Jesus as the bread of life and giver of salvation, by Rev. John Kwasi Fosu

Amazing Grace Baptist Church, Hamburg – Bible study material on John 6:25-71

Introduction and background (6:22-31)
John 6: 22-31 gives the setting for Jesus’ message. Jesus had just fed the 5000 multitudes. He then reads their hearts and confronts them with their motive. The people, interested in food, have followed Jesus over the sea to Capernaum, and they meet in the synagogue (verse 59). Jesus revealed their shallow, carnal motives (verses 26-27) and their ignorance of what it means to be saved through faith (verses 28-29). Just as Jesus graciously fed them the bread, and all they had to do was receive it, so he wanted to give them eternal life. The Jews threw out a challenge to Jesus in verse 30: “Show us a sign!” This reminded Jesus of the way God sent bread (manna) from heaven to feed the people (Exodus 16). Jesus used this as the basis for his message. There are three divisions to the sermon, each followed by a reaction from the crowd. Jesus thus directs their thinking to a deeper hunger!

A. Jesus reveals himself as the Bread of Life (verses 32-40)
This is a bold claim that shows that Jesus is the very Son of God! The Bread of God is a Person from heaven (verse 33). He gives life, not just to the Jews, but to the whole world! The way to receive this Bread is to come and take it. And this Bread will give life not only today but also life in the future at the resurrection. Note the reaction of the Jews (verses 41-42) who denied Jesus’ deity. Jesus said that God was his Father (verse 32), but they said Joseph was His father (verse 42). The use of Bread of life in John 6:35 portrays Jesus’ life-giving role. Here Jesus could be seen as the only source of eternal life.

Comparing Jesus as the bread of life to the Manna in the Old Testament
It is interesting to compare the manna to Jesus the Messiah:
i. The manna came from heaven at night. Jesus came from heaven when men were in darkness.
ii. It was not defiled by the earth. Jesus was sinless and separate from sinners.
iii. It was small, round and white. This suggests Jesus’ purity.
iv. It was sweet to the taste. Jesus is sweet to those who trust Him.
v. It had to be taken and eaten. Jesus must be received and appropriated by faith (1:12-13).
vi. It came as a free gift. Jesus is the free gift of God to the world.
vii. It was sufficient for all. Jesus too is sufficient for all.

B. Jesus reveals the process of salvation (verses 43-52)
The lost sinner does not seek God (Romans 3:11), so salvation must begin with God. How does God draw people to Jesus? He uses the Word (verse 45). 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14 describes what “drawing men” means. See also John 6:44. To eat earthly bread sustains life for a time. But the person will ultimately die. To receive the spiritual Bread (Jesus) gives one eternal life. Jesus clearly states in verse 51 that he will give his flesh for the life of the world. The Jews argued about this (verse 52) because eating human flesh was contrary to Jewish law. Like Nicodemus, they confused the physical with the spiritual.

C. Jesus reveals the power of salvation (verses 53-65)
What does Jesus mean by “eating” his flesh and “drinking” His blood? He is not speaking in literal terms. In verse 63, Jesus clearly says, “The flesh profits nothing.” What gives life? “It is the Spirit who gives life” (verse 63). “The words I have spoken to you, are Spirit, and they are life.” In other words, a person eats the Jesus’ flesh and drinks his blood – that is, partakes of Him – by receiving the Word as taught by the Spirit. Jesus is not talking about the bread and cup of the Lord’s Supper or any other religious ceremony. The Lord’s Supper had not even been begun. When it was begun, Jesus clearly stated that it was a memorial. It did not impart life. To say that a man receives eternal life by eating bread and drinking wine is to deny the grace of God in salvation (Ephesians 2:8-9).

A division among Jesus’ disciples (6:66-71)
It is the Word of God, revealing the Person of the Messiah, that separates the true from the false. The more the people heard Jesus’ message, the more they divided into two groups – the honest seekers wanting to understand more and those rejecting Jesus because they did not like what they heard. The crowd, desiring bread for the body, rejected the Bread of Life for the soul. Peter and ten of the disciples affirmed their faith in Jesus. Their faith came by hearing the Word (Romans 10:17). Judas, however, was a pretender and ultimately would betray the Messiah.

