Sunday School lessons for Gospel Doctrine Class

Saturday, March 30, 2019

“Be Not Afraid”

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Reading about the call of the Apostles in the New testament is fascinating on many counts. Men left their families and professions, giving up all to follow a stranger that came, but whom the Spirit testified to them was the Messiah. If it were us there, if it were you that had been called upon to "come follow me" would you have gone? Would you have followed, or would we have been too afraid?

When we think particularly of the story of Peter leaving the safety of his boat in the middle of a storm to walk on water what do you think inspired Peter to do so? What led him to believe that if Jesus could walk on water, he could too?

Peter understood that the Son of God came not just to do wonderful things for the people but to empower people like Peter to do wonderful things too. Jesus’s invitation “Come, follow me” (Luke 18:22) was accepted by Peter in his call as an Apostle and then he was willing to accept it again, even if it meant facing his fears and doing something like walking on water that seemed impossible. The Lord may not ask us to step out of a boat in the middle of a storm or contribute our meager supply of bread when thousands need to eat, but He may ask us to accept directions even when we don’t fully understand them. Whatever His invitations to us may be, they may sometimes seem surprising or even frightening. But as we have been taught in previous lessons this year; miracles can happen if we, like Peter, will set aside our fears, our doubts, and our limited understanding and follow Him in faith.

1. Jesus Christ is the Beloved Son of Heavenly Father. 

In John Chapter 5 attitudes toward Jesus Christ really began to turn and divide. Some were of opposition and hostility and others were of belief, devotion and love. In this particular chapter the Savior attended a feast (likely the Passover) in Jerusalem and healed a feeble man at the pool of Bethesda. Jesus Christ taught that He represents Heavenly Father and explained why people need to honor the Son of God. He also described other witnesses who had testified of His divinity.

As children of Heavenly Father, we are important and have great worth. However, because of our choices or the challenges we face, at times we may feel broken or like we have little value.  People at this time, when Christ walked with them, also faced the same feelings and challenges. 

In this first section John 5:1-16 we read about people who were impotent, blind, halt, and withered which describes people who were so sick, feeble, or disabled in some way; that they would gather at a pool called Bethesda which based on fable and superstition was touched by an angel at certain times.  The first person to touch the water following the Angel would be healed.  Thus multitudes gathered hoping for their chance at healing.  

Can you imagine the scene at this pool of water?  It must have been incredible, but also sad.  This spring may have been a spring that occasionally flowed into the pool and caused the surface of the water to bubble, which may have provided some relief to these people’s ailments [see Bible Dictionary, “Bethesda”].)   But Elder Bruce R McConkie teaches us that: “No doubt the pool of Bethesda was a mineral spring whose waters had some curative virtue. But any notion that an angel came down and troubled the waters, so that the first person thereafter entering them would be healed, was pure superstition. Healing miracles are not wrought in any such manner” (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 vols. [1965–73], 1:188)

Bethesda can be translated as “house of mercy” Archaeological excavations have identified the site for the pool of Bethesda as being just outside a north gate of the ancient temple precinct in Jerusalem, possibly a gate through which sacrificial sheep were led into the temple grounds.  

Mercy is compassion or kindness, and a fitting name for this pool as much was shown by the Savior to a man who lay beside the pool hoping for his miracle:

1 After this there was a feast of the Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
2 Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches.
3 In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water.
4 For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had.
5 And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years.
6 When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole?
7 The impotent man answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me.
8 Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.
9 And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the sabbath.
10 ¶ The Jews therefore said unto him that was cured, It is the sabbath day: it is not lawful for thee to carry thy bed.
11 He answered them, He that made me whole, the same said unto me, Take up thy bed, and walk.
12 Then asked they him, What man is that which said unto thee, Take up thy bed, and walk?
13 And he that was healed wist not who it was: for Jesus had conveyed himself away, a multitude being in that place.
14 Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.
15 The man departed, and told the Jews that it was Jesus, which had made him whole.

16 And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the sabbath day.

What truth can we learn from the Savior’s healing of this man?   Trough the power and mercy of Jesus Christ, we can be made whole.

