The word “Substitute” doesn’t bring to mind excellence. If you’re offered a sugar substitute or a salt substitute, you brace yourself for something tasteless and bland. When we had a substitute teacher in school I knew that there would be shenanigans in the classroom and we’d have less than a fully productive day. Usually when a substitute player comes on the basketball court the play gets worse, not better. But when the Bible talks about a substitute, it’s better than the original. Jesus is our Substitute. He takes over for what we couldn’t do; he pays a debt we couldn’t finance and he lives in us the life we couldn’t live on our own. Let’s hear it for substitutes but mostly for The Substitute!
Sermon Study Questions: Read John 6
- Was there an additional point (beside feeding hungry bellies) to Jesus feeding the 5000? Is there any symbolic meaning to the 12 baskets of leftovers?
- Was there an additional point (beside getting to the other side) of Jesus walking on the water? What might ‘reaching the shore where they were heading’ historically mean to Jewish listeners?
- When Jesus claims to be the ‘bread of heaven’ what does that mean and what is he hoping people will do with him?
- “Eat my flesh” and “drink my blood” are difficult commands. What does obedience to these commands look like in your life?
- Count how many times in this chapter Jesus mentions ‘eternal life’ and ‘raise them up at the last day’. What do those two phrases mean to you these days?