Jesus Christ’s teachings contained in the Gospel of John chapter 6 are known as the “Bread of Life Discourses.” These teachings are the basis of much of the theology behind the Catholic Church’s celebration of the Eucharist at Mass.
The teachings in John 6:22–59 help us understand that Christ is the “bread of life.” This was not an easy message for his followers to accept. The phrase “my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink” were so shocking that the disciples complained and many of them turned away and stopped following Jesus.
Here is a lesson plan with activities, videos, crafts, and worksheets to help you teach about Jesus Christ as the Bread of Life.
Bread of Life Lesson Objectives
- Students will be able to make connections between the bread from heaven in the Old Testament and the bread from heaven in the New Testament.
- Students will be able to explain what we experience by receiving the Eucharist as the bread of life.
- Students will feel grateful for Christ’s presence in the Eucharist.
Bread of Life Lesson
Hook: What did you eat today and why?
Have students draw or list the foods they ate so far today, then have them reflect on why they ate each food.
- If they had sugary cereal, then did they eat it for the taste?
- If they ate a ham sandwich for lunch, then were they hoping for energy from the protein?
- Did they drink milk to make their bones healthy?
Presentation: Read the Bread of Life Story
Read John 6:22–68 with your students or share with them this kid-version of the story found here from Take and Eat: Bible Stories for Kids about the Eucharist.
After you finish reading the story, lead students in a reflection and discussion with these questions:
- What did Jesus say that led some of the crowd and even his disciples to turn away and leave him?
- Based on these teachings, why should you eat the bread of life and drink Jesus’s blood?
- When you are unsure of the teachings of Jesus or the Church, who do you go to for help with understanding?
Presentation: Bread from Heaven in the Old Testament and New Testament
Share this video about the manna that God gave the people of Israel in the Old Testament:
Then share this video about Jesus as the bread from heaven:
Activity: Bread of Life Venn Diagram
Have students create a Venn diagram with two intersecting circles. On the left have them write Manna and on the right have them right Jesus Christ.
Based on the videos and reading of John 6, have them list the similarities in the middle of the Venn diagram and the differences on the two sides.
Some of their responses may include:
- Gift from God (manna means “gift” in Hebrew)
- Gift from Heaven
- People complained about the bread
- Eat, but eventually die
- Eat, but hungry again
Jesus Christ Differences:
- Eat, but live forever
- Eat and drink, but never hunger and thirst
- Flesh & Blood
Activity: Manna on the Menu
Ask students to imagine they are sitting down at a restaurant and they ask the waitress about the special of the day. What would she say in response for each of the breads in today’s lesson?
- The Bread of Life
Activity: Bread from Heaven Prayers
Print copies of this handout and invite students to compose prayers before and after Mass based upon the Bread of Life Discourses:
Assessment: Bread Connections
Give students index cards and have them fold the cards in half.
Label the left side “Bread from Heaven (Old Testament)” and the right side “Bread from Heaven (New Testament).” Then have the list the connections they learned about each kind of bread.
Other Bread of Life Activities
Jesus, the Bread fo Life Lesson (Loyola Press)
Bread of Life Sunday School Lesson and Activities (Sunday School Works)
I Am the Bread of Life Lesson (Ministry-to-Children)
Jesus is the Bread of Life Lesson (Ministry-to-Children)
Jesus is the Bread of Life Craft (Ministry-to-Children)
Bread of Life Prayer Box Craft (Sunday School Network)
Jesus is the Bread of Life: Loaf of Bread Activity (Bible Crafts for Your Kiddos)