Jesus Gives the Bread of Life
These are the readings for the Eighth Sunday after Pentecost.
God’s Word for This Week
Faithfully proclaiming God’s Word is hard. Public ministers serve as God’s representative to a sinful world, and the world does not want to accept God’s truth. The Old Testament prophet Amos found that out; Paul and Timothy found that out; Jesus’ newly-called apostles would find that out. Yet God has chosen faithful public preachers as a way he will have the good news of Jesus come to his chosen ones in all nations. Thank God for faithful public preachers and teachers of the gospel! By them, Jesus gives us the Bread of Life.
First Lesson – Amos 7:10-17
Was Amos proclaiming a popular message in Israel?
As is often the case today, Amos did not have a “politically correct” message for the people of Israel. He announced that Israel’s popular king would die by the sword and that Israel would go into exile. Interestingly, Amos proclaimed this message during the height of the Northern Kingdom’s greatest prosperity. (See 2 Kings 14:24.)
What did the king’s representative tell Amos to do, and how did Amos respond to the king’s command?
Amaziah told Amos to go back to Judah, his homeland, and to stop prophesying in the land of Israel. Amos responded that he was not a prophet of his own choosing; instead, he had been commanded by the Lord to say these things.
Traditional Second Lesson – Ephesians 1:3-14
What comforting teaching of Scripture does Paul address in these verses?
Paul tells the Ephesians and us that our salvation was planned by God before the creation of the world. God chose us in Christ to be his children. Sadly, some have undermined this comforting doctrine of eternal election with their speculations about God’s hidden will and have frightened the consciences of Christians. Paul wants us to be comforted by his words, not frightened! God loved you and chose you in Christ from all eternity! Believe it; it’s true!
What is the “mystery of [God’s] will?” (See 1:9.)
The mystery (something that is hidden for a time) of God’s will to which Paul refers in this letter is that God’s salvation is for all people, not just for the descendants of his Old Testament people. The “you” of verse 13 is the gentile Christians in Ephesus. (cf. also Ephesians 3:4-6.)
Supplemental Second Lesson – 1 Timothy 3:1-7
What is the first qualification of a teaching elder in the church?
The first quality God requires for teaching elders in his church (pastors and other overseers) is that they be ‘above reproach’ or ‘beyond criticism.’ As sinners, they cannot be perfect, but they should be exemplary, with nothing in their past or in their current way of life that makes it hard for the average person to trust them.
What is the only qualification of a teaching elder in the church that does not relate to his character?
Besides all the character qualifications for an overseer in God’s church, that man must be ‘able to teach.’ He must be knowledgeable about God’s truth and be able to communicate it well.
Gospel – Mark 6:7–13
What is an apostle? What were the Twelve called to do?
An apostle is “one who is sent,” an ambassador with a message. Jesus called the apostles to proclaim the good news about him and his kingdom.
What instructions did Jesus give them and why?
Jesus told the Twelve not to take anything with them except a staff. In other words, they were to trust God to provide. If any place did not accept their testimony, they were to move on to another place.
In a word, what not-so-popular but the oh-so-necessary message did the Twelve preach?
The Twelve told people to repent.