At the pool of Bethesda, the Savior healed a man who had “had an infirmity” for 38 years, and the man was immediately made whole. Bishop Merrill J. Bateman, while serving as the Presiding Bishop, examined the personal significance that the healing at the pool of Bethesda can have for us today:

“Just as the lame man at the Pool of Bethesda needed someone stronger than himself to be healed (see John 5:1–9), so we are dependent on the miracles of Christ’s atonement if our souls are to be made whole from grief, sorrow, and sin. … Through Christ, broken hearts are mended and peace replaces anxiety and sorrow. … As Isaiah stated concerning the Savior: ‘Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows. … And with his stripes we are healed’ (Isa. 53:4–5). …

“The Savior’s atonement in the garden and on the cross is intimate as well as infinite. Infinite in that it spans the eternities. Intimate in that the Savior felt each person’s pains, sufferings, and sicknesses. Consequently, he knows how to carry our sorrows and relieve our burdens that we might be healed from within, made whole persons, and receive everlasting joy in his kingdom. May our faith in the Father and the Son help each of us to become whole”
(“The Power to Heal from Within,” Ensign, May 1995)

After the healing at the pool of Bethesda, the Jews sought to kill the Savior because the healing had occurred on the Sabbath John 5:10, 16, 18. The Savior’s lengthy reply to the Jewish elites who were opposing Him is recorded in John 5:17–47. Of this important discourse, Elder James E. Talmage  said: “[The Savior’s] reply to their charges is not confined to the question of Sabbath observance; it stands as the most comprehensive sermon in scripture on the vital subject of the relationship between the Eternal Father and His Son, Jesus Christ” (Jesus the Christ, 3rd ed. [1916], 208)

Jesus Christ honors His Father John 5:16–47
Events in the Savior’s life often became opportunities for Him to teach important doctrines. This is especially apparent in the Gospel of John. For example, in John 4, meeting the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well became an opportunity for the Savior to teach about “living water.” In John 5, the healing of the man at the pool of Bethesda also leads into important doctrinal teachings.  As well He also provided several important insights about Himself, His Father, and His relationship to the Father.
What insights can we gain about the characteristics of Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son from John 5: 18–31:
1.John 5:18.  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. 
 He Said That “God Was His Father, Making Himself Equal with God”  The Jews persecuted the Savior not only because He healed a man on the Sabbath, but because He said that God was His Father.  Elder Bruce R. McConkie explained what it meant for the Savior to be “equal with God” during His earthly ministry:  ‘Equal with God!’—awful blasphemy or awesome truth!—one or the other. There is no middle ground, no room for compromise; there are no principles to compose: either Jesus is divine or he is blaspheming!  Equal with God!’—not, as yet, in the infinite and eternal sense, but in the sense of being one with him, of being his natural heir, destined to receive, inherit, and possess all that the Father hath.   Equal with God!’—not that he was then reigning in glory and exaltation over all the works which their hands had made, but in the sense that he was God’s Son, upon whom the Father had placed his own name and to whom he had given glory and honor and power” (The Mortal Messiah: From Bethlehem to Calvary, 4 vols. [1979–81], 2:71).

2. John 5:21  For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will. The Father and Son are united in Their desires and have power to “quicken” people, or to bring them back to life.

3. .John 5:19–21, 23.  
Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, 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. 
20 For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth: and he will shew him greater works than these, that ye may marvel. 
21 For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will.
23 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 him.

