November 23, 2021
Scripture: After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. So Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” John 6:66-69 ESV
Observation: Having fed the 5,000 and retreated from the crowd (when they sought to make him king), Jesus then rescues his disciples who were floundering in their sailing vessel amidst a storm on the Sea of Galilee. The very next day, upon arrival in Capernaum, the crowd whom Jesus had fed anxiously searched and found him. Thus, begins a discourse similar to that of the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well. Jesus, knowing that those who searched for him were seeking physical sustenance, engages them and the religious leaders in a discussion about bread. In parallel to his analogy of Living Water (those who entrust themselves to him will quench their spiritual thirst), he also declares that he is the Bread of Life for those who yearn to satiate their spiritual hunger.
Picking up on the “I AM” self-proclamation, the religious leaders grumble about Jesus’ claim to be one with Yahweh. He addresses their contempt by reasoning that the manna God showered down from heaven to sustain their forefathers’ was a passing blessing. In contrast, Jesus is the new manna which is everlasting. And those who eat of his flesh and drink his blood will live forever. Are we talking about cannibalism? That’s certainly what some thought. Others deduced that he delusionally believed he was one with God—again constituting heresy.
Takeaway: The Gospel is offensive to the self-reliant and those who have constructed a faith built on sensibilities and affinities. That is why many decided to stop following him. He had gone too far with his scandalous Gospel. But his closest disciples would continue their journey with him. Why? Because they knew that they heard the words of eternal life and that Jesus is the “Holy One of God.” Many other competing voices promised the good life, but Jesus offered himself—an enduring relationship with the one who would lay down his life for his disciples. And having spent every day of their lives with their Master these past two years, they knew there was no one else they would follow.
Prayer: Father God, thank you for the gift of your Son. There is no one else like him. Would you please continue to grow in us a love for you and your Son, that we might follow your Spirit’s guidance in obedience to your Son for all of our years? Amen.
Rev. Gordon Green, M.Div., M.A. Counseling