“Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live forever.” He said these things while he was teaching in the synagogue at Capernaum.” (John 6:56-59)
If this passage is familiar, beloved reader, it is because we looked at it last week. I seem to be falling into the pattern of looking and and commenting on the Gospel Passages during the first part of the week. I do not know why the RCL repeats some of the verses from the previous week during the current week. But it sort of provides an anchoring, a reminding of where the reading stop the previous week. And that is not such a bad thing. The passage continues saying . . .
“When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This teaching is difficult; who can accept it?” But Jesus, being aware that his disciples were complaining about it, said to them, “Does this offend you? Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before?” (Verses 60-62)
I want to make a quick explanation here. The reference to what Jesus said being “hard” meant it was hard to understand, or more specifically, not an easy fact to accept. They did not like the sounds of it and did not want to hear it. Jesus was saying things that made the uncomfortable and confused.
“It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But among you there are some who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the first who were the ones that did not believe, and who was the one that would betray him. And he said, “For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted by the Father.” (Verses 63-65)
Being able to understand what Jesus said, what was meant and the inner meaning was an ability and blessing given by God – in those times, and according to what verse 65 tells us. But we who study the bible in modern day understand these things – most probably because someone explained them to us; someone to whom understanding was given most likely. But even having this understanding of what Jesus meant, as opposed to the confusing and unpleasant way the writer of the gospel of John tells us, some do not and will not follow Jesus and God.
“Because of this many of his disciples turned back and no longer went about with him. So Jesus asked the twelve, “Do you also wish to go away?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.” (Verses 66-69)
Who are you, beloved reader? Are you one of the ones who “turned away” because it is too hard to know, understand and follow God and the Christ God sent? Or are you like Simon Peter and the other disciples (excepting of course and eventually Judas) who believe that the Divine is the One and Only One who has the “words of eternal life.” May you ponder your decision carefully beloved reader. Selah!