The Teaching is difficult; who can accept it?
Updated: Sep 4, 2021
This is an exciting week as we reflect on some spiritual disciplines in the Spiritual Formation course. Discipline is part of our daily lives, but one of the aspects we tend to give little attention too.
In John chapter six, we find that Jesus is among his disciples. He is teaching them in the synagogue in Capernaum. What better place do you want to be taught than the place that is dedicated to the things of God. It should be the place where you can let your guard down and just absorb the Word of God.
As Jesus was teaching them, He spoke about bread as a Metaphor. He states “I am the bread of life. Your ancestors at the manna in the wilderness and died. This is the bread that comes from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for life of the world is my flesh.” (John 6:48-51, NRSV) Jesus uses a metaphor about bread. Bread is a substance that is daily used by the majority of people. So bread is not foreign to them. A person will know if you have eaten bread today, it will only last for the day. You will need to eat more bread the next day for sufficient energy. Secondly, he uses the history of the people of God and refers to the manna that God gave them in the desert. It states the same truth, they ate the manna in the wilderness, and they still died. So even the manna that they knew was given by God from heaven daily was only sufficient for a single day.
Jesus talks from a background that is very familiar to all the people listening to him. He is not introducing new terminologies or new concepts. He is merely talking from their historical and even present experience. He then builds on that and states how he fulfils that. He is the bread of life. He is the bread that will be sufficient for more that one day, it is eternal. Everything that the daily bread comes short of, Jesus will fulfil.
He then adds how he will give them bread by giving his body. Jesus is very clear and speaks to them in a very simple language. As he said this, his own disciples said: “This teaching is difficult; who can accept it?” (John 6:60, NRSV) His own disciples, the ones that are walking with him daily, states that it is hard to listen to Jesus.
This raises some questions? When I read John in this specific passage, it is not unclear or hard for me to understand. I am not sure if the reason is that I am post the Crucifixion of Christ? What I see the jews get hung up on is that they tend to try and understand the words of Jesus in a human perspective. They argue about eating flesh and not what Jesus is saying that he is sent from heaven as eternal sustenance for all people.
I want to conclude this by asking how do we read Scripture? Do we tend to flow over a lot of truth and pass over the aspects that we need to stop and ask where do I stand in this? The disciples had an opinion. They stated the words are hard, and they are struggling to accept it. Where do we stand with the word of God? Is the Gospel hard for us, and we continue to absorb it and let the Spirit transforms us? Or are we of the opinion that the Gospel is soft and pleasant to listen to? How then does this relate to this passage?
I want to leave you with these questions as you continue to seek the guidance of the Spirit and find yourself next to Christ.
Till next time.