30 Therefore they said to Him, “What sign will You perform then, that we may see it and believe You? What work will You do? 31 Our fathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’ ” 32 Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
The Jews called for another sign like that of manna in the Old Testament. Jesus responded that it was not Moses that gave the manna but God Himself. God was now in the business of providing the bread of eternal life. The argument revolved around two kinds of bread.
Therefore they said to Him,
The Jews asked for another sign. One day previously had Jesus fed the 5,000, but that evidently was not enough of a “sign.” They were willing to make Him a “king” based on what they saw in that one miracle, yet even that miracle was not enough for them.
“What sign will You perform then,
The Jews boldly demanded a sign-miracle to authenticate Jesus’ spiritual credentials (1 Co 1:22).
that we may see it and believe You?
The Jews’ order was the reverse of how God operates. They thought they needed to “see” and then “believe.” However, God’s order is for us to believe and then see. Belief in Jesus allows for spiritual perception.
What work will You do?
The “work” that the Jews demanded here was that Jesus would perform a sign-miracle so that they could believe in Him.
Our fathers ate the manna in the desert;
The “manna” here harks back to the events of Exodus 16:4-36. Moses provided manna and Jesus provided food for the people.
as it is written,
These Jews appealed to Scripture to insinuate that Moses’ miracle was greater than Jesus’ sign-miracle. They quoted Psalm 78:24 as a proof text.
‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’ ”
The crowd felt that Jesus’ feeding the 5,000 was not as great as Moses’ providing manna in the wilderness. Moses did not depend on existing bread but provided bread straight from heaven without any other mediating factor.
Then Jesus said to them,
Jesus’ response was to warn the crowd that they misused Scripture in their response to Him; it was not Moses but God who provided the manna.
“Most assuredly, I say to you,
Again Jesus made a solemn comparison between Moses’ manna and His being the bread of God come down from heaven. The reason for the words “most assuredly” was to remind the crowd not to misuse and misquote Scripture. Their fallacy was that Moses gave them the manna.
Moses did not give you the bread from heaven,
The bread or manna that Moses gave was not eternal bread. Manna met their physical needs. Moses merely gave directions on where to find manna. Moses’ bread was of a different nature than the true bread from heaven.
but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven.
Jesus emphasized His role as the one sent from God to give eternal life. The Father is the giver of “the true bread.” The true bread is not the manna. Manna spoiled just like any other earthly food.
Jesus corrected the Jews’ thinking in three ways: (1) It was the “Father,” not Moses that gave manna to the Old Testament saints; (2) the Father was presently giving “the true bread” from heaven; and (3) the “true bread” was Jesus Himself, not manna.
The words “true bread” are a contrast to manna in the Old Testament. The bread that the Father gives is eternal life, not physical food. The word “gives” is in the present tense, indicating that was the reality of what the Father was doing through sending Jesus—giving true bread.
For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven
In this verse Jesus tied the argument together. As God gave manna from heaven, so He gave Jesus from heaven, from the eternal state. Jesus came from divine origin, from a pre-existent state. This was His incarnation. He would die by physical death in a human body to pay for the sins of the world. The bread that Moses gave was not the true bread.
and gives life to the world.”
Jesus is the source of eternal life for the world. He has life in Himself (Jn 1:4; 5:26). He will give His eternal life to anyone who believes on Him. He gives it not only to Israel but anyone who will embrace the Son. This is the purpose for which the Son stepped foot on earth.
Jesus gives the nourishment of the bread of eternal life.
God sending His Son was an advance over Moses’ providing manna in the wilderness. The true bread satisfies the soul. It was not like manna that satisfied the body. The manna perished like all other material food.
Manna was a type of the true bread. It was not the Antitype. The true bread is Jesus, the Antitype.