“The Son Can Do Nothing of Himself”.  As He continued to teach the Jews about His mission, the Savior declared that He could do “nothing of himself,” but rather He did what He had seen His Father do (John 5:19). Elder Jeffrey R. Holland testified that Jesus came to earth to “reveal and make personal to us the true nature of His Father, our Father in Heaven. … To come to earth with such a responsibility, to stand in place of Elohim—speaking as He would speak, judging and serving, loving and warning, forbearing and forgiving as He would do—this is a duty of such staggering proportions that you and I cannot comprehend such a thing. But in the loyalty and determination that would be characteristic of a divine child, Jesus could comprehend it and He did it. Then, when the praise and honor began to come, He humbly directed all adulation to the Father  (“The Grandeur of God,” Ensign  Nov. 2003, 70–71)

The Savior’s words recorded in John 5:19–21, 23 emphasize the unity between the Father and the Son, teaching that the work of the Father is also the work of the Son. The Father shows the Son “all things that himself doeth.” The Father “raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them [brings them to life]; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will.” And all people “should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father.” Such teachings clearly testify of the complete unity between the Father and the Son.
4..John 5:30  I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.
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.  Elder John C. Pingree, Jr stated.: "Jesus Christ accepted, prepared for, and performed His preordained role as our Savior and Redeemer. He did the Father’s will and completed His divine assignments." (General Conference, October 2017)

What does the restored gospel teach that helps us better understand who our Father is and why we worship Him?
Although God created all things and is the ruler of the universe, being omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent (through His Spirit), mankind has a special relationship to Him that differentiates man from all other created things: man is literally God’s offspring, made in His image, whereas all other things are but the work of His hands (Acts 17:28–29).  Latter-day revelation confirms the biblical account of God as the literal father of the human family, as a being who is concerned for the welfare of mankind and a Personage who hears and answers prayers.

God the Father is the Supreme Being in whom we believe and whom we worship. He is the ultimate Creator, Ruler, and Preserver of all things. He is perfect, has all power, and knows all things. He “has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s” (D&C 130:22).
Our Heavenly Father is a God of judgment and strength and knowledge and power, but He is also a God of perfect mercy, kindness, and charity. Even though we “do not know the meaning of all things,” we can find peace in the sure knowledge that He loves us (see 1 Nephi 11:17).

2. The Savior can magnify our offering to accomplish His purposes  Matthew 14:16–21; Mark 6:33–44; John 6:5–14

The feeding of the five thousand is one of the only miracles besides the Resurrection that is found in all four Gospels and it is very helpful in our gospel study to have an understanding of the historical context of the Savior’s miracle that we may understand the Savior’s teachings. 

After the Savior testified of His divinity at Jerusalem John 5  He returned to Galilee, where He and His Apostles taught the gospel and healed many people Matthew 5–13. Jesus then crossed the Sea of Galilee with His disciples and miraculously fed a multitude of more than 5,000 people  John 6:1–13.
The day after He miraculously fed a multitude of more than 5,000 people, Jesus taught that He is the Bread of Life. Some of His followers rejected His teachings and turned away from Him. In contrast, Peter testified that Jesus taught the words of eternal life and was the Son of God.

5 ¶ When Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a great company come unto him, he saith unto Philip, Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat? 

6 And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do.
7 Philip answered him, Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little.
8 One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, saith unto him,
9 There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many?
10 And Jesus said, Make the men sit down. Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand.
11 And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would.
12 When they were filled, he said unto his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.
13 Therefore they gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above unto them that had eaten.
14 Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world.

What might you have thought if you had been present for this miracle and learned that Jesus had the ability to miraculously provide food?
Why did Jesus and his disciples go up into a mountain? John 6:1–3; note the Joseph Smith Translation of Mark 6:31 in footnote 31a, which says that Jesus and his disciples went to a solitary place.

How did Jesus respond when the multitude came to him? Mark 6:33–34; Matthew 14:14.

33 And the people saw them departing, and many knew him, and ran afoot thither out of all cities, and outwent them, and came together unto him. 
34 And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things.

14 And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick.

How did Jesus feed the multitude?
  John 6:5–13; see also Matthew 14:21.

How can we follow the example of the boy who gave his loaves and fishes to Jesus?

