Summary: The words of Jesus are not always easy to understand; but, to live successfully in this world as God’s child we must listen and follow.
John 6: 60 – 69 / A Hard Teaching
Intro: A young man from the city was visiting a dude ranch and wanted to appear as if he was used to the surroundings. So he went out walking with one of the hired hands. Walking through the barnyard, the visitor tried starting a conversation: “Say, look at that big bunch of buffaloes.” The hired hand replied, “not ‘bunch’ but ‘herd.’” “Heart what?” “Herd of buffaloes.” “Sure, I’ve heard of buffaloes. There’s a big bunch of ‘em right over there.” --- Have you ever had the frustration of trying to be understood or get your point across.
I. Can you imagine how Jesus must have felt in dealing with the disciples? Vs. 60 – “On hearing it, may of his disciples said, ‘This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?”
A. The teachings of Jesus are called HARD. The Greek word is SKLEROS. It is the word from which we get the word sclerosis which is a hardening which hinders proper function.
B. The words of Jesus are not difficult to understand, they are hard to tolerate, hard to absorb, hard to hear. They may offend some people’s sensibilities.
C. Vs. 61 – “Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, ‘Does this offend you?’” Grumbling was not a new response to God and God’s ways. --- From the Israelites in the wilderness to modern humanity people complain about the difficulties of their lives and their misfortunes.
II. The people take offense. Jesus does not give offense. He gave truth; they took offense.
A. The Greek word here for taking offense is SKANDALIDZO. They are scandalized by the teachings of Jesus.
B. What the people wanted, Jesus was not willing to give; what Jesus offered, the people would not receive.
C. They wanted easy words, pandering thoughts, a message that would bolster their self-esteem. He offered a message that would bring them to the end of themselves in full dependence on God’s grace through the Holy Spirit.
III. Vs. 66 – 69 “From this time many of his (Jesus’) disciples turned back and no longer followed him. ‘You do not want to leave too, do you?’ Jesus asked the 12. Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.’”
A. The words ARE hard! The way is not easy! Nonetheless, God calls us to come and follow. To accept Christ Jesus. To “feed on Him.”
B. The teachings are not hard to understand; they are hard on us. They are hard on our pride, hard on way of life, hard on our ego
C. People QUIT Jesus for all sorts of reasons: they don’t get what they want when they want it. They have difficulties and blame God instead of their own foolishness. They have difficulties because it requires time, effort or commitment. They fail! --- They quit because it is too hard. They want it all sugar-coated, easy and entertaining. They fail because they don’t really know Christ Jesus as a constant companion and friend.
Conclusion: A four-year-old boy was at the doctor for a checkup. As the doctor looked in his ears he asked, “Do you think I’ll find Big Bird in here? The boy was silent. Next, the doctor took a tongue depressor and looked down his throat asking the little boy as he did, “Do you think I’ll find Cookie Monster down there?” Again, the boy said nothing. Then, the doctor placed a stethoscope to the boy’s chest and said, “Do you think I will hear Barney in your heart?” The boy looked up and said, “Oh, no! Jesus is in my heart. Barney is on my underwear.”
You may wear a cross on a chain or carry a Bible to church; but it means nothing unless Christ Jesus is in your heart. And that, my friends is a hard teaching.