“So they said to him, “Then what sign do you do, that we may see and believe you? What work do you perform? Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’ ” Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven.” (John 6:30–32, ESV)
When Jesus tells the Jews to [work for] the food that endures to eternal life (5.27) and then implies and later directly states that he, in fact, is that food, his listeners respond with this line of thought. “If you truly are from God, then what sign do you perform to prove that assertion? Our ancestors ate manna in the desert for 40 years, this was a great sign of God’s work, what sign, Jesus, do you perform?” [Remember here that these are the very same people who had just seen him turn 5 loaves and 2 fish into a meal for 5000ish people! One wonders what sign might have convinced them if that one didn’t!]
The Jews understood that manna—the miraculous food that literally came down from heaven every day for 40 years! while the Jews were in the wilderness—was bread from heaven, or from God. Nehemiah believed it:
“You gave them bread from heaven for their hunger and brought water for them out of the rock for their thirst, and you told them to go in to possess the land that you had sworn to give them.” (Nehemiah 9:15, ESV)
The psalmist believed it:
“They asked, and he brought quail, and gave them bread from heaven in abundance.” (Psalm 105:40, ESV)
Jesus proceeds to point out to the Jews, what they had missed about that sign. It was only a type, or foreshadowing of what was to come. The fulfillment [anti-type for Bible studs; the word anti-type means “imprint”]. The fathers received the miracle of manna—bread from heaven. They ate that bread. They died. When Jesus says: I am the Bread of Life, he is careful to point out again and again, that he, in contrast to the manna from heaven, is able to give eternal life.
The manna then, was meant to point the Jews to a greater food that would give eternal satisfaction, rather than merely physical satisfaction.
Jesus is the Bread of Life eternal.