Application and conclusion
Like the multitude, many people in contemporary times want the Lord to meet their physical needs but not their spiritual needs. They are like stray dogs, that if you feed them they’ll stick around, not because they love you, but because you have food! Once you stop feeding them, they are gone. For many seek God only for their carnal needs to be met. It is important to emphasize that we are to seek God not for what God can do for us, but for who God is.

By Jesus’ use of the title “I am the bread of life” is meant Jesus satisfies our deepest spiritual needs. Jesus picks a common staple that all could relate daily and throughout the day. That is it was attached to each meal. For bread was found on both the rich and poor people’s table. In Asia it might be “I am the Rice of Life”; In Mexico it might be “I am the Tortilla of Life”; In India it might be “I am the Curry of Life” and in Ghana, among the Akans, it would be “I am the fufu of life.” In whatever case, by the use of bread of life, Jesus wishes to indicate that he sustains life.

The conclusion is obvious. When you receive the Word into your heart, you receive Jesus the Messiah. We “eat Jesus’ flesh” by partaking of the Word of God. “I am the living Bread,” said Jesus in verse 51. Jesus said in Matthew 4:4 that “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” Peter grasped the meaning of the sermon. For in John 6:68 he said, “To whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”

Questions
1. Jesus said of himself as the “bread of life.” What does it mean?
2. How can one receive Jesus, the bread of life?
3. What is your greatest motivation for seeking God? For a healing? To pay your bills and debts? In search of a nice spouse?
4. What does it mean by eating Jesus’ flesh?

Jesus calms storms of life, By Rev. John Kwasi Fosu

Amazing Grace Baptist Church, Hamburg

Bible study material on John 6:15-24

Introduction and Background
After Jesus used five loaves of bread and two pieces of fish to miraculously feed some thousands of people, he walked away into the hills alone. Then, Jesus followers went down to the shore of the lake to wait for him, but he did not come back and it was getting dark. The disciples got in their boats and headed across the lake to Capernaum. As a violent storm came up, they tried to row through the storm and managed to get a few miles off, but the sea got more forceful. Jesus then crossed this furious lake on foot! The disciples were about half way across when they saw Jesus, walking on top of the water. The disciples did not know what to do and became terrified. untitled

Jesus as the giver of true peace
Jesus did not accept to be a King to a group of people who were interested only in full stomachs (John 6:15, 26). He dismissed the crowd and sent the disciples across the sea, knowing full well that the storm was coming. As Jesus approached the boat walking on the water, the disciples were terrified and thought they were seeing a ghost. But Jesus said, “It is I” or “I AM.” It is the same as saying, “I, Yahweh, am here.” Worthy of note is that the boat miraculously arrived at its destination when the Messiah came on board. Salvation brings peace to the heart- peace with God (Romans 5:1) and the peace of God (Philippians 4:4-7).

The inevitability of going through storms of life (John 6:18-20)
Like the early disciples of Jesus, storms will to all followers of Jesus. Either we are in a storm, coming out of a storm, or in the middle of the eye of a storm and surrounded by a storm, but not seeing it. We all experience rough times, either because of our disobedience or from the misdeeds of others that affect us. Since most of humanity is interconnected by just two or three degrees of separation, all of our actions and decisions affect one another, either for the good or for the bad. But, even in a storm, Jesus takes all those who trust in him to the shore!

Observation and Conclusion
As the disciples faced challenging times, they thought that Jesus had left them. For they encountered a storm and became stressed up. On the one side the disciples might have wondered what had happened since they may have expected greater experience of Jesus’ miracles in the Kingdom. The disciples might have also experienced a mixed-feelings mentally, spiritually, and physically, both in geography (as in elevation) and in the measures of success in life and ministry. It appears that Jesus sent them from the mountain top experience of joy into a major storm – from fame to threat to danger. When their experiences seemed lost, Jesus came into the scene again. All followers of Christ will definitely face fame and joys as well face threats and perils. At the moment that we begin to think that no one cares, then Jesus comes in. For Jesus does not leave or forsake us. Jesus is always there with us (Matthew 28: 20) in the storms of life. And so, Jesus said to the Disciples in John 6:20, “It is I; don’t be afraid.” See also Isa. 43:1-5.