How does the Lord bless us when we, like the boy, give whatever we have in His service? Elder James E. Faust said:  “Many nameless people with gifts equal only to five loaves and two small fishes magnify their callings and serve without attention or recognition, feeding literally thousands. … These are the hundreds of thousands of leaders and teachers in all of the auxiliaries and priesthood quorums, the home teachers, the Relief Society visiting teachers. These are the many humble bishops in the Church, some without formal training but greatly magnified, always learning, with a humble desire to serve the Lord and the people of their wards. … “A major reason this church has grown from its humble beginnings to its current strength is the faithfulness and devotion of millions of humble and devoted people who have only five loaves and two small fishes to offer in the service of the Master. They have largely surrendered their own interests and in so doing have found ‘the peace of God, which passeth all understanding’ (Philippians 4:7)” (Conference Report, Apr. 1994, 4–5; or Ensign, May 1994, 5–6).

What are some examples you have seen of people being magnified by the Lord as they have served him?

In contrast have you ever felt that your means or abilities were insufficient to accomplish a goal or a commandment from God? Have you ever felt that the Savior magnified or multiplied your efforts to help you accomplish something that seemed impossible?  Elder Jeffery R Holland teaches us to: "Don’t worry about Christ running out of ability to help you. His grace is sufficient. That is the spiritual, eternal lesson of the feeding of the 5,000”

How do we find personal meaning and increase our faith in the Savior to help us personally through this event?  Elder J. Devn Cornish of the Seventy taught that the feeding of the five thousand is one of the scriptural accounts that “can teach us symbolically of the power and abundance of the Savior’s atoning grace. … His grace is truly abundant and more than sufficient to meet all our needs” (“Learning How the Atonement Can Change You,” Ensign, Apr. 2002, 23).

We can see this by noticing the sequence of statements and actions from the recorded miracle:

1.  The Savior gave a commandment beyond the disciples’ present ability: “Give ye them to eat” Mark 6:37. The impossibility of this task is reflected in the disciples’ response, found only in Mark. They said that the amount of bread needed to feed such a multitude would have been “two hundred pennyworth,” or two hundred denarii—roughly eight months’ wages for a common laborer.

2.  The Savior asked the disciples what they could provide: “How many loaves have ye?” Mark 6:38.  The disciples told the Savior they had found five loaves and two fishes.

3.  The Savior instructed, “Bring them hither to me” Matthew 14:18.

4.  The disciples gave the Savior what they had.

5.  The Savior blessed and multiplied what the disciples were able to provide, miraculously meeting and surpassing what was needed.

This sequence mirrors a pattern in our relationship with the Savior. On our own, we fall far short of the perfection and glory of God  Matthew 5:48; Romans 3:23 . But when we offer our whole souls to the Savior, the abundant power and grace of His Atonement will more than compensate for our shortcomings  2 Nephi 25:23; Omni 1:26; Moroni 10:32–33.

3. Jesus Christ invites us to set aside our fears and doubts so that we can more fully come unto Him  Matthew 14:22–33

 Matthew 14:22–33 contains words and phrases that can inspire us to exercise greater faith in the Savior.

22 ¶ And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away. 
23 And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone.
24 But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary.
25 And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea.
26 And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. 

27 But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.
28 And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.
29 And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.
30 But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.
31 And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?
32 And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased.
33 Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.

After Jesus fed the multitudes, he instructed his disciples to get into a ship and go to the other side of the sea.  He then sent the multitudes away and went up a mountain to pray  The Romans divided the night hours into four watches, corresponding roughly to 6:00–9:00 p.m., 9:00 p.m.–midnight, midnight–3:00 a.m., and 3:00–6:00 a.m. When the Savior came to the disciples in the fourth watch  Matthew 14:25  they had been rowing all night as the disciples when crossing the sea were caught in strong winds.

What happened to the disciples while they were crossing the Sea of Galilee? They were caught in a storm. It was evening when Jesus was alone on the mountain and the disciples were crossing the Sea of Galilee. The distance to cross the sea was about five miles (about eight kilometers) and should have been crossable in two to three hours in good weather. The disciples had likely been fighting the wind to cross the sea around 9 to 12 hours.

What does it mean that “the wind was contrary”? verse 24 It was blowing in the opposite direction of their destination.

