Adult Object Lesson: John 6

Solving the Puzzle

Today’s object lesson is a puzzle. Print the empty grid in the bulletin with the following list of Words.

  • TWO
  • FIVE
  • OF
  • LIFE

Say something along these lines.

In your bulletin is a list of words. They are all part of the story we’ve been reading from Chapter 6 of the Book of John for the last few weeks. There is a crossword grid printed in the bulletin. While I talk to you this morning, I invite you to fit the words into the grid.

It’s a puzzle—a game.

And that’s what has been happening in our Gospel lesson for the last few weeks.

Jesus has been playing a sort of game with his disciples—a teaching game—trying to get his disciples and other followers thinking. He knows what he is up to. The scripture notes this from the start when Philip first posed the immediate problem facing them—feeding five thousand hungry people with five small loaves of bread and five fishes.

Oh, the people are hungry, are they? Well, where do you suggest we buy them food?

From that point on the whole chapter is a puzzle with lots of pieces to put together. Jesus knows the answers and he knows that the disciples aren’t yet on the same page with Him. He throws them clues left and right, accented with a touch of the supernatural here and there.

He performs the miraculous feeding. This becomes the metaphor for His object lesson. But that’s just the beginning. Strange happenings abound.

He tries to get away. The disciples leave Him behind. He appears on the water. The boat reaches its destination the minute He climbs on board. Crowds keep searching for Him. When they find Him, He keeps going back to the food metaphor.

I am the Bread of Life.

Then He starts talking about being the Son of Man and then about the Father who sent Him. Talk of the Bread of Life turns to talk of flesh and blood. A true puzzle.

During the long story, the action moves from the hillside to the desert to the sea and the opposite shore and ends with Jesus continuing the story from the temple in Capernaum.

Point out that we read this story today with the benefit of knowing what is about to happen—the Last Supper, the Betrayal, the Crucifixion and the Resurrection. The puzzle solvers of Galilee were truly perplexed. A good number threw up their hands and walked away.

The chapter ends with Peter’s answer to the puzzle. As some of Jesus’ followers are fleeing, he states a simple creed. We repeat this regularly in our worship services

“Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.”

That was Peter’s answer to the puzzle. You might have the congregation repeat these words.

Here is the answer to today’s puzzle.