What Can We Learn about a Character from a Scene?

The teacher of our Bible class announced the text (John 6:25-35) and told us to read it in small groups, asking, “What can we learn about the person of Jesus from this text?” My writer ears immediately ran with it: “What can we learn about a character from a scene?”

At the end of the allotted time, the teacher asked us to summarize our conclusions. While some of us wandered away from the question and cited other texts (scenes), he brought us back to the question, helping us to see Jesus the man in his words and actions and also through the reactions of the people with him as recorded in this text.

Here’s the text (John 6:25-35, Good News Translation) and our conclusions.

25 When the people found Jesus on the other side of the lake, they said to him, “Teacher, when did you get here?”
26 Jesus answered, “I am telling you the truth: you are looking for me because you ate the bread and had all you wanted, not because you understood my miracles.
Jesus goes beyond their question to the motive behind it: he’s perceptive.

27 “Do not work for food that spoils; instead, work for the food that lasts for eternal life. This is the food which the Son of Man will give you, because God, the Father, has put his mark of approval on him.”
He has the courage to talk about eternal things and to make an astonishing promise and claim that show what he believes about God and himself.

28 So they asked him, “What can we do in order to do what God wants us to do?”
29 Jesus answered, “What God wants you to do is to believe in the one he sent.”
He’s a good listener, unafraid to answer their question.

30 They replied, “What miracle will you perform so that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? 31 Our ancestors ate manna in the desert, just as the scripture says, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’”
32 “I am telling you the truth,” Jesus said. “What Moses gave you was not the bread from heaven; it is my Father who gives you the real bread from heaven. 33 For the bread that God gives is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
Jesus is attentive to their concerns, confident in the arrangement he has with his father, and generous in revealing new and significant information about himself.

34 “Sir,” they asked him, “give us this bread always.”
35 “I am the bread of life,” Jesus told them. “Those who come to me will never be hungry; those who believe in me will never be thirsty.
Confident in who he is, Jesus is committed to those who come to him and to his plan to give them purpose in life. He speaks with conviction, clarity, and authority.

From this text, we see that Jesus the man is perceptive, a good listener, courageous, astonishing, attentive, confident, generous, committed, convincing, clear, and authoritative. What’s more—the author of the text shows us these traits without ever mentioning them by name.

My heartfelt thanks goes to our Bible teacher for teaching me this invaluable question. Thank you all for reading!

6 thoughts on “What Can We Learn about a Character from a Scene?

  1. What a beautiful way to start this year, reading these versus. May I understand each miracle of Jesus as I read this year and experience them daily as the come Amen

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