Questions
1. Why did Jesus seem to leave the disciples alone when he new that they would go through storms in their journey?
2. Where do you normally turn to when you go through storms of life? To prophets, Mallams or to Traditional priests?
3. When Jesus says “It is I; don’t be afraid.” How far do you agree and apply it to your life?

Jesu as the bread of life, by Rev. John Kwasi Fosu

Amazing Grace Baptist Church, Hamburg
Bible Study material on John 6:1-15

Introduction
John 6:1-15 presents Jesus’ miracle of feeding 5,000. It showers Jesus as the supplier of human need and it prepares the reader for Jesus’ testimony that he is the bread of life. The first three signs already studied illustrated how a person is saved through the Word, by faith, and by grace. This fourth sign (feeding the 5000) shows us that salvation satisfies the inner needs of the heart. The multiplication of the loaves provides a way for the Messiah to present himself as the Bread of Life. Importantly, this fourth sign was a significant turning point in the ministry of Jesus and is the only miracle recorded in all four Gospels. After this miracle and the teaching that came from it, many of those who had been following Jesus left him. Some people see a connection between the Passover (mentioned in verse 4) and Jesus offering himself as the Bread of Life because the Passover symbolizes God’s provision for life and salvation (see 1 Corinthians 5:7).untitled

Brief overview of the story
A great multitude had gathered to hear Jesus. Undoubtedly, they were hungry for the word of life. Jesus’ disciples desired to send them away at the end of the day since they did not have adequate resources to feed them. Some of the disciples even complained about how much money it would take to feed such a large crowd. For at least six month’s wages could not have fed them! Jesus, as the Bread of Life, took the little they had which was five loaves and two fish. After giving thanks to his heavenly Father, he distributed them to all until they were satisfied of their hunger.

Jesus as the true bread from heaven for abundant life
This miraculous sign of feeding the five thousand signified that God has indeed sent Jesus as the anointed Prophet and King. For the people of Israel had been waiting for the prophet in accordance to Moses’ prophecy in Deuteronomy 18:15 that The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brethren – him shall you heed. Jesus’ miracle of feeding the five thousand is the only miracle that is repeated in all four Gospel accounts. Significantly, the miraculous feeding of such a great multitude pointed to God’s provision of manna in the wilderness for the people of Israel under Moses’ leadership (Exodus 16). This daily provision of food in the barren wilderness looked forward to the true heavenly bread which Jesus would offer his followers.

The bread that makes us live for ever is Jesus Christ
Jesus later makes a claim that he is the true bread of heaven that can satisfy the deepest hunger human experience. As the true bread of heaven, the sign of the multiplication of the bread seems to prefigure Jesus’ body that he would share for us and thus symbolized by the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper. Insightfully, this supernatural food brings healing for both body and soul and gives us strength for our heavenly journey.

Jesus alone satisfies the deepest desire of our hearts
The feeding of the five thousand reveals God’s generous nature and great kindness towards us. When God provides, he gives abundantly. God provides more than we need for ourselves so that we may have something to share with others, especially those who lack what they need. God uses the little that we have and multiplies it for the good of others.

It pleases God to partner with us in the expansion of his kingdom
Jesus used what his followers had for the miracle of multiplication. He also instructed the multitude to sit properly and further ordered the disciples to share the loaves of bread. Thereafter, he asked them to gather the fragments. All these steps show how Jesus worked closely with his followers. Thus, it pleases God to partner with humanity for the expansion of God’s kingdom in any area of our lives.

Conclusion
This miracle then reminds us that, while salvation is of the Lord and given only by grace, God uses human instruments to take the Gospel message to people. Jesus gave the bread and fish to his disciples, and they shared it with the people. “How shall they hear without a preacher?” asks Paul in Romans 10:14. If, like the little boy in verse 9, we will give Him our all— He will take it, break it and use it to bless others.

Questions
1. What question did Jesus ask Phillip and why did he ask him such a question?
2. Which of the responses/answers given to Jesus do you comfortably identify yourself with?
3. Identify three ways that you can partner with Jesus for your miracle and prosperity.
4. To what extent is Jesus the bread of your life?