Explore the Bible Sunday School Lesson for January 22

Explore the Bible Sunday School Lesson for January 22

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By Douglas K. Wilson, Ph.D.
Professor of Biblical Studies, University of Mobile


John 6:26–40

John introduces readers to Jesus’ self-revelations. His intent is for readers to believe Jesus is the Son of God, the incarnate Anointed One. God introduced Himself to Moses as “I am” (Ex. 3:6), so it is reasonable for the evangelist to include statements from Jesus which equate Him with God. Review the earlier lessons from this quarter to see the list of “I am” passages.

Jesus multiplied enough bread and fish to feed thousands with leftovers to spare. Afterward, the disciples launched across the Sea of Galilee without Him. He walked on water that night to catch up with them.

Wants? (26–29)

Word spread quickly around the Sea of Galilee. A crew from Tiberias looked for Jesus where the feeding took place. Not finding Him, they went to Capernaum, where He had arrived and was with His disciples.

Jesus discerned their simple question — “How did you get here?” — revealed their intent. They did not want to see God’s miraculous work. They wanted a free lunch.

We experience this same reality today in our churches, as some members are more drawn to temporal satisfaction than hungering for the things of God.

Jesus told them to change their focus. Stop working hard solely to eat. Instead, do the work that leads to eternal life. What work of God is this? It is to believe in the One whom the Father sent.

Manna (30–34)

Jesus’ words were not enough to satisfy them. Again, they mentioned food, “Remember how Moses gave manna to our fathers in the wilderness? What kind of sign are You going to show so we will see and believe You?”

Was this lack of faith on their part? Yes and no. On one hand, their request for another sign was a lack of faith because they were looking for something temporal. They already believed the testimony of others about the feeding of thousands. On the other hand, Moses said prophets must be tested to authenticate God-given prophecy (Deut. 18:20–22). True prophecy is normally accompanied by an immediate fulfillment. Unfulfilled false prophecy leads to a death sentence.

It comes as no surprise that this group was seeking a sign from Jesus. John intentionally highlighted seven signs through his Gospel. Matthew’s account also records Jesus rebuking those who asked for supernatural signs (Matt. 12:39; 16:3). In addition, Paul wrote that “Jews ask for signs” (1 Cor. 1:22). As a former Pharisee, he confirmed what the gospels stated. The Pharisees and their followers sought after signs.

Satisfied (35–40)

God provided the manna, not Moses. But the manna did not satisfy the freed slaves’ temporal appetites. God gave them manna, and they complained. Plentiful quail was His next provision, and still they complained: “We would rather go back to Egypt. We had a better menu there!”

Jesus is greater than manna, which only lasted a day at a time. And God provided it only until they entered the promised land. Moses wrote that manna was insufficient for a satisfied life (Deut. 8:3). Jesus quoted this verse when tempted in the wilderness during the inaugural period of His ministry, “… man must not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4). You will only find spiritual satisfaction when you place your faith in Jesus.