I am: The Bread of Life

John 6.22–35, 47–50, 58

After Jesus fed the 5000, large crowds came looking for him hoping that he was going to do more miracles––and hoping that they would get food again! Unfortunately they were coming to Jesus looking for food that would leave them hungry again. Jesus told them that he is “the bread of life”. Bread might help keep us alive if we were starving, but if we want life that lasts forever, we need the bread of life!

Key Verse

“I am the bread of life.”

– John 6.48a (NIV)


Series Memory Verse

“See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are!”

– 1 John 3.1a (NLT)


Lesson

Supplies: A loaf of bread in a paper bag

Object Lesson (Hungry on a desert island)

desert-islandHave the children close their eyes and imagine that they’re on an island. Say something like: “You were on a boat, but the boat hit some rocks and started sinking, so you had to float to land with a life jacket” … Describe the island to them. Describe what they’re seeing, hearing and smelling. Say something like: “You found some supplies from the boat but now you’ve run out of food to eat and you’re starting to get really hungry. You’re wondering where you’re going to get food from. You try to eat the palm tree but the leaves are too hard! You try to eat the sand, but the sand is too dry! Just then you see something falling from the sky. It gets closer … and closer … And you realize that it’s a big lunch bag and it almost lands right on top of you! [SFX: BASH! – And have the kids open up their eyes to you opening up the bag] … And when you open it up it is a big fresh loaf of bread! It’s bread from heaven! You’re saved!!!”

Explain to the kids that today’s Bible story is from the book of John and it’s about a hungry crowd!

Bible story

Tell the story from John 6:22–35. It could go something like this:

One day Jesus and his disciples were out in the countryside and they had large crowds following them. It was late and the people were getting really hungry, so Jesus took some bread and fish that a boy had brought with him, and Jesus performed a miracle and fed all 5000 people with just a handful of loaves and fish! It was an amazing miracle and everyone felt satisfied! Some of you have heard that story, but there’s a second part to the story!

Jesus and his disciples then left the crowds and crossed over the Sea of Galilee (we call it a sea but it’s actually more of a lake). The next day the crowds came back looking for Jesus. They really liked the miracle that he performed when he gave everyone free food! They looked in the countryside area where Jesus had performed the miracle but they couldn’t find Jesus there. Then somebody said, “We saw the disciples get in a boat and cross the lake. Maybe Jesus also went across the lake?”

So off the crowds went, looking for Jesus. They piled into boats and they rowed and rowed! They crossed over the Sea of Galilee to a town called Capernaum. And who do you think they found when they got to Capernaum? They found Jesus!

When they found him they said to him: “Jesus, we’ve been looking all over for you! When did you get here?” And Jesus said to them: “You’ve been looking for me very hard but not because you believe in me. It’s only because you’re hoping I’m going to give you free food again! You need to believe in me!”

Then the people said: “If you give us food again, maybe then we will believe”. Wow, is that cheeky or what? So Jesus said to them: “You need bread from heaven that will feed your souls, not bread to feed your stomachs”. And they said: “Give us this bread from heaven!” *

Then Jesus said something very important. He told them that God has given them this bread. He said to them:

“I am the bread of life!”

* For the older kids you can delve into vs. 31–33 a little more and explain that they were wanting Jesus to feed them with Manna from heaven like Moses did.

Application

Wow, what does that mean? In the same way that bread sustains us and would help keep us alive if we were stuck on a desert island, Jesus gives us life and he sustains us. If you really were on a desert island and bread fell from heaven, wouldn’t you wonder where it came from? Well, God the Father sent Jesus to us like bread from heaven. The crowds weren’t interested in knowing Jesus, or where he came from. They only wanted Jesus to give them food.

Jesus wants us to know him and that’s why he told us that he is the bread of life. No snack, or food will ever truly satisfy us, but knowing Jesus will give us life forever. We should look out for times in the Bible where Jesus says: “I am…”. Those descriptions of Jesus help us understand him and know him, so that we can put our faith in him.

When we know God, he helps us to know who we are. We’re going to be memorizing a verse together that helps us remember that we are God’s children. It’s from a letter that John wrote when he was very old, and it says:

“See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are!”

– 1 John 3.1a (NLT)

Prayer: Thank Jesus that we can trust him and put our faith in him. Pray that the children would learn to honor Jesus with everything they have and that they would put themselves in Jesus’ hands.


Review Questions:

  • Where did the food come from that Jesus used to feed the crowd?
  • Why were the crowds looking for Jesus the next day?
  • Where did they find him?
  • What important thing did Jesus tell them?
  • How can we get to know Jesus?
  • How can we be hungry for Jesus in the same way that we get hungry for snack?

Activity

Bread Shuffle
Supplies:  small bread loaves
Depending on number of children, split kids into 2 or 3 teams of 8 to 10.  Divide each team and have them line up accross from each other, about 10 feet apart.  Take a loaf of bread and demonstrate the following: Place feet closely together.  Set the loaf on top of your feet.  Carefully shuffle your feet so you move forward, keeping the loaf balanced on the tops of your feet.  If the loaf falls, stop and rebalance it before moving forward again.  Give the first person in one of the lines the bread loaf.  The idea is for this person to shuffle along to the first person on their team opposite them, pass the loaf to their feet, then have that person shuffle back to the next person on their team.  The first team to get all their players and the loaf to the opposite side where they began, wins.  Or you can time how long it takes each team to complete the shuffle and then play again to see if they can beat their time.
Adapted from Potato Promenade, Fun and Easy Games for Children’s Ministry.