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First Reading: Isaiah Chapter 63 and 64

Isaiah 63

Who is this coming from Edom,from Bozrah, with his garments stained crimson?Who is this, robed in splendor,striding forward in the greatness of his strength?
"It is I, speaking in righteousness,mighty to save."
2 Why are your garments red,like those of one treading the winepress?
3 "I have trodden the winepress alone;from the nations no one was with me.I trampled them in my anger and trod them down in my wrath;their blood spattered my garments,and I stained all my clothing. 4 For the day of vengeance was in my heart,and the year of my redemption has come. 5 I looked, but there was no one to help,I was appalled that no one gave support;so my own arm worked salvation for me,and my own wrath sustained me. 6 I trampled the nations in my anger;in my wrath I made them drunk and poured their blood on the ground."
7 I will tell of the kindnesses of the LORD,the deeds for which he is to be praised,according to all the LORD has done for us — yes, the many good things he has done for the house of Israel,according to his compassion and many kindnesses. 8 He said, "Surely they are my people,sons who will not be false to me";and so he became their Savior. 9 In all their distress he too was distressed,and the angel of his presence saved them.In his love and mercy he redeemed them;he lifted them up and carried them all the days of old. 10 Yet they rebelled and grieved his Holy Spirit.So he turned and became their enemy and he himself fought against them.
11 Then his people recalled the days of old,the days of Moses and his people — where is he who brought them through the sea,with the shepherd of his flock?Where is he who set his Holy Spirit among them, 12 who sent his glorious arm of power to be at Moses' right hand,who divided the waters before them,to gain for himself everlasting renown, 13 who led them through the depths?Like a horse in open country,they did not stumble; 14 like cattle that go down to the plain,they were given rest by the Spirit of the LORD.This is how you guided your people to make for yourself a glorious name.
15 Look down from heaven and see from your lofty throne, holy and glorious.Where are your zeal and your might?Your tenderness and compassion are withheld from us. 16 But you are our Father,though Abraham does not know us or Israel acknowledge us;you, O LORD, are our Father,our Redeemer from of old is your name. 17 Why, O LORD, do you make us wander from your ways and harden our hearts so we do not revere you?Return for the sake of your servants,the tribes that are your inheritance. 18 For a little while your people possessed your holy place,but now our enemies have trampled down your sanctuary. 19 We are yours from of old;but you have not ruled over them,they have not been called by your name.

Isaiah 64

Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down,that the mountains would tremble before you! 2 As when fire sets twigs ablaze and causes water to boil,come down to make your name known to your enemies and cause the nations to quake before you! 3 For when you did awesome things that we did not expect,you came down, and the mountains trembled before you. 4 Since ancient times no one has heard,no ear has perceived,no eye has seen any God besides you,who acts on behalf of those who wait for him. 5 You come to the help of those who gladly do right,who remember your ways.But when we continued to sin against them,you were angry.How then can we be saved? 6 All of us have become like one who is unclean,and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;we all shrivel up like a leaf,and like the wind our sins sweep us away. 7 No one calls on your name or strives to lay hold of you;for you have hidden your face from us and made us waste away because of our sins.
8 Yet, O LORD, you are our Father.We are the clay, you are the potter;we are all the work of your hand. 9 Do not be angry beyond measure, O LORD;do not remember our sins forever.Oh, look upon us, we pray,for we are all your people. 10 Your sacred cities have become a desert;even Zion is a desert, Jerusalem a desolation. 11 Our holy and glorious temple, where our fathers praised you,has been burned with fire,and all that we treasured lies in ruins. 12 After all this, O LORD, will you hold yourself back?Will you keep silent and punish us beyond measure?