What truth can we learn about our own struggles from these accounts of the disciples trying to cross the sea? Even though God might not always spare us from struggles, He knows what we are experiencing and will, in His own time, come to our aid.
What good can come from our struggling for a time rather than being immediately delivered from our trials by the Lord? 
How did the disciples react when they saw Jesus walking toward them on the water? Matthew 14:26; John 6:19.)  They thought Jesus might be a spirit.
26 And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear.
How did Jesus respond to their fears?  Matthew 14:27; John 6:20. 
27 But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. 
The phrase “be of good cheer” Matthew 14:27 appears numerous times in the standard works. In most cases this reassurance comes from the Savior at times when individuals like the Apostles were in desperate or discouraging circumstances.  President Howard W. Hunter  taught:  “In [the disciples’] moment of greatest extremity they looked and saw in the darkness an image in a fluttering robe, walking toward them on the ridges of the sea. They cried out in terror at the sight, thinking that it was a phantom that walked upon the waves. And through the storm and darkness to them—as so often to us, when, amid the darknesses of life, the ocean seems so great and our little boats so small—there came the ultimate and reassuring voice of peace with this simple declaration, ‘It is I; be not afraid.’ (Matt. 14:27.)” (“The Beacon in the Harbor of Peace,” Ensign, Nov. 1992, 19).
What did Peter request when he heard the Savior’s voice?   Matthew 14:28–29. 
28 And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.
29 And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.
President Howard W. Hunter continues: Peter exclaimed, ‘Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.’ And Christ’s answer to him was the same as to all of us: ‘Come. Peter sprang over the vessel’s side and into the troubled waves, and while his eyes were fixed upon the Lord, the wind might toss his hair and the spray might drench his robes, but all was well. Only when with wavering faith he removed his glance from the Master to look at the furious waves and the black gulf beneath him, only then did he begin to sink. Again, like most of us, he cried, ‘Lord, save me.’ Nor did Jesus fail him. He stretched out his hand and grasped the drowning disciple with the gentle rebuke, ‘O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?’ … (Adapted from [Frederic W.] Farrar, The Life of Christ, pp. 310–13; see Matt. 14:22–33.)

“It is my firm belief that if as individual people, as families, communities, and nations, we could, like Peter, fix our eyes on Jesus, we too might walk triumphantly over ‘the swelling waves of disbelief’ and remain ‘unterrified amid the rising winds of doubt.’ But if we turn away our eyes from him in whom we must believe, as it is so easy to do and the world is so much tempted to do, if we look to the power and fury of those terrible and destructive elements around us rather than to him who can help and save us, then we shall inevitably sink in a sea of conflict and sorrow and despair.

“At such times when we feel the floods are threatening to drown us and the deep is going to swallow up the tossed vessel of our faith, I pray we may always hear amid the storm and the darkness that sweet utterance of the Savior of the world: ‘Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.’ (“The Beacon in the Harbor of Peace,” Ensign, Nov. 1992, 19).

Why did Peter’s faith falter as he walked on the water?  Matthew 14:30. 
30 But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. 
It was the boisterous winds that caused Peter to turn his focus away from the Lord. While serving as second counselor in the Young Women general presidency, Sister Patricia P. Pinegar listed some of today’s distractions that can turn our hearts and minds away from the Savior:  “When [Peter] began to pay more attention to what was happening around him, ‘the wind boisterous,’ he began to sink. What are the winds boisterous in our lives? What are the things that distract us from the Savior, that turn our hearts and our minds away from Him? It may be thinking more about pleasing our friends or other people than we do about pleasing God (see John 5:44). It may be the loud and confusing voices we hear on TV, in videos, in music. Sometimes we just don’t care. Our hearts are hard (see John 12:37). There will always be distractions, winds boisterous, but if we choose to turn to the Lord, to believe in Him, to follow Him, we can increase our faith.

“When Peter began to sink, he turned to the Lord and cried out, ‘Lord, save me,’ and Jesus immediately ‘stretched forth his hand, and caught him.’ He will do that for you. He will do that for each one of us
(“Increase in Faith,” Ensign, May 1994, 95).

