Tuesday, May 1, 2012

"The Bread of Life” Adult Sunday School Lesson

International Sunday School Lesson 
For Sunday May 6, 2012 

Purpose: To explore what it means for life to be made whole

Scripture Text: John 6:22-35

John 6:22-35 (NRSV)
(22) The next day the crowd that had stayed on the other side of the sea saw that there had been only one boat there. They also saw that Jesus had not got into the boat with his disciples, but that his disciples had gone away alone. (23) Then some boats from Tiberias came near the place where they had eaten the bread after the Lord had given thanks. (24) So when the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they themselves got into the boats and went to Capernaum looking for Jesus. (25) When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, "Rabbi, when did you come here?" (26) Jesus answered them, "Very truly, I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. (27) Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For it is on him that God the Father has set his seal."

(28) Then they said to him, "What must we do to perform the works of God?" (29) Jesus answered them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent." (30) So they said to him, "What sign are you going to give us then, so that we may see it and believe you? What work are you performing? (31) Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, "He gave them bread from heaven to eat." (32) Then Jesus said to them, "Very truly, I tell you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. (33) For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world." (34) They said to him, "Sir, give us this bread always." (35) Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.

My Thoughts by Burgess Walter 

Let me first suggest you read all of chapter 6 of John's gospel. There are several things that happen in this chapter, the feeding of the 5000, Jesus walking on the water, and our text all come from this chapter of John's gospel. Although the feeding of the 5000 is not part of our text, it lays the ground work for our understanding of our selected text. The feeding of the 5000 is unique because it is recorded in all of the gospels. One interesting difference in the story, in the Gospel of John, Jesus himself serves the 5000. The twelve baskets leftover, implies that each disciple gathered a basket of leftovers.

Jesus was concerned about the needs and welfare of this crowd, but the crowd seemed only interested in getting a free meal. They seemed to be concerned about keeping him within their sight, and hoped to receive food without following the principle laid down in both the Old Testament and as Paul recorded in II Thessalonians 3:10 “For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.” The crowd had a hard time believing that Jesus was anything but the boy that Joseph and Mary raised in Nazareth. To them it was impossible to believe that Jesus was more than a carpenter's son. Jesus instructed them to be more concerned about working for the food that endures, rather than that that perishes.

The seal of God has always been “truth” There is an old Jewish story of the great synagogue weeping, praying, and fasting; "At length there was a little scroll fell from the firmament to them, in which was written, Truth. R. Chaninah saith, Hence learn that truth is the seal of God."

Jesus then declares that the works of God are "….. That you believe in him whom he has sent." The Jews wanted a sign from Jesus, even though they had all seem him feed 5000 people with 5 loaves and 3 fishes. Still looking for free food they begged that Jesus would "…... give us this bread always." Jesus assures them that “He is the bread of life,” In the prayer that Jesus taught his disciples he suggest that we need a daily portion of Jesus every day, “give us this day our daily bread.” and in the text that follows our lesson text Jesus says; (48) I am the bread of life. (49) Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. (50) This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. (51) I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh."

Those listening had no thought of the cross that was to come, no understanding that Jesus would willingly give himself, and His believers would commemorate and remember the gift by celebrating the “Eucharist.” “This is my body take and eat, this is my blood shed for you, drink ye all of it.”

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