The Bread of Life
Adult 1 Sunday School Class John 6:22-35 May 6, 2012
Theme: The phrase "I am" forms a distinctive self-revelation of Jesus in the Gospel of John. Jesus tells the people in this passage that He is the "bread of life" (v.35). He promised His followers that if they come to Him, they would never hunger or thirst.
Understanding and Interpreting the Scriptures (responses are in bold print)
Please explain the meaning or significance of the following verses:
* John 6:22 and 23, "The day following, when the people which stood on the other side of the sea saw that there was none other boat there, save that one whereinto his disciples were gone away alone; 23. (Howbeit there came other boats from Tiberias nigh unto the place where they did eat bread, after that the Lord had given thanks " The day following Jesus' feeding of the 5000, the people went out to seek Jesus. They knew that He had not left on the boat with His disciples and sailed across the Sea of Galilee. Boats in and out of port were a rare occasion, so it would have been easy for people to know the comings and goings of those who travelled. 23. Other boats had come from Tiberias to the shore where the crowd had eaten bread that Jesus provided and given thanks.
* V.24 and 25, "When the people therefore saw that Jesus was not there, neither his disciples, they also took shipping, and came to Capernaum, seeking for Jesus. 25. And when they found him on the other side of the sea, they said unto him, Rabbi, when camest thou hither?"
The people were looking for Jesus, but he was not there. "Many" (not all), got into boats and sailed to Capernaum. Earlier, His disciples had been crossing the sea at dusk when it was the choppiest. While walking on water, Jesus spoke, the sea calmed along with their fears, and He got into their boat in the middle of the sea. Jesus had just proven that he could feed the multitudes, He now showed that He could conquer nature. The "many" found Jesus on the other side at Capernaum; they asked Jesus how did he get there? No one saw Him sail. To walk around from Tiberias to Capernaum would not have given Him time to beat the "many" who arrived by boat. The Gospels of Matthew 14:22-26; Mark 6:45-51; and John 6:16-21 provides a greater explanation
of this story.
*V. 26 and 27, "Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. 27. Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed." The "many" caught up with Jesus on the Capernaum side and He began to teach just as before. Jesus said, they came to Him, not for the miracles, but the food that he had provided. 27. Jesus provides mixed metaphors when he compares food (Jesus is the Bread of Life) for spiritual needs verses food for physical needs. Like the Samaritan woman, Jesus said that He was the "Living Water" which provides eternal life. "God the Father sealed", is an indication that the Heavenly Father approved or was pleased with His Son (John 3:33). God shows approval in other sections of the Bible (2 Cor 1:22, Ephesians 1:13; 4:30; John 1:32-34)
*v.28 and 29, "Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? 29. Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent." Labour in verse 27 and work in verse 28 come from the same Greek word. In v.28, the root word "work" is used as a verb in the first instance and as a noun in the second instance, "works of God". The key point being made is that one can believe in biblical facts, concepts, and ethics about Jesus, but still not have faith in Him. The "work of God" is the hardest work of all and must require suspending disbelief, stifling mistrust, and ignoring fear. It requires a courageous prayer of confidence, from a humble heart; which is certainly not easy, or else everyone would believe. The Gospel message here is in v.29, "…the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent."
* v.30 and 31, "They said therefore unto him, What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? What dost thou work? 31. Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat." These verses show one consistent fact about the Israelites throughout the centuries: they have extremely short memories. They are asking for Jesus to show them a sign (i.e. miracle) so that they might believe. Aren't these the same people who less than 48 hours ago witnessed Jesus feeding 5,000? Their forefathers had forgotten that they had been freed from bondage, saw the destruction of Pharaoh’s army, and the parting of the Red Sea, yet they claimed when distressed, that Moses had lead them into the desert to die. I guess they were saying that Jesus feeding 5,000 was nothing compared to Moses feeding (manna from heaven) their ancestors for 40 years. What the "many" didn't seem to realize was that their ancestors had abandoned their faith, in spite of daily miracles. We have come from "manna from heaven" in the wilderness in the OT (Psalm 78:23-25), to "the Bread of Life" which was Jesus in the NT. What does God, through Jesus, have to show us so that we might believe and receive the "Bread of Life"?
*v.32 and 33, "Then Jesus said unto them, Verily verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. 33. For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world." Jesus explains that the manna from heaven which they said came from Moses was to feed their physical life. The Bread of Life, which Jesus provided, fed their spiritual life. However, in both cases it is through God that they were fed respectively. In the OT, Moses was only the agent through whom God worked. God provides the "Bread of Life" which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.
*v.34, "Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread." The response from the "many" was similar to that of the Samaritan woman when she found out about the "living water". Once the "many" found out about the bread of life; they, like the Samaritan woman, wanted some. Eating regular bread will still result in death, but eating spiritual bread will result in eternal life.
*v.35, "And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst," Belief and trust is the core theme of John 6. The first of seven self-descriptions of Jesus introduced by "I am" ( John 8:12; 9:5; 10:7,9; 10:11,14; 11:25; 14:6; 15:1,5 are listed here. Each represents a particular relationship between Jesus and the needs of man: the bread of life is spiritual food (John 6:35, 48, 51); "light of the world" is for sight in spiritual blindness; "door of the sheep" is for safety in a dangerous world; the "resurrection" is for power over death and eternal life; "the way, the truth, and the life" is for clarity and guidance in spiritual confusion; and the "true vine" is for spiritual nourishment. Jesus is the answer for human needs. Jesus wants men to receive him, not for what He might give to them, but for what he might be to them.
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