The day after Jesus miraculously fed a multitude of more than 5,000 people, He taught that He is the Bread of Life.
Display a loaf of bread. Invite a student to summarize the account of the Savior feeding more than 5,000 people with five loaves of bread and two small fish.
What might you have thought if you had been present for this miracle and learned that Jesus had the ability to miraculously provide food?
Explain that John 6:22–25 records that many of the people whom Jesus had miraculously fed traveled to Capernaum seeking Him.
Invite a student to read John 6:26–27 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Jesus said to the people.
Explain that the Joseph Smith Translation of John 6:26 clarifies, “Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye desire to keep my sayings, neither because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled” (Joseph Smith Translation, John 6:26 [in John 6:26, footnote a]). Also explain that the word meat in John 6:27 and throughout the Bible refers to food. The word flesh is used to refer to what we call meat.
According to the Savior, why did these people seek Him? (The Savior’s words suggest they had followed Him to obtain more food from Him.)
What did the Savior tell them they should be seeking?
Explain that the “meat [or food] which endureth unto everlasting life” (John 6:27) can refer to the eternal truths of the Savior’s gospel.
Invite a student to read John 6:28–31 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the people desired of Jesus to further prove to them that He was the Messiah.
What did the people want Jesus to do for them? (Explain that manna was “bread from heaven” [John 6:31] that God provided for the children of Israel as they wandered in the wilderness; see Exodus 16:14–15, 35.)
Invite a few students to take turns reading aloud from John 6:32–35. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the Savior taught the people in response to their request for a sign.
What did the Savior teach about Himself when He referred to manna, or bread from heaven?
You may want to suggest that students mark the phrase “I am the bread of life” in John 6:35.
In what ways can we liken the Savior and His teachings to bread?
What do you think it means that those who come to Jesus Christ “shall never hunger”? (John 6:35). (One possible answer is that He will nourish them spiritually.)
What truth can we learn from the Savior’s teachings in verse 35? (Although students may use different words, they should identify a principle similar to the following: If we come to Jesus Christ, He will nourish us spiritually. Write this principle on the board.)
Write the following incomplete statements on the board:
We come to Jesus Christ by …
He will nourish us by …
Divide students into pairs. Ask them to work together to make a list in their class notebooks or scripture study journals of some things we can do to come to Jesus Christ and ways He will nourish us spiritually. Invite a few students to report their responses to the class.
Consider inviting a few students to share how they have received spiritual nourishment as they have come unto the Savior.
To prepare students to identify an additional principle the Savior taught, invite a few students to come to the front of the class and give them each a piece of bread. Invite them to smell the bread and imagine what it would taste like.
How well would this bread nourish you if you only smelled it, imagined how it tasted, and carried it with you all day?
What must you do to benefit from what the bread has to offer?
Invite a few students to take turns reading aloud from John 6:49–54. Ask the class to follow along, looking for how their classmates’ experience with the bread can relate to what the Savior taught in these verses.
How is the Bread of Life different from regular bread? (Unlike the bread that can satisfy us only for a short time, Jesus Christ offers us blessings that will last forever.)
According to verses 53–54, what did the Savior teach the people to do?
Explain that the Savior used the words eating and drinking symbolically. To help the class understand the Savior’s teachings, invite the student volunteers to eat the bread. Then invite them to return to their seats.
What happens to the bread and its nutrients when it is eaten? (The vitamins and nutrients become part of the body, giving it strength and good health.)
What do you think it means to eat the flesh and drink the blood of Jesus Christ? (It can mean to internalize His teachings and Atonement. It can also represent partaking of the sacrament, which the Savior would institute later.)
According to John 6:54, what blessing can we receive if we internalize, or apply, the teachings and Atonement of Jesus Christ? (After students respond, write the following principle on the board: If we internalize, or apply, the teachings and Atonement of Jesus Christ, we can receive eternal life.)
Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by Elder Bruce R. McConkie of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Ask the class to listen for ways he said we can internalize the teachings and Atonement of Jesus Christ.
“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” (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 vols. [1965–73], 1:358).
How did Elder McConkie suggest we internalize the teachings and Atonement of Jesus Christ?
Explain that eternal life is to live forever with and become like our Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ. Invite a student to read John 6:56–57 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for how we can become like Them as we internalize the teachings and Atonement of Jesus Christ. Ask students to report what they find.
Explain that the Savior will not physically dwell in us, but rather His divine influence will remain with us to help us become more like Him and Heavenly Father.
Summarize John 6:59–66 by explaining that some of Jesus’s disciples rejected His teachings and turned away from following Him.
Share your testimony of the truths students have identified. Invite students to write in their class notebooks or scripture study journals a goal for how they will better internalize the Savior’s Atonement or one of His teachings.
Tell students that in the next unit they will learn how Jesus Christ treated a woman who was caught committing adultery and what He said to disperse the crowd who wanted to kill her. You could have students close their eyes and imagine what it might be like to be blind. Then ask what it might have felt like to be healed of blindness and then to see for the first time. Students will read about a blind man who not only received physical sight but also received spiritual sight and gained a witness that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God. They will also learn why the Savior calls Himself the Good Shepherd and what power He said He received from the Father.