Series – 6 Decisions That Will Change Your Life
Sermon – The Decision to Respond
Scripture Readings: James 1:22-25, John 6:1-14
“There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish. But what are they among so many people?” Jesus said, “Make the people sit down.” Now there was a great deal of grass in the place; so they sat down, about five thousand in all. Then Jesus took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated; so also the fish, as much as they wanted. (John 6:9-11)
Monday April 1 — John 6:1-15
An account of Jesus feeding a large crowd of people is found in each of the four New Testament Gospels. But only John’s Gospel tells us about the little boy who has five loaves and two fish. Jesus takes what the little boy has to offer and uses it to perform a miracle. The Good News is that Jesus can also perform a miracle with what we have to offer. But, like the little boy, we must be willing to let Jesus use what we have. What is preventing you from allowing Jesus to take everything you have and use it to perform a miracle? What are you holding back?
• Prayer: God of Miracles, I give you everything I have today. Use it to share the Good News and accomplish your mission on earth. Amen.
Tuesday April 2 — John 6:15-21
When the people saw that Jesus had performed another miraculous sign (feeding the large crowd), they wanted to make him their king. But he refused and retreated to the mountain alone. Later, John tells us, Jesus walked on the water to meet the disciples on the sea, demonstrating his glory as one who shares God’s mastery over the entire creation. If Jesus is Lord over creation, have you let him be Lord over your life? What part(s) of your life have you not surrendered to Jesus’ Lordship?
• Prayer: Lord of Creation, today I surrender my entire life to you. I am willing for you to be Lord over every part of my life. Amen.
Wednesday April 3 — John 6:22-59
After Jesus fed the large crowd and walked on the water, he interpreted those events in a long discourse that also included dialogue with both his disciples and the crowds. Since John’s Gospel does not focus on the bread and wine at the Last Supper (instead it focuses on the foot-washing, see John 13), the sixth chapter helps us understand that in the Sacrament of Holy Communion, Jesus himself is the Bread of Life that sustains us and provides strength for our Christian journey. Where do you turn to find strength for your journey? In what ways do you rely on God to strengthen and sustain you as you follow Jesus? Is the Sacrament of Holy Communion one of your spiritual disciplines? How is Jesus the Bread of Life for you?
• Prayer: Sustaining God, I am aware that I need your love and grace to sustain me in life. I am thankful for Jesus, the Bread of Life. Amen.
Thursday April 4 — John 6:60-71
Jesus’ words always call for a response. Some people respond in faith and trust. Some people question what they hear. Some people wonder if it is possible to do what Jesus asks. Some people respond with disbelief and reject Jesus and his teaching altogether. John’s Gospel tells us that many of Jesus’ disciples stopped following him. But Simon Peter speaks for all who keep following Jesus when he asks, “to whom can we go?” (John 6:67). In other words, who else offers eternal life? Do any of Jesus’ teachings trouble you and cause you to question what you hear? What helps you to trust and follow Jesus when you have questions and doubts? Do you ever pray about your questions?
• Prayer: Eternal God, I know that your grace is sufficient for my questions, my fears and my doubts. Today I choose to follow Jesus! Amen.
Friday April 5 — John 7:1-24
John’s Gospel tells us that Jesus’ brothers did not believe in him and challenged him to go to Jerusalem and perform his acts in public. Jesus refused to let them set his agenda, but he went to the festival in Jerusalem anyway and taught in the temple. Like before, his words created conflict as he challenged people to see that God was present in his words and his life. What helps you to pay attention to the presence of God in your life? Are you willing to consider that God works in unexpected ways?
• Prayer: Merciful God, forgive me when I fail to be aware of your presence in my life. Open my eyes and help me see more clearly. Amen.
Saturday April 6 — John 7:25-36
One of the themes of John’s Gospel is that God is firmly in control of all of the events surrounding Jesus’ life. (See John 19:11 for an explicit statement of this truth.) Despite the fact that the people are divided and the authorities want to arrest and kill him, Jesus remains in control of the situation. In John 7, we are reminded that even Jesus’ arrest, trial, and death are within God’s control. God ensures that Jesus’ mission is fulfilled. What prevents you from trusting that God is firmly in control of your life? This does not mean that you will not make mistakes and suffer during your life, but that God will strengthen and sustain you—always.
• Prayer: Loving God, I know that you are with me always. Help me grow in confidence and faith that you are Lord of my life. Amen.