Bread of Life
Newbreak’s Sermon Study Guide is an in-house resource that serves sermon-based Life Groups and/or individuals who want to reflect further on how the message contributes to their spiritual formation.
About This Sermon Series
Year after year one of the most searched-for questions on Google is “Who is Jesus?” Whether we know it or not all of our deepest longings point us to the person who lived 2,000 years ago in Israel. The Gospel of John invites us to “come and see” who this Jesus is and how he is the one in whom we find life.
About this week's sermon:
During the biggest football game of the entire year many people gather around to watch the game together while enjoying good food and rooting for the San Francisco 49ers. Many people gathered to hear Jesus teach and at some point they all got hungry and were miles from home. He was hosting the biggest speaking event that region had seen and now physical hunger got the best of everyone. Watch as Jesus takes this opportunity not only to surprise everyone with how he feeds them, but also what it all means–for them and for us today!
Icebreakers for Life Groups
- Are you a fan of the rain? What is the craziest storm you’ve ever experienced before?
- When was the last truly amazing meal that you’ve had? What about it stood out to you?
Let’s read John 6:1-15
After this, Jesus crossed the Sea of Galilee (or Tiberias). 2 A huge crowd was following him because they saw the signs that he was performing by healing the sick. 3 Jesus went up a mountain and sat down there with his disciples.
4 Now the Passover, a Jewish festival, was near. 5 So when Jesus looked up and noticed a huge crowd coming toward him, he asked Philip, “Where will we buy bread so that these people can eat?” 6 He asked this to test him, for he himself knew what he was going to do.
7 Philip answered him, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread wouldn’t be enough for each of them to have a little.”
8 One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, 9 “There’s a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish—but what are they for so many?”
10 Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.”
There was plenty of grass in that place; so they sat down. The men numbered about five thousand. 11 Then Jesus took the loaves, and after giving thanks he distributed them to those who were seated—so also with the fish, as much as they wanted.
12 When they were full, he told his disciples, “Collect the leftovers so that nothing is wasted.” 13 So they collected them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces from the five barley loaves that were left over by those who had eaten.
14 When the people saw the sign he had done, they said, “This truly is the Prophet who is to come into the world.”
15 Therefore, when Jesus realized that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, he withdrew again to the mountain by himself.
Point 1 – Jesus knows what we need and when we need it.
Jesus’ ability to feed the 5,000 men (plus women and children) here was not a stretch for Him, considering He is God and He feeds all of the creatures of the earth.
“All creatures look to you to give them their food at the proper time.” Psalms 104:27, NIV
What is really impressive is that Jesus wanted to bring His disciples and that young boy into His miracle (vs.8-9). Jesus loves drawing us into situations where we can ‘help’ Him, not because He needs our help, but because He loves working with His children. Can you imagine how memorable it must have been for that little boy to give his food to Jesus and see Jesus multiply it? God took what little he had and did something supernatural with it.
He knew what He was going to do before He even spoke to them (vs. 6). He was looking for the people to come to the ends of themselves, so that all of the glory for what was about to take place would be given to Him and He could glorify the Father.
Only when we realize that we can’t do something on our own do we begin to recognize that He is the only one who can. Once we come to an end of our strength, our ingenuity, and our capabilities do we begin to experience the power of God at work in our lives.
Jesus knows what we need, before we even ask for it (Matthew 6:8). He loves us, knows each of our needs, and He has compassion on us (Psalm 103:13, CEB). He wants to bless us abundantly more than we could ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20) and always provides for our needs (Psalm 37:25-26).
He is not limited by our limitations. When we experience need (like the thousands of people who needed to be fed) and we bring Him what we have (like the 5 loaves and two fish), He is able to do miracles.
In verses 11-12, Jesus provided until everyone was full and there were even leftovers. Why didn’t He provide just enough? What was the point of having leftovers? He knew how many people were there and how much they would need, and wanted to provide abundantly. He had the leftovers collected after the meal so that the Father’s blessings wouldn’t go to waste.
