Monday, August 24, 2015

EAT HIS FLESH, DRINK HIS BLOOD (PART 3)

(This is the conclusion of the two posts previous to this one. To read those first, please scroll down or click on the titles on the right side of your screen)
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The Woman Understood What the Disciples Did Not

The conversation that Jesus had with this woman was so similar to the one that he was now having with the people looking for bread, that I think that as he was talking to these people, the situation must have brought to his mind his recent talk with the Samaritan woman at the well.

However, in the case of the people looking for bread, the outcome was not to be quite so positive. These people instead began to grumble about the fact that Jesus had referred to himself as “The bread that came out of heaven.”

As Jesus did with the woman, he tried to explain to the people what he meant. Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate bread in the wilderness, and they died. I am the bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he shall live forever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh” (John 6:48-49, 51 NAS).

Unlike the woman at the well, the people looking for bread did not understand the depths of what Jesus was saying. They thought that he meant that they should literally eat his flesh! If they had been willing to hear Jesus out, they would have known that he was not saying that.

Interestingly, this was not the case with the woman at the well of Samaria. Even though this woman had not seen previous miraculous signs by Jesus, and even though she was known as living a life that was shameful, she was patient and listened intently to what Jesus was telling her. Gradually, she came to understand what Jesus meant by his words. Once the woman began to understand that Jesus was not talking about the water in the well but about spiritual water, Jesus told her, “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:24).

Here also, with the people next to the Sea of Galilee, after Jesus said to the people that to have true life, they must eat his flesh and drink his blood, he explained to them that he was speaking in a spiritual sense. He said to them, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life” (John 6:63 NAS).

However, unlike the woman at the well, they had not been willing to hear Jesus to the end of his explanation. These people were not interested in spiritual bread. It was their stomachs that were hungry, not their inner hearts – not their spirits. They just wanted something to eat now!

Those Who Believe and Those Who Withdraw

When Jesus spoke to the woman at the well of Samaria, the result of their conversation was that she came to believe that he was the Savior who had come to them. She ran back into the city and told others whom she had met. Based on the words of the woman, many from that city also came to believe in Jesus.

Then, when they convinced Jesus to stay in the city for a few days, they told the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this One indeed is the Savior of the world” (John 4:42 NAS).

The results with the crowd on the shores of the Sea of Galilee were much different. Because the people were not willing to learn what they needed to hear from Jesus, many of them who formerly considered themselves disciples of Jesus now withdrew from him and no longer walked with him.

Perhaps it is possible to see why they did this. After all, Jesus had said some very difficult things. It seems like his words were almost designed to separate those who truly were willing to put their trust in him from those who merely were looking for something to eat, and from those who followed him only to see the sideshow.

True Disciples

However, despite the difficult words, not everyone left. Jesus next turned to speak to his twelve closest disciples. They had witnessed all that had gone on. They had also heard these words. I don’t think that they quite understood all that Jesus was saying. These words were also difficult for them.

Jesus asked them, “You do not want to go away also, do you?”

If it is possible to feel sorry for Jesus, I almost do here. Jesus did not assume that even the twelve would stay with him. He asked them a question. It was even a poignant question. He had come to the world to redeem the people and it is heartbreaking when they turn away from him, rejecting his offer. It is like offering someone you love deeply a great gift that has cost you dearly, and they throw it in your face.

“You do not want to go away also, do you?” he asked the twelve.

I am so glad Peter answered. These words of Jesus had also been difficult for them to hear, yet Peter said, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. And we have come to know that You are the Holy One of God” (John 6:68-69 NAS).

That was Peter’s confession. What is yours? What is mine? Many of the teachings of Jesus have lately come under attack, and because some of the teachings of the Bible do not square with what we are seeing in society, many today have withdrawn from Jesus, and no longer walk with him.

My own confession is that there are many things contained in the Scripture that I do not yet understand, but like Peter, I have come to know that Jesus Christ is the Holy One of God. He alone provides the words of eternal life.

There is no one else who speaks these eternal words. Where else would I go?

I have given him everything.

1 comment:

  1. Jesus Christ gave Himself, and God is glorified through it all.

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