What are you complaining about?
A 2014 article found that Brits grumbled at least “11 times every weekday and 16 times over the weekend” (Milania). They do not file complaints with authorities and stores, but they still complain. Reviewing the Cerritos Beach Inn on Travelocity, one guest wrote, “the building was so close to the beach that we actually had to close the door as the surf was too loud. the owner and help were very nice, we got moved to an ocean view room for free (Larsmatic).” I don’t want to say all complaints are invalid. If your food isn’t cooked right or you see a truly dangerous situation you need to speak up and let things be known. But, in a world of grumbling and complaining maybe we ought to consider how God sees complaining. Exodus 16 is one example of the complaints of the people. The people first targeted Moses and Aaron but Moses points out to the people the real target of their murmuring was the Lord, “in the morning you shall see the glory of the Lord, because He has heard your grumbling against the Lord” (v7). Time after time the people complained about Moses because they were thirsty, tired, didn’t like his leadership, wanted to not enter the land God gave them et. And time and again God answered the complaints. In John, you have the Jews, probably those predisposed against Jesus, take up where those in the Exodus left off. They complained about his teaching because of the inference it drew between the Manna in the wilderness and himself. Their human knowing of him got in the way of their spiritual discernment of knowing Him. Why Not Complain? The reason is quite simple. Most things we gripe about we can’t change or even influence. Israel, in the desert, had no recourse except to be where they were with what they had. First Century Israel had the stories passed on from before that imbodied ‘truth’. When Jesus threatens this truth, they rise up in a hurry to defend their version of ‘truth’. Complaining has the outcome of proving the reality of sinful pride and hubris. It highlights the reality of prideful sin in our lives that date back since the fall. Our belief that our expectations, our needs, and our wants take precedence is the same type of pride that teased Eve and Adam into seeking to be gods. It is the pride that has those searching for Jesus say, “Sir, give us this bread always” (v34). Very similar to 4:15, when the woman Jesus speaks with says, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.” God’s Response I find it interesting how quick he is to correct the crowd who has followed him. They seek a miracle at least equal to that of Moses giving the people bread (v31). But Jesus doesn’t let this go unchallenged. Immediately he corrects them and says, “it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father” and then explains a superior bread, himself, “but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven”. “I am the Bread of life” is Jesus’ self-description of who he is and what he is about. Jesus is the bread from heaven. He “gives life to the world.” There is no hunger or thirst when one comes to, when one believes in Jesus. He is the “food that endures to salvation” in verse 27. By the way, don’t think of these as two separate things. To come to Jesus is to believe in Jesus and to believe in Jesus is to come to Jesus. For He is the source and the means of salvation. This was the purpose for which Jesus was sent. Verse 27 reads, “for on him [Jesus] God the Father has set his seal.” A seal could mark a piece of property, much like our branding of animals does today. It also is a seal of authenticity (Barry). One who has been ‘sealed’ is one who may be dispatched or appointed with the authority of the sending party (Friberg, Friberg, and Miller). Bread from Heaven The first morning with Manna is described in Exodus 16:14-15; And when the dew had gone up, there was on the face of the wilderness a fine, flake-like thing, fine as frost on the ground. 15 When the people of Israel saw it, they said to one another, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was. And Moses said to them, “It is the bread that the Lord has given you to eat. The glory of the Lord promised by Moses, to the people, the next morning is flaky looking frost with which they were to gather and eat. The promise of God’s glory and the reality that it sustained them throughout the exodus speaks volumes to the grace and mercy of God. We never read of God suspending the Manna until they entered the promised land. Despite their continued disobedience and grumbling etc. God remains faithful. And had they understood this and remained amazed at it, they might have discovered that He was the Lord your God (v.14). Sometimes familiarity causes us to lose our wonder at the things around us. Watch a YouTube video of a child who hears their parent’s voice for the first time. You won’t take hearing for granted again. We should never take such things for granted because they are all given by God. That is why, at this table, we make a point of explaining that the real spiritual presence of Christ is with us as we eat and drink to further assure us, remind us, and encourage us as we live for Him. Let us pray and come to His table. Works Cited Barry, John D. et al. NIV Faithlife Study Bible. Bellingham: Lexham Press, 2012. Print. Friberg, Timothy, Barbara Friberg, and Neva F Miller. Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament. Victoria, B.C.: Trafford, 2005. Print. Larsmatic. "Review of Cerritos Beach Inn." Tripadvisor.com. 2017. Web. 3 Aug. 2018. Milania, Keyan. "Grump Britain: This Is Why We Are a Nation of Moaners." Dailystar.co.uk. 2014. Web. 3 Aug. 2018. Bibliography Barry, John D. et al. NIV Faithlife Study Bible. Bellingham: Lexham Press, 2012. Print. Beasley-Murray, George R. Word Biblical Commentary, Volume 36: John. 2nd ed. Dallas`: Word, Incorporated, 2002. Print. Bootsma, Dave. "It Doesn't Matter What You Believe?" Sermoncentral.com. 2006. Web. 2 Aug. 2018. Carson, Donald Arthur. The Gospel According to John. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2016. Print. Coleman, Nancy. "Doctors Find 27 Contact Lenses in Woman's Eye." CNN. 2017. Web. 3 Aug. 2018. Fletcher, Dan. "10 Twitter Questions for Ashton Kutcher." TIME.com. 2009. Web. 3 Aug. 2018. Fredrikson, Roger L., and Lloyd J. Ogilvie. The Preacher’s Commentary Series, Volume 27: John. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Inc., 1985. Print. Friberg, Timothy, Barbara Friberg, and Neva F Miller. Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament. Victoria, B.C.: Trafford, 2005. Print. Gangel, Kenneth O, and Max E Anders. John. Nashville, Tenn.: Holman Reference, 2000. Print. Larsmatic. "Review of Cerritos Beach Inn." Tripadvisor.com. 2017. Web. 3 Aug. 2018. Milania, Keyan. "Grump Britain: This Is Why We Are a Nation of Moaners." Dailystar.co.uk. 2014. Web. 3 Aug. 2018. Nanette. "Visiting The Hermitage Artist Retreat." Nanette's New Life - Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes. 2015. Print. Newman, Barclay Moon. A Concise Greek-English Dictionary of the New Testament. Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 2010. Print. Walzer, Michael. Exodus and Revolution. [New York]: Basic Books, 1998. Print. Wilkerson, Alan. Fast Food or Feasting? Portland: self, 2009. Web. 2 Aug. 2018. Sermon for Kenton Church.