The Sermon Notes of Harold Buls

The Sermon Notes of Harold Buls

On the Gospel Lessons of the Ingrian Lutheran Church of Russia

Text from John 6:48-57

Lent IV

1. The feeding of the 5000 is found in all four Gospels (Mt. 14:13-21; Mk. 6:32-44; Lk. 9:10-17; Jn. 6:1-13). But the bread of life discourse (Jn. 6:26-58) is found only in Jn.'s Gospel.

2. This large group of people did not believe in Jesus. See vs. 36. They wanted only physical bread, not the Bread of Life. Vss. 26-27. At the end of the discourse they left Jesus, still in unbelief. Vss. 60 and 66. They grumbled. Vs. 41. They fought with each other. Vs. 52. They remained spiritually dead. Jesus did not satisfy them.

3. Natural man cannot become a Christian by his own powers. Only God can do such a miracle. See vss. 44, 29, 37, 39. Faith and conversion is a work of God, not of natural man. These people were still unconverted.

4. Moses gave Israel manna which can only sustain life. But the Father gave Jesus, the Bread of Life. This Bread gives life. Four times Jesus says: "I will raise him up on the last day." Vss. 39, 40, 44, 54. Who is "him"? The one whom the Father gives to Jesus, the one who believes in Jesus, the one whom the Father has drawn to Jesus, the one who eats Jesus' flesh and drinks His blood. In this chapter Jesus is earnestly inviting these unbelievers to believe in Him. He is not celebrating the Lord's Supper.

5. Vss. 29, 35, 40 and 64 show clearly that this discourse is only about believing, not eating and drinking the Lord's Supper.

6. Jesus says "I am the bread of life." He does not say: "I am the bread and wine of life." He is not talking about the Lord's Supper. That was instituted one year later.

7. In vs. 54 Jesus says: "The one who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life." He is talking about how a person becomes a Christian, not the eating and drinking in the Lord's Supper. St. Augustine rightly said: "Here eating and drinking simply means to believe."

8. In vs. 53 Jesus says: "Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood you do not have life in yourselves." This cannot be speaking of the Lord's Supper. If Jesus were speaking of the Lord's Supper it would mean: "Unless you go to the Lord's Supper you don't have God's life in you." That would automatically eliminate all the O.T. saints.

9. Jesus speaks here about "flesh and blood" not "body and blood" as He does when speaking about the Lord's Supper.

10. In vs. 51 Jesus says: "The bread which I give is my flesh (given) in behalf of the life of the world." He is talking about what He has done for the whole world, not the Lord's Supper which is only for Christians.

11. In vs. 51 Jesus says: "If anyone eats of this bread he will live forever." That is not what He said about the Lord's Supper. Read I Cor. 11:27-32. If anyone eats and drinks the Lord's Supper unworthily, that is, in unbelief, he eats and drinks condemnation to himself. The bread of life is for all. The Lord's Supper is only for those who repent of their sins and believe Jesus' Words.

12. At. Mt. 4:4 Jesus quoted Deut. 8:3: "Man will not live on bread alone but on every Word which comes out of the mouth of God". The 5000 wanted bread alone, not the Word of God. At the end of this chapter (Jn. 6:67) when Jesus asked the disciples: "You don't wish to go away too, do you?" Peter answered: "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the Words of eternal life. And we have believed and know that You are the Holy One of God." That's what Jn. 6 is all about. It is talking about spiritual eating. The Formula of Concord, Art. VII says: "This spiritual eating, however, is precisely faith--namely that we hear, accept with faith, and appropriate to ourselves the Word of God, in which Christ, true God and man, together with all the benefits that he has acquired for us by giving his body for us into death and by shedding his blood for us (that is to say, the grace of God, forgiveness of sins, righteousness, and everlasting life), is presented."

The Sermon Outline of Harold Buls

On the Gospel Lessons of the Ingrian Lutheran Church of Russia

Text from John 6:48-57

Lent IV

THEME: The Bread From Heaven


After Jesus fed the 5000 they came back because they wanted more bread for their stomachs. But Jesus wanted to give them not only physical bread but also the Bread from heaven, Himself. To eat Him, to believe in Him gives eternal life. The first vs. of our text guides us at all times: "I tell you the absolute truth, the one who believes in Me has life eternal."


The main passages are: Ex. 16:14-36; Num. 11:7-9; Deut. 8:3.16; Josh. 5:12; Ps. 78:24.25. It is mentioned at Heb. 9:4 and Rev. 2:17.



Most of these people left Jesus. Vss. 60 and 66. But Peter said: "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the Words which give eternal life. And we have come to believe and know that you [are] the Holy One of God." Lord, make us like the disciples!

This text was converted to ascii format for Project Wittenberg by Cindy A. Beesley and is in the public domain. You may freely distribute, copy or print this text. Please direct any comments or suggestions to: Rev. Robert E. Smith of the Walther Library at Concordia Theological Seminary.


Surface Mail: 6600 N. Clinton St., Ft. Wayne, IN 46825 USA
Phone: (260) 452-3149 . Fax: (260) 452-2126

Sermon Notes Home Page