Scripture: John 6:60-65
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? 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.”
Today is the first of two concluding posts to what has turned out to be a very lengthy sixth chapter of John. We turn our attention away from the crowd that has been following Jesus and onto his group of disciples. And like the crowd, the disciples find the teaching on the bread of life hard to grasp. However, we should notice that Jesus appears to take on a very different tone when questioned by his disciples than he did with the large crowd.
After hearing Jesus describe himself as the bread of life and instruct the people to feast on his flesh and drink his blood, the disciples rebuke the lesson saying, “This teaching is difficult: who can accept it?” To me, it’s almost like they’re saying Jesus expects too much – that he should tone things down a little so that more people would join this Jesus movement. We might even say that theses disciples were more concerned with growing numbers than hearing and proclaiming the authentic, profound truth of the gospel. Jesus is not happy with this idea. He shows them his sarcastic side as he asks, “Does this offend you? You haven’t heard or seen anything close to the depths of what I’ve come to show you.” I don’t believe Jesus is being playful. I think he’s extremely mad at the position his disciples take.
Jesus doesn’t like the idea of exchanging the message for the masses. Numbers can be important, but they should never be our ultimate guide for determining our success in the life of the church, especially when growth happens at the detriment of our profound message of peace and redemption. Let’s stay on the good side of Jesus as we seek to grow his kingdom. Let’s not water down the gospel, but show the world how life-giving the message of Christ can be… even when it’s difficult.
God of truth, grant me wisdom to understand your truth – even when it’s difficult – so that I can better proclaim it to others. Amen.
Thought for the Day:
Nobody ever said Christianity was easy (well maybe somebody has, but they shouldn’t have).