What did Peter do when he began to sink?  Matthew 14:30. What did Jesus do?  Matthew 14:31–32
31 And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?

What does this reveal about our relationship with the Lord? How have you felt the Savior strengthen you and calm your fears?  
Having faith in Jesus Christ and relying on Him enable us to overcome fear and tribulation. 

What can we learn from Peter’s experience about how to avoid being overcome by our fears and doubts?  If we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus Christ and maintain our faith in Him, we will not be overcome by our fears and doubts.

How has Jesus Christ come to your rescue in your moments of fear or doubt?

4. As disciples of Christ, we must be willing to believe and accept the truth even when it is hard to do John 6:22–71

The events in John 6 can provide a helpful perspective when people question the doctrine, history, or policies of Christ’s Church. Following the feeding of the five thousand, the Savior was perhaps at the height of His public popularity. John recorded that some sought to “take him by force, to make him a king” John 6:15. In this chapter, some of Jesus’s followers refused to accept His teachings that He was the Living Bread and that they could be saved only through His sacrifice of flesh and blood.

After reading John 6:22–71 we find that The day after Jesus’ miracle with the loaves and fishes, the people followed him to Capernaum.

Why did they follow him?  John 6:26
26 Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled.

 Elder Bruce R. McConkie explained that Jesus Christ was the fulfillment of a long-cherished tradition:  “There was a tradition, taught by the Rabbis and firmly entrenched in the public mind, that when Messiah came, he would feed them with bread from heaven. … It had even become a fixed belief that the Messiah, when He came, would signalize His advent by a repetition of this stupendous miracle. ‘As the first Saviour—the deliverer from Egyptian bondage,’ said the Rabbis, ‘caused manna to fall for Israel from heaven, so the second Saviour—the Messiah—will also cause manna to descend for them once more’ [Cunningham Geikie, The Life and Words of Christ (1886), 516–17].  “Thus, when Jesus multiplied the five barley loaves and the two small fishes, it was as though the traditional sign had been given. The peak of his popular appeal had come. In their eyes he stood on the summit. He was the Messiah, they reasoned, and must reign as their king” (Mortal Messiah, 2:367–68).

How did Jesus use the people’s excitement about the previous day’s miracle to testify of his mission?   John 6:27–35. Note that the word meat in verse 27 means food.

27 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.
28 Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?
29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.
30 They said therefore unto him, What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? what dost thou work?
31 Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat.
32 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven.
33 For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.
34 Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread.
35 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.

After Jesus miraculously fed the five thousand, as recorded in John 6:3–14, the people who had been fed sought more food from Jesus. He taught them instead that He was the “living bread” and that they should seek the spiritual food He offered them. After that, many of His disciples no longer followed Him (see John 6:26–27, 66). Elder Jeffrey R. Holland said of this account:  “In that little story is something of the danger in our day. It is that in our contemporary success and sophistication we too may walk away from the vitally crucial bread of eternal life; we may actually choose to be spiritually malnourished, willfully indulging in a kind of spiritual anorexia. Like those childish Galileans of old, we may turn up our noses when divine sustenance is placed before us. … We invite you to join in the adventure of the earliest disciples of Christ who also yearned for the bread of life—those who did not go back but who came to Him, stayed with Him, and who recognized that for safety and salvation there was no other to whom they could ever go [see John 6:68]” (“He Hath Filled the Hungry with Good Things,” Ensign, Nov. 1997, 65).
How is “bread of life” an appropriate description of the Savior and the blessings he offers us? John 6:35, 47–51.  Jesus had demonstrated that He could indeed provide for them temporally, but He was also “that bread of life” John 6:48 who could give eternal life to those who would partake of the spiritual nourishment He now offered   John 6:51

47 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.
48 I am that bread of life.
49 Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead.
50 This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die.
51 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.

What does it mean to “never hunger” and “never thirst”? How can we partake of the “bread of life”? John 6:47, 51–54; Matthew 26:26–28; Alma 5:33–35; D&C 20:77.)  President Howard W. Hunter counseled: “We must know Christ better than we know him; we must remember him more often than we remember him; we must serve him more valiantly than we serve him. Then we will drink water springing up unto eternal life and will eat the bread of life” (Conference Report, Apr. 1994, 84; or Ensign, May 1994, 64).

