Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Jesus Gives the Bread of Life that We Will Trust His Difficult Words

These are the readings for the Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost.

God’s Word for This Week

God’s Word is not always easy to believe. There are some difficult words that we run up against as we read through our Bible, ideas that seem so contrary to our “modern way of thinking.” We shouldn’t think, however, that these words were any easier to believe back in Bible times. They weren’t. God’s people have always been faced with the difficult words of God. That’s why Jesus gives us the Bread of Life, that we might be led to set aside our worldly objections and see the loving and saving intent of every word from our Savior’s mouth. When we see that intent, it’s easier to trust even the most difficult words.

Traditional First Lesson – Joshua 24:1-2, 14-18

What encouragement did Joshua give the children of Israel after they had entered the Promised Land?

Joshua encouraged Israel to give up their false gods and serve the only true God.

What decision had Joshua made about his own family?

Joshua insisted that he and his family would serve the Lord, even when it sometimes proved to be difficult.

Supplemental First Lesson – Exodus 7:8-13

Who hardened his heart?

Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, hardened his heart.

Why shouldn’t he have hardened his heart?

Pharaoh should not have hardened his heart, even though his magicians did like Aaron and turned their staffs into snakes, because Aaron’s staff swallowed up their staffs. Clearly, the power of the true God was far greater than the satanic arts of Pharaoh’s wise men and sorcerers.

Traditional Second Lesson – Ephesians 5:21-31

What difficult word does Paul use in verses 21-24, a word with which this world is uncomfortable?

Paul uses the word “submit” and specifically applies it to how a Christian wife is to approach her relationship with her husband. Submission is not the “dirty word” that many make it out to be today. Submission can only take place between two people of equal status, and it is something that is done willingly, out of love for Jesus and his Word. All Christians are to submit to one another (5:21), placing their own prerogatives and ideas under the prerogatives of others. It is a Christian wife’s special calling to place herself under the Christ-like leadership of her husband, even though sometimes it can be difficult.

What are Christian husbands commanded to do?

Christian husbands are commanded to love their wives “just as Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her.” In other words, a husband is to be primarily concerned with the needs and desires of his wife and family, just as Jesus came to be our willing servant (Mark 10:45). That is not easy to do, but when a husband loves his wife as Christ loved the Church, his Christian wife will willingly submit to his Christ-like leadership.

Supplemental Second Lesson – Hebrews 11:24-28

Which two unique times in Moses’ life does the writer to the Hebrews describe? (See 11:24-26 and 11:27,28.)

First, the writer to the Hebrews describes what Moses did at about age 40. He chose to be mistreated along with the Jewish people, the people of God, rather than retaining his status as a part of the royal family in Egypt. Forty years later, when Moses was about 80, he left Egypt, not fearing the anger of the king at that time.

“By faith,” Moses did what he did. More specifically, for what two reasons did Moses follow such an unusual course?

The writer to the Hebrews says that Moses ignored all the wealth and power of being part of the rulership of Egypt because he was looking ahead to his reward. He persevered because he saw him who is invisible.

Gospel – John 6:60-69

After his disciples heard what Jesus had to say about “eating his flesh and drinking his blood,” how did they respond?

The people who left said that Jesus’ words were “a hard teaching,” too tough for them to believe.

Did Jesus try to soften his words when people left?

Jesus did not attempt to soften his words. Instead, he realized that some of his disciples would forsake him in stubborn unbelief.

How did some of Jesus’ followers finally react? What about the Twelve?

John tells us that “many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.” The Twelve, however, stayed with Jesus, as Peter asked, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” These disciples trusted the words of Jesus, the Bread of Life, even though they were difficult to understand. Who else’s words could give them eternal life with God?

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