I’m not going to
let go of you!
Elijah went a day’s journey into the desert, until he came to a broom tree and sat beneath it. He prayed for death saying: “This is enough, O LORD! Take my life, for I am no better than my fathers.” He lay down and fell asleep under the broom tree, but then an angel touched him and ordered him to get up and eat. Elijah looked and there at his head was a hearth cake and a jug of water. After he ate and drank, he lay down again, but the angel of the LORD came back a second time, touched him, and ordered, “Get up and eat, else the journey will be too long for you!” He got up, ate, and drank; then strengthened by that food, he walked forty days and forty nights to the mountain of God, Horeb.
Elijah had defeated the prophets of Baal – a real high point in which he, acting a God’s prophet, had seen God’s total victory. Now he had run off, afraid of Jezebel’s revenge. It is odd, isn’t it – Elijah sees the strength of God’s hand and then looses trust that God could possibly protect him.
If we have ever been part of some great victory, be it personal or part of a team, it is unlikely that our next act would be to run off in fear and pray for death. Well that’s exactly what Elijah did. Elijah went a day’s journey into the desert, until he came to a broom tree and sat beneath it. He prayed for death.
The power of God comes to the fore again. He steps in and sends a message to Elijah – get up and eat. He sent Elijah bread and water. Even though Elijah gave up again, God sent more bread and His messenger: the angel of the LORD came back a second time, touched him, and ordered, “Get up and eat, else the journey will be too long for you!”
God had plans for Elijah despite Elijah’s lack of faith and his fear. God was not going to let go of him.
The same message is apparent in Jesus’ discourse with the Jews. They murmured about Jesus. They thought they had Him defined: “Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph? Do we not know his father and mother?” Yet He would not give up. Having fed them, having taught them about the value of the Bread that came down from Heaven, He was still trying to lead them to the ultimate truth: “I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but they died; this is the bread that comes down from heaven so that one may eat it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever…”
That is what the Bread of Life is all about. It is Jesus’ everlasting expression of His abiding presence, the fact that He remains with us, feeds us, and cares for us. Despite our weaknesses and failing, He will never give up on us or leave us. Our journey is fed by the Bread that came down from Heaven; Bread that brings us eternal life.