← Back to Study Guides
An Invitation to Discipleship | The God Who Feeds Us
April 24, 2022
41So the Jews grumbled about him, because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” 42They said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does he now say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?” 43Jesus answered them, “Do not grumble among yourselves. 44No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. 45It is written in the Prophets, ‘And they will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me—46not that anyone has seen the Father except he who is from God; he has seen the Father. 47Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. 48I am the bread of life. 49Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. 51I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”
In John 6:41-51, Jesus offers another invitation to discipleship, “If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever”. This passage comes on the heels of Jesus feeding the 5,000 by multiplying loaves of bread and a few fish. This miracle has drawn the attention of large crowds and religious leaders all of who are trying to make sense of who they think Jesus is and who he claims to be. Once again he is inviting their hunger, welcoming their appetites, and saying their appetites are meant to draw them to Jesus. But it is only when they recognize that Jesus is the one who can feed them and respond to him in faith that they (and we) taste and see that Jesus is the one who can actually satisfy our hunger.
To discover and experience Jesus Christ in our midst
To cultivate mutually encouraging relationships
To participate in God’s mission to the world
O God of light, by the power of your Holy Spirit, restore our sight, that in these words of Scripture we may see Christ, in whose name we pray. Amen.
Responsive Prayer—Psalm 118:14-29
14The Lord is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.
15Glad songs of salvation are in the tents of the righteous: “The right hand of the Lord does valiantly,
16The right hand of the Lord exalts, the right hand of the Lord does valiantly!
17I shall not die, but I shall live, and recount the deeds of the Lord.
18The Lord has disciplined me severely, but he has not given me over to death.
19Open to me the gates of righteousness, that I may enter through them and give thanks to the Lord.
20This is the gate of the Lord; the righteous shall enter through it.
21I thank you that you have answered me and have become my salvation.
22The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.
23This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.
24This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
25Save us, we pray, O Lord! O Lord, we pray, give us success!
26Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! We bless you from the house of the Lord.
27The Lord is God, and he has made his light to shine upon us. Bind the festal sacrifice with cords, up to the horns of the altar!
28You are my God, and I will give thanks to you; you are my God; I will extol you.
29Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!
1. Admitting Our Need For Jesus
It is important to remember in the feeding of the 5,000 (John 6:1-15) Jesus welcomes the hunger of the crowds. Now as Jesus tells the religious leaders that he is the bread from heaven, he once again is inviting their hunger and promising to feed them not physical food but spiritual food. No one will eat of it and die. The feeding of the 5,000 was meant to be an appetizer to an even greater feast because what Jesus now offers in v.41-51 is bread that does not spoil or fade away. While Israel ate manna in the wilderness and died, the bread that Jesus offers leads to eternal life.
- How does the miracle of the feeding of the 5,000 help us make sense of Jesus’ proclamation that he is the bread of life?
- What other places/times in Jesus’ ministry do we see examples where Jesus welcomes people’s appetites?
- Where are places/times where Jesus redirects or even rebukes people’s appetites?
- What are some practical ways that we can bring our deepest desires and longings to Jesus?
2. Recognizing Jesus' Presence
The reason the religious leaders scoff when they hear Jesus say, “he is the bread of life, the bread come down from heaven,” is that he is so familiar to them. How can he be from heaven when they know his parents and his place of birth? They fail to recognize the presence of God in their midst because Jesus is too familiar and too ordinary and so they miss him. The imagery of the Exodus is prominent in this passage, which invites us to see that when Jesus refers to himself as the bread of life, it is a promise that he will be present with them to sustain them and nourish them. One of the great challenges we face in our own lives is recognizing the ways Jesus provides for us in ordinary ways. Therefore, our perception of God is often that he is absent rather than present with us.
- How does this passage offer hope to us when we feel or struggle with our belief that God is absent or distant rather than present and near?
- What are the ways this passage and other places in Scripture call us to see and experience God in the ‘ordinary’?
- How do we and can we as a church help one another experience God’s presence in our lives?
3. Responding to Jesus' Presence
Jesus is calling for a response to his invitation to feed upon him. While the Father draws us (v.44) the invitation to feed upon Jesus is expansive (‘if anyone…’, ‘whoever…’). We are to respond by faith in Jesus and trust him to provide for us bread that never spoils or fades away.
- In John 6:14, the crowds try to take Jesus by force and make him their king. How is this response to Jesus’ power and invitation not the right one? How do we do something similar in our own lives?
Revelation 5:13: To the one who is seated on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!
View Study Guide Notes
Question 1: If possible, you might consider reading John 6:1-40 as well as v.41-51. Reading this passage in light of the feeding of the 5,000 helps us see that Jesus is attracting those who are hungry, not only physically but spiritually. This is the major difference between the crowds who trust in Jesus and the religious leaders who don’t. The crowds are desperate enough (hungry enough) to know they need Jesus to feed them. The religious leaders don’t think they need Jesus and therefore can’t welcome his promises of life as good news.
There are many places in Jesus’ ministry where desperate people approach him and he welcomes their desperation and physical/spiritual hunger. The woman at the well in John 4, Nicodemus’ hunger for answers and insight in John 3, and the disciples’ hunger at the Last Supper (and many, many more). But there are also places like in John 6:14 where Jesus redirects people’s desires because they are trying to devour him, rather than submit to his Kingship.
Question 2: N/A
Question 3: N/A