Not The Bread You Were Expecting
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Not The Bread You Were Expecting
1 Kings 19:4-8
John 6:35, 41-51
Life is full of all kinds of expectations. When we ask our children to do something we expect them to obey. When we ask for a double big bacon classic, we expect to get a double big bacon classic and not a crispy chicken sandwich. When we go to the gas pump these days we can expect to twice as broke than when we first got there. You would expect your husband to say I love you before he goes into surgery but you don’t expect him to ask you to make sure that you take care of the neighbor’s dog. And then in all seriousness, when we pray to God, we expect him to hear our prayers and answer them. However, the answer we receive might not always be what we expected or even wanted but I can almost guarantee that it will be the one that we need.
Elijah had Just proven Baal to be a false god and that the one true God and creator of universe whom he served and whom Israel should have been serving was alive, present, and powerful. In the midst of that Elijah had every prophet of Baal killed. King Ahab being upset and probably scared about this did what any good king would do. He went and told the true ruler of the kingdom, his wife Queen Jezebel. Ahab was both a bad and evil king but was also a weak king and his queen was the one who really called the shots. When she heard what had happened, she sent word to Elijah that she was coming for him and she was coming for blood. Elijah then ran away in fear into the wilderness.
Where we pick up in our scripture reading for today Elijah is tired and afraid and at this point, he just wants God to take him out of this world. He prays for help in this matter and God answers his prayer but not in the way that he expected. An angel appears before him to wake him up and encourages him to eat and drink some food that he has brought for him. Elijah goes back to sleep and is given food again. It appears that it was enough for Elijah to survive another 40 days until he reached the Mountain of God. He was given bread that he wasn’t expecting to answer a prayer in a way that he was not expecting or desired. He was done and over, this was his new will. However, God had a different will for him to live and to continue serving him. He answered the prayer by providing for his survival along the way and instead of giving him what he wanted he gave him what he needed.
The people of Israel were for a long time awaiting the Messiah as it was foretold by the prophets. However, everyone had their own ideas, desires, and dreams of who and what kind of person this messiah should be. They had an expectation of something but did not get what they expected or wanted but we all received what we really needed. Many expected a strong military ruler to come and lead the people and armies of Israel to over throw the Roman occupation and therefore making Israel the new nation and empire of the world instead of Rome. They expected the Messiah to come down from heaven as a grown-up man ready to rule. They did not expect the messiah to come down as a child from humble beginnings. This is why they grumbled among themselves when Jesus claims to be the one who came down from heaven as they watched him grow up and they knew his parents.
Jesus explains to them that what they were seeing and hearing is exactly what was written and told by the prophets of old. That “they will all be taught by God.” Jesus claims the sonship from God and claims divinity of himself. Only he is not the Messiah or the God that they expected but he is the one that we all needed. He is not the bread that they were expecting but he is the bread that they needed. They were missing the bigger picture. The problem with the world was not the Roman occupation though this was what was most troubling to them and on the front of their minds at the time. However, the real problem with the world started 4000 years earlier when the first lie was told and when the first decision of disobedience was made. Sin was the biggest problem in the world and it has killed and oppressed more people than any empire or dictatorship ever could.
When the people were looking for bread from heaven, they were expecting bread like the manna that came down in the morning for the people to eat. This bread people would eat but would be hungry again while Jesus claims to be a bread that one may eat and never grow hungry and may never die. This bread would solve the sin crisis in the world. This is the bread unexpected but the bread that is desperately needed.
We live in a world today that is still in need of this bread that Jesus spoke of. We live in a world today that hates His Word and claims now that the Bible itself is considered hate speech. However, the truth is that the Bible, the Word of God is actually love speech. It speaks about love for those who are lost and perishing and are in need of this life-giving bread. However, the Bible also pin points the root of the problems of the world which is sin. When you mention or point to someone’s sin in today’s culture and world you are considered exclusionary and hateful. The reality it is those who are making these claims about the Bible that are actually hateful. They are hateful against all things Christian and all things Jesus. They hate it because it is infallible truth. It is not the bread that they are seeking or want but it is the bread that they need. The Bible expresses love for the bread came down from heaven to give up its life for the world. People still grumble about it today in the same way that they did back then. How can Jesus be the only cure to evil and sin in the world. There are so many other options, faiths and beliefs. How do we know that they are not true instead? How do we know that the Quran isn’t the truth? How do we know that Buddha isn’t the truth? How do we know that Scientology isn’t the truth? The Bible excludes all of these believes as possible truths so it is hateful. However, these other believes also exclude the Bible which makes them just as hateful.
The Bible is not the bread that these people were expecting. They were expecting something like the Quran, or some other new age faith. However, the Bible expresses love for those who are lost in these new age beliefs and only the Bible offers a solution to the real problem which is sin. The Quran does not offer you a solution to your sin that is obtainable. Buddha does not offer you salvation from your sin. Christ is the only one who offers us his life-giving flesh to rescue us from everything we have ever done wrong. He is the only one who offers us eternal salvation and eternal life. He is the only one who gives us love speech instead of hate speech. He is not the bread that we expected but he is the solution that we needed and still need to this day. It is the bread that asks us to walk in his steps and love as he loved.