will never be
hungry”, He didn’t mean He had suddenly become a
slice of bread, but by believing in Him we could all
be satisfied and fulfilled spiritually. Jesus
challenges them and us, not to work for the food
that perishes but to work only for food that endures
eternal life, the bread of heaven.
Was that Jesus’ mission on earth? Or was it to be a
good teacher, well He was certainly that. Was it to
be a miracle worker? Yes He was that too. Was it to
set us an example of how we should live? Yes He did
I believe part of His mission on earth was to
satisfy, satiate our deepest spiritual needs, in
other words when He tells us “I am the bread of
life” He is telling us that “I alone can fully
satisfy you if you believe in me” and through Him we
will come to the Father.
Interestingly, while I was compiling this sermon, I
discovered that Bethlehem, His birthplace,
translates from modern Arabic as house of bread.
(That’s another one for the heavenly bakery)
So, Jesus will satisfy our deepest needs, I don’t
know what each of you would think they are. I came
up with five ideas.
1. We need to belong.
We all, I believe, have a need to belong. Jesus came
on earth so we could belong to the family of God, He
died to enable us to become brothers and sisters in
Christ and call God, our Father in heaven.
2. We need to be relieved of our
Just after the resurrection, we are told, in John
20, the disciples were gathered together behind
locked doors hiding because they were afraid of what
may happen to them, hadn’t they seen Jesus
crucified? Jesus just walks straight into that room
and says calmly “peace be with you”, another time He
relieved their fears by calming a storm on the Sea
of Galilee. Jesus relieves our fears if we listen.
3. We need Jesus to entertain our
We all have doubts and Jesus listens, that is He
entertains them, He doesn’t just dismiss them.
Famously, when Thomas doubted that the Lord had
risen, he told the other disciples that he would
only believe when he saw for himself the on Jesus’
hands and side. Was Jesus angry with him? No, He
offers the proof Thomas is looking for by showing
His hands to Thomas and tells him to put his finger
into the wounds and to put his hand into His side
where the sword had pierced Him then tells Thomas to
stop doubting and believe in Him. Jesus listens to
our doubts and deals with them if we have faith and
believe in Him.
4. We need to be reassured, to
have our questions answered.
We need to be heard, to have our questions answered,
to satisfy our curiosity, to give us wisdom. The
Pharisees asked Jesus questions on many occasions
for instance they asked Him whether it was right to
pay taxes to Caesar. This was a no win situation for
Jesus, if He said yes He would lose public support,
if He said no, the Pharisees would report Him to the
authorities, the Romans who took a dim view of such
things and punish Him. As usual, Jesus’ answer is
wise and intelligent He asks for a denarius, a coin,
studies it then says “give unto Caesar what is
Caesars and unto God what is Gods” Jesus is never
afraid to answer a question, albeit with another
5. We need friendship.
We all need a dear friend in our lives and if you
will ask Him and cultivate that friendship, He will
become your dear friend, a very dear and important
friend to you.
In conclusion, Jesus satisfies these needs:
2. Relief from our fears.
3. Entertains our doubts.
4. Answers our questions. (and
5. Dear friend to us.
You can see what these letters spell out … BREAD.