“I Am the Bread of Life”

The Life and Teachings of Jesus and his Apostles, Instructor’s Guide (Rel 211–12), (2000), 31–32


Theme

Jesus is the bread of life to all who will accept him as their personal Savior.

Theme Analysis

  • A.

    Jesus proclaimed his messiahship in the Bread of life sermon.

    1. 1.

      Jesus has the power to bless and sustain each of us according to individual needs.

    2. 2.

      Like those who heard the Bread of life sermon, we must choose whether or not we will come to Christ.

  • B.

    To partake of the “Bread of Life,” we must recognize our complete dependence upon the Lord for all that we have and are.

    1. 1.

      God’s prophet-leaders, through the ages, have had success as they acknowledged their complete dependence on the Lord.

    2. 2.

      As we come unto Christ for strength, he will nourish and bless us temporally and spiritually.

Study Sources

New Testament Reading Assignment

Matthew 14:14-33; Mark 6:33-52; Luke 9:11-17; John 6:1-71

Course Manual

Chapter 12, “I Am the Bread of Life”

Standard Works

John 15:1-8. How dependent are the servants of the Lord upon Jesus Christ for their strength and their success?

Moses 1:8-10. How did Moses recognize his complete dependence on the Lord?

Alma 26:11, 12. What did Ammon indicate was the source of his strength?

Philippians 4:13. What did Paul say he could do with the help of Christ?

2 Nephi 4:17-34. To whom did Nephi turn in this moment of sorrow and discouragement?

Mosiah 2:21-23; D&C 88:3-13. How dependent on Jesus Christ is each of us?

Ether 12:27. If we recognize our complete dependence on the Lord, what blessing can be ours?

Basic Library

Jesus the Christ, pp. 340-48. How can we eat and drink the body and blood of Jesus Christ?

Teachings, p. 179. What promise is given to those who will “live unto God”?

Gos. Doc, p. 62. For what are we indebted to the Lord?

DS, 1:131-32. How indebted are we to Christ?

Harold B. Lee in CR, Apr. 1970. p. 125. The realization of his personal dependence on the Lord.

Additional Sources

John Taylor in Journal of Discourses, 6:110. A comparison of the vine and branches.

George F. Richards in CR, Apr. 1943, p. 67. Without Christ we can do nothing.

Neal A. Maxwell in CR, Apr. 1976, p. 39. A witness to the power and divinity of Jesus Christ.

Some Suggestions for Presentation

(Ideas Other Teachers Have Used)

Jesus Proclaims His Messiahship (A Discussion)

The events of this reading block bear witness to the divine mission of Jesus.

The feeding of the five thousand, his preventing them from forcibly making him their king, and his walking on the sea were all preludes to one of the most important sermons ever given: the Bread of life sermon. The teacher might wish to discuss each of these events, explaining how each one bore witness of Jesus’ divine messiahship.

Our Dependence upon Christ

The teacher might wish to share the following two poems and discuss their impact with the students:

Invictus

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate
I am the captain of my soul.

(Bruce B. Clark and Robert K. Thomas, Out of the Best Books, 4:92-93.)

Note: Students should be helped to see that Brother Whitney is answering an erroneous concept, not criticizing the poet William Henley. Had Henley known the gospel principles, almost certainly he would have expressed himself differently.

The Soul’s Captain

Art thou in truth? Then what of him
Who bought thee with his blood?
Who plunged into devouring seas
And snatched thee from the flood?
Who bore for all our fallen race
What none but him could bear—
The God who dies that man might live,
And endless glory share?
Of what avail thy vaunted strength,
Apart from his vast might?
Pray that his Light may pierce the gloom,
That thou mayest see aright.
Men are as bubbles on the wave,
As leaves upon the tree.
Thou, captain of thy soul, forsooth!
Who gave that place to thee?
Free will is thine—free agency,
To wield for right or wrong;
But thou must answer unto him
To whom all souls belong.
Bend to the dust that head “unbowed,”
Small part of life’s great whole!
And see in him, and him alone,
The Captain of thy soul.

(Improvement Era, May 1926, frontispiece.)

Church Leaders Express Their Dependence on the Lord

The teacher might refer to the addresses of Church leaders who were just sustained to new callings. The following is an example:

“Throughout these weeks, I have recognized my limitations and have realized more than ever before my utter dependence upon Almighty God, our Heavenly Father, for strength beyond my natural strength and wisdom beyond man’s wisdom and spiritual insight into problems that might be my responsibilities now. Only with God’s help can I begin to fill the position to which I have been chosen by the President of the Church and the Quorum of the Twelve, and now sustained by the vast body of the priesthood of the Church and by the membership of the Church. …” (Harold B. Lee in CR, Apr. 1970, p. 125. Italics added.)

What other examples can we find in the scriptures and modern prophets?

Chalkboard Illustration

The teacher might use an illustration like the following to show how we come unto Christ to receive strength from him:

for the teacher

As the diagram is completed, use the scriptures found in Matthew 5:48; 3 Nephi 12:48; Ether 12:27; and D&C 93:19, 20.