Summary: Power of God’s Word
Dear Fellow Redeemed:
How many of you have ever been told something that you found hard to believe? Perhaps it was so difficult to believe that no matter what the proof offered to support it, or no matter how credible the person telling you the information, you simply refused to accept it. I am confident that most of us have had this type of experience. It is in our nature to question what is hard for us to understand whether it is concerning earthly matters or spiritual matters.
In our Gospel lesson for today, we see a prime example of this concerning spiritual matters. Last Sunday, we heard our Savior telling the people and his disciples that if they eat his flesh and drink his blood they will be raised on the last day and receive the gift of eternal life. The people in the synagogue had difficulty in accepting this teaching from our Savior, because the words of Jesus were hard to understand. Jesus compared himself to the Manna that their fathers had eaten for 40 years in the wilderness. He called himself the Living Bread from heaven. This was too much for the stiff-necked people of Israel to grasp, so they grumbled against Jesus.
This morning St. John records for us the reaction of the Lord’s disciples. As difficult as it was for the common Jew to accept Jesus’ teaching, so also his disciples struggled with these words of life. Recently, the disciples were witnesses to the feeding of the 5000. For the past three years, they had seen Jesus heal the sick and the raise the dead, give sight to the blind, and hearing to the deaf. These miracles showed that he had the power to do things only God could do. They listened to his teachings and they knew that his words were God’s words. However, there were some on this occasion that refused to accept his words. They failed to realize that GOD’S WORD HAS ETERNAL CONSEQUENCES. For some it brings eternal death, and for others it brings eternal life.
At this point in the ministry of our Savior, many disciples had gathered around him. We have become accustomed to thinking only of just 12 disciples, but there were many more. St. Luke records for us in his Gospel how Jesus sent out 72 disciples with instructions to proclaim that the Kingdom of God is near. Jesus told them that there would be some who would accept God’s word and its eternal consequences and there would be some who would not. For the ones who did not accept God’s word, their unbelief brings eternal death. Our Savior said, "But when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say, ‘Even the dust of your town that sticks to our feet we wipe off against you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God is near.’ I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town" (Luke 10:10-12). Jesus warned his followers that they would encounter people in towns and villages that would not listen to them. You would think as the disciples listened to Jesus’ words that he was the bread of life, they would have believed what Jesus told them. However, St. John tells us in our lesson, "On hearing it, many of his disciples said, "This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?”(John 6:60).