John 6: 43-60 I haven’t copied the passage here simply because it is so long, you need to read it. But the response was this:
v43 “Stop grumbling among yourselves,” Jesus answered…
v52 Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”
v60 On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?”
Here is what Jesus was saying:
- The Father draws people to Jesus.
- Jesus raises them on the last day.
- If you have gone to the Father then you have first gone to Jesus.
- Only Jesus has seen the Father.
- Jesus is the bread of life.
- Eat Jesus and you will not die.
- Eat the flesh of Jesus and drink his blood and you will have eternal life.
- His flesh is real food.
- His blood is real drink.
- Eat his flesh and drink his blood and you remain in him and he in you.
- Feed on Jesus and live.
- Feed on this bread and live forever.
That’s simple isn’t it?
They grumble and argue and struggle, not to understand it, but to accept it.
And so do we? But the difference is we struggle to understand it also.
We squabble over its meaning. Is it speaking of the sacraments? If so is this transubstantiation (the conversion of the bread and wine into the physical body and blood of Christ) or is this symbolic and referring to having a relationship with Jesus, giving him your all?
Greater minds have understood this better than I can this morning.
Here’s my thoughts this morning as I ponder on these truly amazing but confusing verses:
- The Jewish leaders thought they were the way to God the Father. But they were wrong. Neither they nor their Jerusalem Temple was the way. Jesus is still the only way.
- The way to the Father was apparently through the sacrificial system. They would sacrifice the animals and the blood would be poured on the altar for God. In their practice, beliefs and culture, God would consume the blood and they laid the flesh of the animal and other food also out on the altar for God to eat. For generations this was completely understood and the only way to the Father.
- God has turned the tables. Man cannot get to God that way. Imagine with me this conversation from God: “You can’t come to me, I have come down to you. I am not the one who will eat and drink your animal sacrifices. I have come to be the perfect sacrifice and to lay on the altar myself. Who is doing this? It is Jesus who will do it. Instead of me drinking and eating from you, you are invited to eat and drink from me.”
- Of course this smashes the whole sacrificial system to pieces! No wonder they become offended! They totally understood what Jesus was saying.
- Today thank Jesus that He did it all and laid down His life as a sacrifice once and for all. He invites us to the altar and when we get there it’s not our work nor our sacrifice that counts. That’s not the way to eternity. He’s not going to be feasting on that. It’s His sacrifice. That’s the big deal. That’s the true feast. It is us who eat and drink.