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The Scriptorium

Yeah! Give Us That Bread!

Still seeking the wrong thing.

The Gospel of John: John 6.22-40

Read and meditate on John 6.32-34.

The people are apparently trying to make Jesus into another Moses, whom they understood to be Israel’s “savior” in the wilderness, by giving them food every day. Another sign these people completely missed. They just can’t seem to get their minds off bread.

32But Jesus said to them, “This bread is given
not by the hand of Moses; the true bread
My Father gives to you from heav’n instead.
33The bread of God is He Who has come down
from heav’n, and gives life to the world around.
34They said to Him, “Lord, give us this good bread

- John 6.32-34

1.  In verse 32, Jesus indicates that the people misunderstood the role of Moses in relation to Israel during the wilderness journey. Instead of looking merely to Moses, the people should have been looking at God’s work through Moses, which then would have pointed to the coming of Christ (cf. Jn. 5.46). Why is it important always to be looking for God’s work in Jesus when we’re reading Scripture? Complete this prayer: Lord, teach me to see You throughout Your Word, so that…

2.  The manna Israel received in the wilderness was but a token of the “true bread from heaven” which the Father provides. As the Father gave Israel manna in the wilderness, Jesus had given these people bread by the sea. The manna was supposed to point them beyond Moses to God. The bread by the sea… Lord, all day long You surround me with good gifts from the Father. Help me to see these gifts for what they are, and to see through them to…

3.  What is the “bread of God” and what does it accomplish? Again, Jesus is meeting these people at the point of their self-interest. To what might we liken Jesus, to reach people at the point of their self-interest today? Grant me wisdom and grace, Lord, to be able to explain You so that…

4.  It’s obvious the people are still thinking in terms of bread to eat, like they’d eaten the day before (v. 34). But Jesus said the bread from heaven was He (literally, He who descends – two words in the Greek). Are they just not listening? Why is it sometimes so hard for people to hear the truth about Jesus? Should we just give up on them? Explain. I need patience and courage, Lord, to…

5.  Some people want to come to Jesus so that He can do for them “always” (vv. 34). What is Jesus looking for from those who come to Him? Bring together into one your prayers from questions 1-4.

“He calls this the ‘true bread,’ not because the miracle of the manna was false but because it was a type and not the very truth itself. But in mentioning Moses, Jesus does not compare himself with him, for the Jews did not as yet prefer him to Moses, of whom they still had a higher opinion. So that after saying, ‘Moses did not give,’ he does not say ‘I give’ but says that the Father, and not Moses, gives. When they heard this, the people replied, ‘Give us this bread to eat.’ They still thought that it was something material, and they yet expected to satisfy their appetites, and so they quickly ran to him. And what does Christ do? Leading them on little by little, he says, ‘The bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.’” John Chrysostom (344-407AD)

Jesus is patient with this self-serving crowd. He doesn’t dismiss them, but works to lead them to higher levels of understanding about Himself and His relationship to Moses and the Father. What can you learn from Jesus about being patient with the unbelieving people in your Personal Mission Field?

Closing Prayer
The fool hath said in his heart,
There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works,
there is none that doeth good.
The LORDlooked down from heaven upon the children of men,
to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God.
They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy:
there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
Have all the workers of iniquity no knowledge?
who eat up my people as they eat bread,
and call not upon the LORD.
There were they in great fear:
for God is in the generation of the righteous.

Psalm 14.1-5

Psalm 14.4, 5 (St. Anne: O God, Our Help in Ages Past)
None understands, none seeks the Lord; they all have turned aside.
Deception leads them from God’s Word who have His grace denied.

The workers of iniquity consume God’s sheep like bread;
They trust not in the Lord, and He shall fill their hearts with dread.
T. M. Moore

Jesus is the Centerpiece of all Scripture, as He Himself explained (Jn. 5.39). But how can we learn to see Him there? How do the primary themes of Scripture revolve around Jesus? Our online course, Introduction to Biblical Theology, shows you how best to get at, get into, and get with the Word of God, so that you can grow more consistently in the Lord. It’s free, and you can study at your own pace. For more information or to register, click here.

We are happy to offer each week’s Scriptorium studies in a free weekly PDF, suitable for personal or group use. You can download all the studies in our series on the Gospel of John by clicking here. Please prayerfully consider sharing with The Fellowship of Ailbe through your giving. You can contribute to The Fellowship by clicking the Contribute button at the website or by sending your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 19 Tyler Drive, Essex Junction, VT 05452.

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series IV a and b: John, edited by Joel C. Elowsky, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006. Verse translation of John by T. M. Moore.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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