Sunday, October 22, 2006

The Hardest saying of Christ

This morning's sermon was from an excellent guest preacher, Terry Johnson, from Independent Presbyterian Church in Savannah, GA. His text was John 6:26-37. However, the thoughts I have tonight are from later in the chapter where Jesus elaborates on the simple "I am the bread of Life."

Verse 54 Jesus says: "Whoso eats my flesh, and drinks my blood, has eternal life; and I will lift him up on the last day."

We can surely sympathise with the disciples who said, "This is a hard saying; who can understand it?" (6:60) And Jesus' remarks to this question didn't help much, for he began:

"Does this offend you?" (6:61) ... "the words I speak unto you are spirit and they are life," He continued.

But the "damage" had been done. We read in John 6:66 that "many of his disciples went away, and walked no more with Him."

But why would Jesus have used such inflamatory language at the height of His popularity? He surely knew that this would offend the observant Jews who would not dare even drink animal blood much less human blood. They were way too literal in their mind set to accept the "spiritual" meaning conveyed by the vivid picture of consuming one's Master!

This is exactly the reason He spoke in parables to start with. This is very evident in the synoptic gospels. Matthew states in 13:34 "All these things Jesus spoke unto the multitudes in parables." This "weeded out" the glory seekers while at the same time strengthening the true believers. This is one time Peter got it right: "Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. And we believe that You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God." (vv 68-69).

And so, this is one of three "6-6-6" verses in the Bible. Can anyone out there share the others with us? This is the only one that deals with a case of apostacy.

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