Second Reading: John Chapter 6

John 6

6:1 Some time after this, Jesus crossed to the far shore of the Sea of Galilee (that is, the Sea of Tiberias), 2 and a great crowd of people followed him because they saw the miraculous signs he had performed on the sick. 3 Then Jesus went up on a mountainside and sat down with his disciples. 4 The Jewish Passover Feast was near.
5 When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, "Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?" 6 He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.
7 Philip answered him, "Eight months' wages would not buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!"
8 Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, spoke up, 9 "Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?"
10 Jesus said, "Have the people sit down." There was plenty of grass in that place, and the men sat down, about five thousand of them. 11 Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.
12 When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, "Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted." 13 So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.
14 After the people saw the miraculous sign that Jesus did, they began to say, "Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world." 15 Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself.
16 When evening came, his disciples went down to the lake, 17 where they got into a boat and set off across the lake for Capernaum. By now it was dark, and Jesus had not yet joined them. 18 A strong wind was blowing and the waters grew rough. 19 When they had rowed three or three and a half miles, they saw Jesus approaching the boat, walking on the water; and they were terrified. 20 But he said to them, "It is I; don't be afraid." 21 Then they were willing to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the shore where they were heading.
22 The next day the crowd that had stayed on the opposite shore of the lake realized that only one boat had been there, and that Jesus had not entered it with his disciples, but that they had gone away alone. 23 Then some boats from Tiberias landed near the place where the people had eaten the bread after the Lord had given thanks. 24 Once the crowd realized that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they got into the boats and went to Capernaum in search of Jesus.
25 When they found him on the other side of the lake, they asked him, "Rabbi, when did you get here?"
26 Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, you are looking for me, not because you saw miraculous signs but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. 27 Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On him God the Father has placed his seal of approval."
28 Then they asked him, "What must we do to do the works God requires?"
29 Jesus answered, "The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent."
30 So they asked him, "What miraculous sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? 31 Our forefathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written: 'He gave them bread from heaven to eat.'"
32 Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world."
34 "Sir," they said, "from now on give us this bread."
35 Then Jesus declared, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. 36 But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. 37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. 38 For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. 40 For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day."
41 At this the Jews began to grumble about him because he said, "I am the bread that came down from heaven." 42 They said, "Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, 'I came down from heaven'?"
43 "Stop grumbling among yourselves," Jesus answered. 44 "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day. 45 It is written in the Prophets: 'They will all be taught by God.' Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me. 46 No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father. 47 I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your forefathers ate the manna in the desert, yet they died. 50 But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world."
52 Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?"
53 Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. 56 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. 57 Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this bread will live forever." 59 He said this while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.
60 On hearing it, many of his disciples said, "This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?"
61 Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, "Does this offend you? 62 What if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! 63 The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life. 64 Yet there are some of you who do not believe." For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. 65 He went on to say, "This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him."
66 From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.
67 "You do not want to leave too, do you?" Jesus asked the Twelve.
68 Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God."
70 Then Jesus replied, "Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!" 71(He meant Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, who, though one of the Twelve, was later to betray him.)

Bible Background



Part 1 of 3

The name Jesus means savior. Jesus is a form of the Hebrew word "Joshua." Christ means anointed and is a title rather than a name. The Hebrew equivalent is "messiah." So the meaning of His name is "The Anointed Savior."

Jesus is called son of man and son of God. The record of his conception and birth in Matthew and Luke identify his father as God and his mother Mary:

Matthew 2:18-20 (NIV) This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.

Luke 1:32,34-35 (NIV) He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end." 34 "How will this be," Mary asked the angel, "since I am a virgin?" The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God."

Jesus was not just a man. He was literally the son of God. However, his lineage through David was important in the purpose of God and in the fulfillment of prophecy. We are told in Hebrews 1 that Jesus "reflects the glory of God and bears the very stamp of his nature..." Yet we are also told that Jesus was tempted in every way that we are tempted, yet without sin (Hebrews 4). God, however, cannot be tempted with evil nor does he tempt anyone according to James 1. So we must understand that although he is the Son of God, he is also the son of Mary. Jesus, himself said: "I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself..." and "By myself I can do nothing..." (John 5).


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