Hi everyone! This week will be one of the busiest that our church sees each year. On campus there will be Vacation Bible School, Music Camp, and Disciple Now Mission Week. Please be praying for these events! The amount of elementary and middle school students on campus this week will be nearing 300. We have a wonderful opportunity to share about God’s love with many, many kids. I’ll post some pictures next week!
This week’s chapter shares with us the growing momentum of Jesus’ ministry. At this time, the vast majority of Jesus’ ministry occurred around Lake Galilee. Did you notice how many times Jesus and his disciples crossed from one side of the lake to the other? It is amazing to think that what is now a worldwide religion began with Jesus preaching in one small geographic area.
The reason for this explosion of growth has to do with the content of Jesus’ ministry: preaching and performing miracles.
Preaching: No one had seen a teacher like Jesus before. Sometimes Jesus taught in parables. Other times Jesus taught more directly (such as in the Sermon on the Mount). Regardless, people left Jesus’ teaching with their lives changed. Much of Jesus’ teachings attempted to reframe what God is like.
God is like a shepherd going to look for the lost sheep.
God is like a Father welcoming back a wayward son.
God is like a woman who rejoices over finding her lost coin.
Through parables Jesus presents us with a picture of God, and then asks us to respond.
We can be like the man who sees a person in need and crosses the street to care for him.
We can be like the person who chooses to pray in his room; humbly and without pride.
We can be like good seed by allowing God’s word to grow in our hearts.
Miracles: Jesus was more than a moral teacher. What set Jesus apart was his ability to manipulate the laws of nature through miracles. This chapter compiled many of the miracles that captured people’s attention:
Jesus multiplied fishes and loaves so that it could feed 5,000 people. Jesus healed the mind of a man who was mentally unstable. Jesus controlled the weather just by speaking a word. Jesus healed the sick and brought the dead back to life.
The miraculous acts that were performed by Jesus let the crowd know that this was no ordinary man that they were encountering.
At this point in his ministry, Jesus decided to make it clear what the stakes of discipleship truly were. To the crowd who were raised on stories of their ancestors eating manna in the desert, Jesus proclaimed that he could give them something that would lead to ultimate fulfillment.
Jesus would give himself.
Eternal life, true life, abundant life: this is possible through Jesus. He proclaimed that he was the bread of life that will ultimately sustain us.
This was a tough teaching that many people were confused by. How can Jesus bring eternal life? “From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.”
Jesus asked his closest disciples, the Twelve, if they would leave as well as a result of his teaching. Peter replied that they would have nowhere else to go because they had come to believe that Jesus truly was the chosen one of God.
We are confronted with the same question today: How will we respond to the revolutionary teachings of Jesus?
May you be like Peter and commit your belief to the only one that can provide true fulfillment in this life.
Questions to think about:
1. Why did Jesus center so much of his teaching in one geographic area?
2. Why did Jesus teach in parables?
3. How has Jesus been “the bread of life” for you?