Twelveth Sunday after Trinity 26.8.12 John 6.56-69

11 08 2012

Difficult Teaching

We come to the end of our extended meditation on John Chapter 6 and the various themes are brought together. The challenge is difficult, but ultimately the choice is between responding to Jesus with complaint and accepting the gift of Life with a capital ‘L’.

John 6.56-69

Jesus said, ‘Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. 57Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me. 58This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live for ever.’ 59He said these things while he was teaching in the synagogue at Capernaum.


(Photo credit: willismonroe)

60 When many of his disciples heard it, they said, ‘This teaching is difficult; who can accept it?’ 61But Jesus, being aware that his disciples were complaining about it, said to them, ‘Does this offend you? 62Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? 63It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. 64But among you there are some who do not believe.’ For Jesus knew from the first who were the ones that did not believe, and who was the one that would betray him. 65And he said, ‘For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted by the Father.’

66 Because of this many of his disciples turned back and no longer went about with him. 67So Jesus asked the twelve, ‘Do you also wish to go away?’ 68Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.’

Reflections and Questions

‘living’ v 57 and live v 57 & 58

The refrain we noticed last week grows in intensity. This is about LIFE! AND LIVING!’.

As part of your personal meditation ask yourself how life-giving your faith is.  How life-giving is your discipleship and spirituality? And how life-giving is your preaching?

‘this teaching is difficult’  v60

Yes, this is a complaint.  Strange how spiritual food produces complaints.

Is this your experience?

‘the words I have spoken to you are spirit and life’ v 63

How about these for words on a preacher’s tombstone!

What could be said about the words that you have spoken, both in private and from the pulpit?

‘Many of his disciples turned back…’ v 66

Clearly this is a turning point. These people engage in a kind of reverse repentance. They turn their back on ‘the words of eternal life’.

How could you rephrase Peter’s comment when asked if he wishes to go away? And how can you use those strong but understated words of faith in a sermon?

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