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The Thirteenth Sunday After Pentecost
Series B

Option #1: "Life's Menu" 
(Selected Verses) 
Rev. Wayne Dobratz, B.D., M.Div. 


    A. Spiritual junk food--"simple," as in Prov 9:4 (poorly fed)

    B. That which leads to a loss of self control--Eph 5:17-18; the word methusko, i.e., "to be drunk," gives the English word "methane"--a gas that can kill

    C. Drinking songs as opposed to spiritual songs--Eph 5:19-20



    A. Spiritual food that leads to understanding--Prov 9:4-6

    B. Spiritually filling food--moved or motivated by the Spirit, Eph 5:18

    C. The living bread which comes down from heaven, John 6:51-58

As God fed his people in the desert with manna, so the Rabbis were expecting the Messiah to perform similar wonders; see below. While Jesus fed thousands twice (Matt 16:9-10, His primary mission was providing spiritual food, as He tells us in John 6:51-58, the Gospel appointed for this day.


When Jesus claimed to be "the living bread that came down from heaven" (v51), He was apparently alluding to a Rabbinic tradition that his audience was understanding in a "Capernaitic" way: re: the bread--This was one of the things which the Jews expected from the Messiah, as we learn from Midrash Koheleth. Rabbi Berechiah, in the name of Rabbi Issac said, As was the first Redeemer, so also shall be the latter. The first Redeemer made manna descend from heaven, as it is said in Exod 16:4, ‘And I will rain bread from heaven for you.’ So also the latter Redeemer shall make manna descend, as it is said, Psa 72:16, ‘There shall be a handful of corn in the earth.’ etc. (Treasury of Scriptural Knowledge)

There was ample precedent for the spiritual eating and drinking to which Jesus was referring. One of the most familiar is from Isaiah 25:6-8: On this mountain the LORD Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine--the best of meats and the finest of wines. On this mountain he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations; he will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove the disgrace of his people from all the earth. The LORD has spoken.

Jesus claims in John 6:58 to be the "bread that came down from heaven." According to James Strong, the Greek word ouranos has the implication of happiness, power, eternity, especially when mentioned in conjunction with the Gospel. Jesus often had to remind his audience that he was referring to spiritual eating and drinking, as indicated in John 6:26-29. Note well: "The work of God is this: to believe in the One he has sent," v29,

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: Spiritual food: nourishment for the soul, referring specifically (1 Cor 10:3) to the manna by which the children of Israel were miraculously fed...Hence, (1) Christ Himself as the food of the soul: "I am the bread of life" (Jn 6:48-58); (2) anything that nourishes the spiritual life: (a) obedience to the will of God: "My meat is to do the will of him that sent me" (Jn 4:32-34); (b) the truths of God in the Scriptures: "Word of righteousness" = "strong meat" (Heb 5:12-14); "word of God" (Mt 4:4); (c) the things of the Spirit (1 Cor 3:1-2; compare 1 Cor 2).

Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the New Testament: Christ, having thus spoken of himself as the bread of life, and of faith as the work of God, comes more particularly to show what of himself is this bread, namely, his flesh, and that to believe is to eat of that, vv51-58, where he still prosecutes the metaphor of food. Observe here the preparation of this food: The bread that I will give is my flesh (v51), the flesh of the Son of man and his blood, v53. His flesh is meat indeed, and his blood is drink indeed, v55. Observe also the participation of this food: We must eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood (v53); and again (v54), Whoso eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood; and the same words (vv56-57), he that eateth me. This is certainly a parable or figurative discourse, wherein the actings of the soul upon things spiritual and divine are represented by bodily actions...

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Children's Message
John 6:51-58

Some of you live out in the country. I remember the cats that stayed outside. It was always fun to see where the mother cat had hidden her kittens. If you watched closely enough, you would see her carry the kittens by the nape of the neck to a new hiding place. The mother cat wanted to raise her kittens in a safe place.

You’ve probably seen a mother cat lie on her side and give her kittens their supper. God made her so that they could get their milk straight from their mother until they were big enough to eat other food.

Well, the way the mother cat feeds her kittens is the way that Jesus feeds us in His Word. Peter wrote in his first letter: Like newborn babies, crave the pure milk of the Word, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good. (1 Peter 2:2)

Of all the kittens I ever saw grow up, none of them ate only once and then grew up to be big and strong. Mother cat had to lie for a month or two before the kittens could grow strong enough to eat other food. In today’s gospel, Jesus tells us that we eat what he has to feed us by believing in him. He said: Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. We grow in our faith as Jesus feeds us, gives us of Himself in His Word. If you don’t eat what He has to give, you stop growing. He says that we must have Him inside of us if we wish to have eternal life.

When the mother cat no longer needs to feed her kittens, some of her will always be with her children, no matter how far away they roam. That’s the way it is with Jesus too. "You are what you eat." Are you eating the right things for your soul and enough of them? Like the mother cat, Jesus is always there to feed you. Just never think that you will ever stop needing the food He gives you. Be fed by Him and be strong in your faith. The food supply will never run out, and in heaven He will feed us forever. Now that’s something to look forward to

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"'Food' to Die For!"
John 6:51-58
Rev. Kelly Bedard, B.A., M.Div.

Goal: that we would give thanks for and continually partake of God's spiritual nourishment/sustenance
Malady: misunderstanding (manna="what is it?"); feeding and drinking unreal and unsalvific "food" and "drink"
Means: God's provision of daily bread; Jesus raising us from the dead; the Spirit keeping us under our Head 
1. zao {dzah'-o}, v51: to live, breathe, be among the living (not lifeless, not dead); to enjoy real life; to have true life and worthy of the name; active, blessed, endless in the kingdom of God; to live, i.e., pass life, in the manner of the living and acting; of mortals or character; living water, having vital power in itself and exerting the same upon the soul; metaphorically, to be in full vigour; to be fresh, strong, efficient; as an adjective, active, powerful, efficacious. (Strong's)
2. artos {ar'-tos}, v51: food composed of flour mixed with water and baked; the Israelites made it in the form of an oblong or round cake, as thick as one's thumb, and as large as a plate or platter--hence, it was not to be cut but broken; loaves were consecrated to the Lord; of the bread used at the love-feasts and at the Lord's Table; food of any kind. (Strong's)
3. katabaino {kat-ab-ah'-ee-no}, v51: to go down, come down, descend; the place from which one has come down from; to come down; as from the temple at Jerusalem, from the city of Jerusalem; of celestial beings coming down to earth; to be cast down; of things; to come (i.e., be sent) down; to come (i.e., fall) down; from the upper regions of the air; metaphorically, to (go, i.e.) be cast down to the lowest state of wretchedness and shame. (Strong's)
4. sarx {sarx}, v51: flesh (the soft substance of the living body, which covers the bones and is permeated with blood) of both man and beasts; the body; the body of a man; used of natural or physical origin, generation or relationship; born of natural generation; the sensuous nature of man, "the animal nature"; without any suggestion of depravity; the animal nature with cravings which incite to sin; the physical nature of man as subject to suffering; a living creature (because possessed of a body of flesh) whether man or beast; the flesh denotes mere human nature, the earthly nature of man apart from divine influence, and therefore prone to sin and opposed to God. (Strong's)
5. pino {pee'-no}, v53: to drink; figuratively, to receive into the soul what serves to refresh strengthen, nourish it unto life eternal. (Strong's)
6. brosis {bro'-sis}, v55: act of eating; in a wider sense, corrosion; that which is eaten, food, ailment; of the soul's food, either which refreshes the soul, or nourishes and supports it. (Strong's)

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