Day 17 (March 13), John 6:60-71

John 6:60-71

Context:  Jesus finishes his discourse with the Jews in the synagogue in Capernaum where he asserts ‘I am the Bread of Life.’  Many of the listeners were offended by his teachings and started grumbling.  Jesus knows their hearts and also points them to the truth that, apart from the breath and Spirit of God, we cannot experience the life God wants for us.  ‘The flesh (selfish, unregenerate nature) profits nothing, the Spirit gives life.  The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life,’ Jesus says.  Many of Jesus’ disciples ‘turned back’ after this teaching.  Rather than suppressing this fact, Jesus, asks the 12 apostles if they want to leave, too.  Peter’s response and Jesus’ follow-up are profound.  This, btw, is the first time in John’s Gospel that the 12 disciples (or apostles) are distinctively mentioned as ‘the Twelve’, though certainly they were formed earlier in his ministry.

Observations:  Why do you think many of the people turned away at this point?  Were they ‘true believers’ or were they just astonished by Jesus’ miracles and reaping the benefits of them?  What does it mean that no one can come to Jesus unless it is granted by the Father?  Do we have a choice one way or another?  What impresses you about Jesus’ question about leaving and Peter’s response?

Application:  Are there hard or ‘difficult’ teachings of Jesus that you are ignoring in your own life?  They could be related to discipleship, counting the cost, sexual purity, finances, forgiveness, unity with others, or just persevering through trials.  Reflect for a moment and ask Jesus to help you ‘embrace’ those teachings, apply them to your life and experience the rewards of obeying them!

Prayer:  Thank the Lord for the words of Scripture and ‘spirit and life.’  Ask Him to show you today how life-giving they truly are!!  Ask the Spirit to stir in the hearts of those connected to the Evergreen Body.

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Day 16 (March 12), John 6:35-59

John 6:35-59

Context:  Jesus continues his discourse with the Jews in the synagogue in Capernaum. In this passage he makes one of his 7 great ‘I Am’ statements recorded and specifically singled out in John’s narrative. ‘I am the bread of life’ Jesus claims, and ‘he who comes to me will not hunger and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.’  Jesus compares and contrasts himself, ‘this bread from heaven’, with the manna that God sent to the Jewish people in the desert during their wanderings in the wilderness. 

Observations:  What eventually happened to everyone who ate the manna (bread) in the desert?  What happens to people who believe (eat or partake) in the Bread of Life - Jesus?  In Verses 42 and 52 the Jews voice their objections to Jesus’ claims.  How did Jesus refute them?

Application: What can you do this week to more fully partake of the bread of life that Jesus offers you?  What similarities are there between eating (breaking bread) and feeding on God’s Word?  Make a practical adjustment the rest of Lent to be more consistent in reading the passages from John: set a specific time, sign up for text reminders, go to bed earlier, avoid time-wasters, avoid distractions like checking sports scores (yours will be different than mine). :)

Prayer:  Ask God to increase your hunger to know Jesus and to dig into the Scriptures ... which point to Jesus!! Pray that as we do that the Lord transforms people at Evergreen and we have new stories to share!

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