Some people did not believe Jesus because they saw him only as “the son of Joseph” John 6:42. Some who had claimed to be Jesus’ disciples murmured and turned away from him, saying that they did not understand the spiritual meanings of his declaration that he was the bread of life and his teaching about the need to eat his flesh and drink his blood John 6:51–66 

When some people rejected Jesus’ sermon, what did Jesus ask the Twelve Apostles? John 6:67
67 Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?
What was Peter’s response?  John 6:68.

68 Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.
What did Peter and the other Apostles understand about Jesus that those who left did not understand?  John 6:69.
 69 And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.

John 6 records a drastic shift in public opinion toward the Savior. He went from the high point of His popularity to a drastic decline. We may wonder how the same group of people who wanted to make Jesus Christ a king one day John 6:15 could abandon Him the very next day  John 6:66.

Elder Neal A. Maxwell wrote about why people abandoned Jesus and why we must be willing to accept the hard doctrines of the gospel, even when they are unpopular with the world:  “When Jesus first began to preach strong doctrines (the scriptures refer to these as ‘hard sayings’), many of those who followed Him ‘went back, and walked no more with him.’ (John 6:66.) Once His doctrines really began to make demands of people, it was too much for many.  

There are equivalent ‘hard sayings’ about our secular societies that one hesitates to utter but which need to be heard. They are not popular. … A truth may touch us, bore us, or merely make us uncomfortable. But those are reactions to truth, and reactions do not alter the reality of truth itself. … Hard sayings … when pondered, may make it easier to let go of the world. …

“Nephi lamented the fact that so many people will not ‘understand great knowledge.’ (2 Nephi 32:7.) Complexity is scarcely the cause, for the gospel is so plain and simple. Rather, the failure to comprehend seems to be rooted in a resolute refusal to let go of the world long enough to ponder the precious truths in the message of the Master”
(Wherefore, Ye Must Press Forward [1977], 6–7, 22).

What are some ways we can choose to walk with Christ even when we have questions?
  After quoting John 6:68–69, Elder M. Russell Ballard taught:  “For some, Christ’s invitation to believe and remain continues to be hard—or difficult to accept. Some disciples struggle to understand a specific Church policy or teaching. Others find concerns in our history or in the imperfections of some members and leaders, past and present. Still others find it difficult to live a religion that requires so much. Finally, some have become ‘weary in well-doing’ [D&C 64:33]. For these and other reasons, some Church members vacillate in their faith, wondering if perhaps they should follow those who ‘went back, and walked no more’ with Jesus.  If any one of you is faltering in your faith, I ask you the same question that Peter asked: ‘To whom shall [you] go?’ …Before you make that spiritually perilous choice to leave, I encourage you to stop and think carefully before giving up whatever it was that brought you to your testimony of the restored Church of Jesus Christ in the first place. Stop and think about what you have felt here and why you felt it. Think about the times when the Holy Ghost has borne witness to you of eternal truth” (“To Whom Shall We Go?” Ensign  Nov. 2016, 90–91)

What truths do we learn in these verses of scripture to help us accept the Saviors invitation to Come Follow Me? Through the power and mercy of Jesus Christ, we can be made whole. In all He does, Jesus Christ represents Heavenly Father and seeks to obey His will. Only by coming unto Jesus Christ can we receive eternal life, yet we need not fear for His Grace is sufficient for our needs.  Jesus Christ is “the bread of life” and he has “the words of eternal life”  our lesson is to learn to apply his promises from the Sermon on the Bread of Life: “He that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. … He that believeth on me hath everlasting life”

New Testament Student Manual
Conference Reports
Mortal Messiah Bruce R McConkie
The Mortal Messiah: From Bethlehem to Calvary
Jesus The Christ James E Talmage
Doctrinal New Testament Commentary Bruce R McConkie
Book of Mormon
  1. Doctrine and Covenants

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