Jesus Gives the Bread of Life That We Might Fulfill the Impossible
These are the readings for the Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost.
God’s Word for This Week
Have you ever faced a frustrating, seemingly impossible task? For Christians, believing all of Jesus’ promises and loving others as he loves us sometimes seems out of the question. In today’s lessons, though, we see how Jesus gives us the ability to fulfill impossible tasks by giving us the Bread of Life. Apart from Jesus, we can do nothing (John 15:5). But with God, nothing is impossible (Luke 1:37).
First Lesson – 1 Kings 19:3-8
What was Elijah grumbling about?
Elijah was complaining about his life as a prophet of God. Wicked Queen Jezebel was chasing him (1 Kings 19:2), and now he simply wanted to give up and die.
Through the angels, what did the Lord command Elijah to do?
The Lord told Elijah to get up and eat. He sustained Elijah when the prophet thought that his situation was impossible.
Traditional Second Lesson – Ephesians 4:30–5:2
What model of love does Paul present in these verses?
Paul encourages us to love others just as Christ loves us. Jesus’ love is a sacrificial and forgiving love.
How is that love going to manifest itself, according to Paul?
Paul gives an extensive list in Ephesians 4:31-32.
Is it easy to show this type of unconditional love to others?
For sinners like us, it is impossible to have this type of love for one another unless Jesus gives us the Bread of Life, his Word of forgiveness. Jesus’ love and forgiveness for us moves us to love others in similar ways.
Supplemental Second Lesson – Hebrews 5:11–6:3
How does the writer to the Hebrews describe the elementary truths of God’s Word? More advanced truths?
The writer to the Hebrews describes the elementary truths of God’s Word as ‘milk’ and the more advanced truths as ‘solid food.’
The writer to the Hebrews does not seem to be upset that his first readers were not leading godly, moral lives. What is he concerned about?
The writer to the Hebrews seems concerned that his first readers were not pressing on as believers, perhaps because of their unwillingness to suffer more for the gospel. Like babies, they could not see and work out the deeper implications of the gospel in their lives.
In a word, what did the writer to the Hebrews want his readers to press on to?
The writer to the Hebrews wanted his readers to press on to maturity.
Gospel – John 6:41-51
With what statement of Jesus were the people having difficulty and why? How did Jesus react?
The Jews in the synagogue in Capernaum (John 6:59) grumbled at the fact that Jesus called himself the “bread that came down from heaven.” His claim that he was from heaven seemed to be blasphemous. Jesus told them to stop their grumbling.
What important truth about our Christian lives does Jesus make clear in verses 44-45?
Jesus points out that apart from the working of his heavenly Father, we are unable to believe in him and come to him. (We could even translate, ‘no one can come to me unless the Father who sent me drags him.’) The Father does this work of dragging/drawing us to faith through the Holy Spirit. (See 1 Corinthians 2:9-10.) The Holy Spirit brings us to faith by supplying us with the Bread of Life, the truth about Jesus, our Savior. Apart from the working of the Holy Trinity, we could never trust in Jesus. We would rely on our own goodness.