I Am the Bread of Life
Jesus heals a man on the Sabbath and declares himself the Son of God.
Jesus miraculously feeds more than 5,000 people.
Jesus walks on the sea, invites Peter to come to him, and calms the winds.
Jesus declares that he is "the bread of life."
A study of this lesson will help us look to Jesus Christ as "the bread of
life," the source of everlasting life (John
Scripture references for study:
Note: Underlined scripture references have been hyperlinked
to the LDS Scriptures at LDS.org and will open in a new window.
Lesson 12 Handout (PDF
A Man Healed On The Sabbath
John 5:1-16 tells the story of a man with an infirmity who waited by the
pool of Bethesda.
He had been coming to this pool for thirty-eight years hoping that he might be the
first into the pool after the angel stirred it. Others always beat him to the pool
because of his infirmity.
When Jesus saw this man, he said to him: "Rise, take up thy bed, and
walk" (v8). The man was healed. It was the Sabbath.
Shortly after the healing, the man was questioned and asked who had healed him on the
"The man departed, and told the Jews that it was Jesus,
which had made him whole. And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and
sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the sabbath day."
JESUS KNEW THAT THE JEWS WOULD BECOME ANGRY WHEN HE HEALED PEOPLE ON THE
SABBATH. WHY DO YOU THINK HE CONTINUED TO DO THIS KNOWING HE WOULD RECEIVE SUCH
A NEGATIVE REACTION?
To teach that the Law (particularly the law of regarding the Sabbath) is
not a law to bind and restrict, but a law of love.
To teach that the Sabbath is a day to do good.
When he was challenged, "Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto,
and I work" (John 5:17).
"Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him,
because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was
his Father, making himself equal with God." (John 5:18)
WHY WERE THE JEWS OFFENDED BY JESUS' STATEMENT THAT GOD WAS HIS FATHER?
It would undermine the authority of the scribes, Pharisees, and other leaders
if the people came to believe the teachings of Jesus and believe that he
was the earthly representative of God.
Those Jews offended by the Master's teachings were not persons with pure hearts seeking for the truth.
IMPORTANT TRUTHS REGARDING THE SON'S RELATIONSHIP WITH THE FATHER FOUND
IN JOHN 5:19-31.
"The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father
do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise."
The Lord is not creating a new gospel. He is doing that which he has seen
the Father do.
"For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment
unto the Son." (v22)
The stewardship of this world has been delegated to the Son. Jesus Christ
is the God of this world and all power regarding its operation and dealings
with Heavenly Father's children on this planet have been delegated to the Son.
If we understand this principle we will heed the counsel found in v23,
"That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father.
He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent
"I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath
sent me." (v31)
The Father's plan is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life
of man. Jesus is the executor of the plan upon this earth.
JOHN 5:28-29. The resurrection of life
The Lord teaches of a resurrection based upon one's deeds.
WHAT IS SIGNIFICANT ABOUT THESE VERSES RELATING TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE
It was while studying these verses that Joseph and Sidney received their
vision of the three degrees of glory.
D&C 76:15-20. The opening of the vision of
the three degrees.
The teachings revealed in this section provide information regarding the
Father's plan which no other man or religion teaches.
JOHN 5:31-39. Witnesses of Jesus.
WHAT WITNESSES OF THE LORD ARE LISTED IN THESE VERSES?
The Lord himself.
John the Baptist.
The works of the Lord.
The Father himself.
DO WE HAVE THESE SAME WITNESSES? ARE THERE OTHERS?
The Lord appeared to Joseph Smith.
John the Baptist returned to restore the Aaronic Priesthood.
The works of the Lord: such as the restoration of the Church, its ongoing work, and
the great blessings we receive.
The Father through the ministration of the Holy Ghost.
The scriptures. In addition to what the Jews had in their day, we have
so much more.
- Elder Bruce R. McConkie: "Man's hope of
gaining salvation is in direct proportion to his knowledge of God and the laws
of salvation. No man can be saved in ignorance of Jesus Christ and the laws of
the gospel. Man is saved no faster than he gains knowledge of God and the saving
truths recorded in the scriptures. A fountain cannot rise above its source; a
people cannot live laws of which they are ignorant, nor believe in a Christ
about whom they know little or nothing. The Lord expects his people to learn the
doctrines of salvation. 'Search these commandments' (D. & C. 1:37), is a decree
which applies in principle to all revelations of all ages."
