BIBLE READING: John 6. 22-71
One of the saddest passages in the Bible is found in John 6.66. John writes, “After this many of His disciples turned back and no longer walked with Him. “ Why? What would cause a group of believers to turn away from Jesus, never to return again? The reason for their exit was based on a statement from Jesus that was difficult for them to understand or accept. During His ministry, Jesus made several statements that were difficult to follow: “Sell all your possessions and give it to the poor,” “Deny yourself”, and “Love your enemies” are just a few that come to mind. But what makes this statement so much more difficult for them to follow? I think what caused their exit was when Jesus said, “Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life..”(6.54). Surely Jesus is not expecting them (as well as us today) to become some type of cannibalistic vampires, eating His flesh and drinking His blood. Of course not! Jesus seems to be using symbolism as He compares the bread that came down from heaven to the Israelites in the wilderness (manna) and Himself as the Bread of Life. They consumed the manna, but they still died; if they consume Jesus, they will live forever. But what is meant by “eat?” The word really means “to gnaw or to chew.” Maybe Jesus wants us to take His message, His example and gnaw on them as a dog does a bone, making sure we get every bit, leaving nothing. Is that difficult? It isn’t easy, because His message and example require us to make difficult choices. But Jesus had to make a difficult choice on His way to the cross. Maybe “difficult” is the least we can do!