In a similar way, Jesus wants to provide for His children so that we have enough left over to bless others. He gives to us in abundance so that we can give to others. This is not always a physical gift. Sometimes we give others our time or our knowledge as well. No matter how little we may have, we probably have enough of something to share what we have with others.
Questions for Group Discussion or Personal Reflection
- Have you ever been bothered by a problem but thought there was no way you could help because you didn’t have enough resources? In light of this passage, what can you do with that problem?
- Have you ever seen God supernaturally provide for you in a time of need? How did you know that it was God coming through for you?
- Andy Stanley has been quoted as saying, “Do for one what you wish you could do for all.” What has God blessed you with that you could share with one other person? How could this become bigger than what you imagine now?
- What do you think it looks like when you come to the end of yourself? Why do you think God allows us to come to that point? What do we gain from learning to totally rely on God in our finances, our marriages, our parenting, and our careers?
Continue reading John 6:25-40
25 When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you get here?”
26 Jesus answered, “Truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate the loaves and were filled. 27 Don’t work for the food that perishes but for the food that lasts for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set his seal of approval on him.”
28 “What can we do to perform the works of God?” they asked.
29 Jesus replied, “This is the work of God—that you believe in the one he has sent.”
30 “What sign, then, are you going to do so that we may see and believe you?” they asked. “What are you going to perform? 31 Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, just as it is written: He gave them bread from heaven to eat.”
32 Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, Moses didn’t give you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is the one who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
34 Then they said, “Sir, give us this bread always.”
35 “I am the bread of life,” Jesus told them. “No one who comes to me will ever be hungry, and no one who believes in me will ever be thirsty again. 36 But as I told you, you’ve seen me, and yet you do not believe. 37 Everyone the Father gives me will come to me, and the one who comes to me I will never cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me. 39 This is the will of him who sent me: that I should lose none of those he has given me but should raise them up on the last day. 40 For this is the will of my Father: that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him will have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”
Point 2 - There is no substitute for the bread that Jesus offers.
Many within the crowds were following Jesus because of what He could do, and had done, for their physical bodies. The people in this story even tried to force Him to be king on the spot (vs.15). It kind of makes sense from an earthly perspective. Who wouldn’t want to follow a superhero king who could turn water to wine, make bread from stones, and even multiply a child’s lunch into a feast for thousands?
Jesus came to this world for much bigger reasons than to just temporarily alleviate the physical needs of life. Aspirin can do that. Buying a new car can do that. Getting a warm meal can do that. Jesus miraculously fed them, healed them, freed people from demonic torment but these miracles were not going to last because their bodies weren’t going to last.
Jesus wanted more for His people then and He wants more for us now. He offers for us to be the type of bread of life that will always satisfy because He is eternal. His fulfillment of our needs will far outlast this lifetime. It will last into eternity.
This world is constantly trying to give us what we need, or want, at the moment. We are easily tricked into thinking that possessing things, attaining certain success, or having a big bank account will satisfy our eternal needs. These things can never do that because they were never intended to. Our clothes get old and out of style. Our cars break down. Our promotions at work lose their luster. Only Jesus can truly satisfy because He is not just the giver of the bread of life. He is the bread of life! He doesn’t want us to have what we need for the moment. He wants to give us what we need for eternity. He wants us to have eternal life (John 3:16).
Jesus is the Bread of Life for us and He has provided “12 baskets full of leftovers” for us to go and share with others. He wants to satisfy forever what is missing in those around us, an eternal relationship with Him.
Questions for Group Discussion or Personal Reflection
- What are some things that you hunger for in your life? What are you currently pursuing in hopes that it will fulfill and satisfy you?
- Who brought you to Jesus, so you could have the Bread of Life? How do you feel about them? Who would you like to bring to the Bread of Life?
- How does this passage change how you view the role you play in the lives of others? Is any gift too small to be used by God?