Other witnesses: The Prophet and Apostles.
The Feeding Of The 5000
Jesus and the Twelve left Capernaum and sailed across the sea of Galilee
Bruce R. McConkie suggests five reasons for leaving at this time (see The
Mortal Messiah, Volume 2):
Both Jesus and the Twelve were greatly in need of physical rest.
The intensity of the Lord's teachings and miracles.
The Lord was a physical man and needed rest.
Their departure will have a much-needed quieting effect upon the people
John the Baptist had been recently killed.
Jesus and the Twelve had been active in Galilee.
It seemed wise for Jesus and the Twelve to withdraw from the domains and
power of Herod.
The feeding of the hungering thousands could only take place in a solitary
place, in the deserts and hills where no food was available. In such a
the need for divine intervention was necessary.
Jesus must work this miracle, not alone to fulfill the Messianic tradition
had among them, but to bear witness in a unique way that he is indeed the
One of whom Moses and the prophets spoke.
The multitude must be fed, at the appointed place, so that Jesus, back
again in Capernaum, can preach his incomparable sermon on the bread of
This miracle begins the third year of Jesus' public ministry.
This year extends from the third Passover to the final Passover.
18 events were recorded in first year.
27 events were recorded in second year.
72 events were recorded in third year.
This miracle is told in all four of the Gospels.
JOHN 6:1-14. The feeding of the 5,000.
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THIS GREAT MIRACLE?
I am sure that Jesus performed this miracle for many reasons, among them
being that the people were hungry and he simply showed compassion for them.
He tested the faith of his disciples.
The way that he did this testifies that all that he does is organized and
The recipients of his goodness sat down in companies and ranks; they were
counted and numbered; there was no disorder, no commotion, no disturbance.
Divine economy was in operation - the leftovers were gathered for use at
a later time - there was to be no waste.
Bruce R. McConkie: "Because there is not and cannot be a natural explanation
of this act of pure creation, this miracle not only bears record of our
Lord's divinity, but is considered by many to be a miracle of transcendent
significance. And so, perhaps, it is. But why should it be deemed a thing
incredible that he whose words caused worlds to come rolling into existence
should speak to the elements and cause loaves and fishes to multiply?"
Neal A. Maxwell: "Jesus miraculously provided loaves and fishes for
the hungry multitude of several thousand (see John 6:1-14). Within minutes
the loaves and fishes (of which there were 'enough and to spare') were
gone. The next morning some of the beneficiaries of that remarkable blessing
were hungry again. Jesus Himself observed, 'Your fathers did eat [the miraculous]
manna in the wilderness, and are dead.' They would have remained forever
dead, too, except for the blessing of the Atonement, a blessing which in
its effects is infinite and endless, not temporary. In contrast to the
daily-dissolving manna, Jesus is the 'true bread from heaven,' filling
us forever so that we will 'never hunger'." (A Wonderful Flood of Light,
Jesus Walks On The Sea of Galilee
MATTHEW 14:22-33. Jesus goes to his disciple
on the water.
WHAT DOES THIS STORY TELL US ABOUT PETER?
He had great faith, but it was not yet perfected.
WHY DO YOU THINK PETER'S FAITH WAVERED?
WHAT DID HE DO WHEN HIS FAITH WAVERED?
He cried out for the Lord.
His faith in the Lord and his power had not wavered.
WHAT OUGHT WE TO DO WHEN OUR FAITH WAVERS AND WE ARE STRUGGLING?
Cry out to the Lord.
President Hugh B. Brown tells a wonderful story about facing a great challenge
and how he called upon the Lord when faith in himself wavered:
President Brown began his mission in England
in 1904, at a time when many were hostile towards the Mormons. He was to
be assigned to the city of Cambridge. The mission president gave Elder
Brown these encouraging words, "You may be interested to know, Elder
Brown, that the last Mormon missionaries in Cambridge were driven out by
a mob at the point of a gun and that they were told that the next Mormon
missionaries who stepped foot in the city would be shot on sight. As you
are the next missionary who is going to set foot in that city, I thought
you might be interested in this."
He went with an Elder Downs to Cambridge.
Elder Downs assisted Elder Brown in finding a place to stay and how to mark
his tracts. Elder Downs left the next morning leaving the new missionary,
Elder Hugh B. Brown, all to himself. There were no other members of the
Church within 120 miles. He says he "felt very lonely." But he went
about his work. He tracted all day Friday, his first day, without success.
He continued tracting on Saturday, again without success. "I came home,
and in my heart I felt a mistake had been made in sending me there--in
fact, in sending me on a mission at all."
That evening a man came calling at the house
where Elder Brown had a room. When Elder Brown heard the man he thought
to himself, "that this was the advance guard of a mob." The man
was shown to Elder Brown's room. The man asked Elder Brown if he had left
the tract he was holding in his hand. When Elder Brown responded in the
affirmative, the man said he represented a group of seventeen families that had
left the Church of England. He asked, "Will you come tomorrow night
and be our pastor?"
"I said what any Mormon missionary would
have said: I told him that I would come. But after he left I could not
help but wonder what I was up against. I had not been in the mission field
three days. I had never attended a meeting in the mission field. I had
never spoken before an audience in the mission field. I felt terribly weak
"I worried about it all night. I went up
to bed without supper. I went up to my room, prepared for bed, knelt at
the side of my bed, and for the first time in my life I actually talked
with God. I told him of my predicament, of the challenge that lay ahead
of me, of my inadequacy, of my lack of training and knowledge, and I asked
for help. I seemed to get no reply."
Brown continued in this attitude of discouragement and unrest until the next
evening when he left for the house where the meeting was to be held. Upon
arriving at the house he found a large room completely filled with people. "Not
knowing anything else to do I said, 'Let's sing "O, My Father",' the Mormon hymn
by Eliza R. Snow. They looked at me with a blank stare, but we sang it. It was a
terrible cowboy solo. I was much embarrassed.
"Thinking that I would be less ill at ease
if they knelt and took their eyes off me, I suggested to them that they
turn around and kneel at their chairs while we offered the opening prayer.
I knelt with them, and at that very moment every bit of worry and concern
and doubt and question left my mind."
Elder Brown then stood and spoke to this congregation
for forty-five minutes, "More accurately, the Lord spoke to those people."
At the end of the meeting, the people surrounded him and said, "This
is the gospel we have been asking for."
"I mentioned earlier that I had to drag
myself to that house. On my return home that night, it seemed to me that
I only touched the ground once, so elated was I that the Lord had come
to my assistance." Within three months every man, woman, and child
in that room had been baptized. (The Memoirs of Hugh B. Brown, pp21-24)
The Sermon on the Bread of Life
JOHN 6:24-26. The people find Jesus.
His response to the people was that they followed him for food.
He then began His sermon on the Bread of Life.
"Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which
endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you:
for him hath God the Father sealed."
These people had gone to the effort of making their way across the Galilee to find
Jesus in hopes of finding more free food.
The Lord says not to labor for that meat or food which perishes, but for
that meat which the Son will give which leads to eternal life.
HOW MUCH EFFORT DO WE EXPEND IN PURSUIT OF THAT WHICH "PERISHES" IN CONTRAST
TO THE EFFORT EXPENDED ON THAT WHICH PROVIDES ETERNAL SATISFACTION?
"Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work
the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of
God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent." (v28-v29)
They asked, what is this labor of God.
Jesus answered: Believe in Him who the Father has sent.
Belief in Jesus Christ encompasses acceptance of his gospel and the living
of his precepts. Foremost among these precepts is to assist in bringing
others to his gospel.
"They said therefore unto him, What sign shewest thou then,
that we may see, and believe thee? what dost thou work? Our fathers did
eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven
to eat." (v30-31)
They asked for a sign of His calling. It is difficult to believe that after they saw
the Master feed the 5,000 they would ask for a sign.
It was a tradition among the Jews that their Messiah would bring again
manna from heaven like unto Moses.
"Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread."
The Jews then ask Him for this bread.
"And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh
to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst."
"But I said unto you, That ye also have
seen me, and believe not.
"All that the Father giveth me shall come
to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.
"For I came down from heaven, not to do
mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.
"And this is the Father's will which hath
sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but
should raise it up again at the last day.
"And this is the will of him that sent
me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have
everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day." (v35-40)
That which he teaches is no longer milk, but meat.
Jesus proclaims himself - He is the bread of life.
He came down from heaven to do the will of the Father.
All that believe in the Son (partake of this bread) shall have eternal
"The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread
which came down from heaven. And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son
of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how is it then that he saith,
I came down from heaven?" (v41-42)
The Jews question the Lord's divine Sonship. They know his parents and
family. How is it possible a neighbor from Nazareth could be the Redeemer,
the Savior of all mankind?
"Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Murmur not
"I am that bread of life.
"Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness,
and are dead.
"This is the bread which cometh down from
heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die.
"I am the living bread which came down
from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and
the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life
of the world." (v43,48-51)
The Lord again bears witness of his divine Sonship.
He that partakes of this bread shall live forever.
The Lord teaches that he will give his life for the world.
"The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this
man give us his flesh to eat?" (v52)
This was more than the Jews could comprehend and accept.
"Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you,
Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have
no life in you.
"Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my
blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.
"For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood
is drink indeed.
"He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh
my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.
"As the living Father hath sent me, and
I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.
"This is that bread which came down from
heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth
of this bread shall live for ever.
"These things said he in the synagogue,
as he taught in Capernaum." (v53-59)
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO EAT THE FLESH AND DRINK THE BLOOD OF THE SON?
Bruce R. McConkie: "To eat the flesh and drink the
blood of the Son of God is, first, to accept him in the most literal and full
sense, with no reservation whatever, as the personal offspring in the flesh of
the Eternal Father; and, secondly, it is to keep the commandments of the Son by
accepting his gospel, joining his Church, and enduring in obedience and
righteousness unto the end. Those who by this course eat his flesh and drink his
blood shall have eternal life, meaning exaltation in the highest heaven of the
celestial world. Speaking of ancient Israel, for instance, Paul says: They 'did
all eat the same spiritual meat; And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for
they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ'."
(Mortal Messiah, 2:379)
"Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this,
said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it?
"When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples
murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you?
"What and if ye shall see the Son of man
ascend up where he was before?
"It is the spirit that quickeneth; the
flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit,
and they are life.
"But there are some of you that believe
not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not,
and who should betray him.
"And he said, Therefore said I unto you,
that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.
"From that time many of his disciples went
back, and walked no more with him.
"Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will
ye also go away?
"Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to
whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.
"And we believe and are sure that thou
art that Christ, the Son of the living God." (v60-69)
WHY DO YOU THINK MANY OF JESUS' DISCIPLES MURMURED AND "WALKED NO MORE
WITH HIM" AFTER HEARING THE SERMON ON THE BREAD OF LIFE?
- Elder Neal A. Maxwell: "The lessons of history concerning faith are
deeply relevant to the present. For instance, some of His early disciples found
Christ's claim as to His unique role too much. They 'walked no more with
[Jesus]', when their little faith in Him failed. These fair-weather friends had
just eaten hungrily of the miraculous loaves, but still they rejected Jesus'
declarations of His divinity as the Bread of Life! Once again, experiencing
miracles is no substitute for nurturing daily faith." (Lord, Increase Our Faith,
WHAT DID JESUS TEACH THAT IS THE KEY TO UNDERSTANDING HIS WORDS AND GAINING
A PERSONAL WITNESS OF THEM? (see v63)
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE CHALLENGES OF DISCIPLESHIP THAT YOU HAVE EXPERIENCED?
Gospel Doctrine Notebook
Daily we labor for bread which enables us to continue here
in mortality. It is part of our mortality. But we also need to labor for "the
bread of life," that which will nourish our souls more completely than the
physical bread that nourishes our bodies. Unlike physical bread, the "bread of life"
nourishes our souls so completely that it goes with us into the eternities.
Record your thoughts on the great miracles of the Lord. What does the
sermon on the bread of life mean to you?
Resources Used In This Lesson
A Wonderful Flood of Light by Neal A. Maxwell.
Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, Volume 1, by Bruce R. McConkie (DNTC).
Lord, Increase Our Faith by Neal A. Maxwell.
The Memoirs of Hugh B. Brown edited by Edwin B. Firmage.
The Mortal Messiah: From Bethlehem to Calvary, Volume
2, by Bruce R. McConkie.
Gospel Doctrine Class
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Changes last made on:
16 March 2015