In “the gospel of the new manna” Jefferson Vann explains why a future resurrection is essential to the gospel message.
John 6:49-51 (CSB)
John 6:49 Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died.
John 6:50 “This is the bread that comes down from heaven so that anyone may eat of it and not die.
John 6:51 “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread he will live forever. The bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.
the gospel of the new manna
Jesus was telling his people a wonderful truth, but they were not getting it. All the essentials elements of the gospel were there in his presentation. Notice those elements as I recount them:
First, we have nothing inherent within us which will allow us to live forever.
Perhaps the crowd listening to Jesus believed that they had eternal life by virtue of their nationality. If so, Jesus shuts out that argument from consideration immediately. He tells them that their ancestors (people just like them) were blessed to have experienced great miracles. He notes that they ate the manna in the wilderness. But even experiencing that great miracle did not change their status as sons and daughters of Adam.
You and I have the same status as well. No religious experience will change that. We are born mortal and we will eventually die because of that inherent mortality. Like those ancient Israelites, we may be blessed with a knowledge of God that surpasses what others have experienced. But that knowledge and that experience does not change our status as mortals. We are born, we live, we die. If we run across a few morsels of manna sometime, that’s great. But it does not change our in Adam status.
Secondly, there is something that can change us from mortals to immortals.
Think about it. If everyone is locked into the status of mortality forever, then Jesus would have nothing to say. If immortality were impossible, then Jesus would have had to stop at verse 49.
Instead, he tells his people that there is a new manna, that does what the old manna could not. The Israelites ate the old manna and stayed alive temporarily as they traveled from Egypt to the promised land. But the new manna offers a life without end.
Thirdly, Jesus is that something.
And Jesus says that he is that new manna. He is the new bread coming down from the sky.
The old manna had to be trusted in order to deliver the Israelites from starvation. They had to trust that this stuff would keep them alive.
As the new manna, Jesus has to be believed in and trusted in order for us to reap the benefit: a permanent life.
We demonstrate that we trust Jesus when we put our faith in him to raise us from the dead when he comes, and give us permanent lives at that time.
Note that Jesus himself is the means of delivering us from our present mortal lives — in Adam — into our future immortal lives in Christ. Death itself does not do that. Many Christians have been taught that they gain immortality when they die. If that were the case, Jesus would not have needed to die for us.
The good news of a resurrection at Christ’s returns completes the gospel. Without a resurrection, there would be no way to reconcile the two realities: that we are still mortal, but Christ offers a permanent life after this. The resurrection is the point in time when eternity becomes possible for us again.
Lord, make us evangelists who keep busy sharing the gospel of the new manna!
For more about the necessity of a resurrection, see: