Summary: Physical - spiritual and symbolic truths
August 26, 2018
Jesus Looks for Commitment
After hearing or reading this message, my deepest desire is that you will take the time to go back and read John’s message to us in today’s reading. What is the deepest part of this reading? What shall we find that really impacts our faith and understanding?
I can only share with you my personal understandings and interpretations. You must dig in yourself and dig for answers. What I am understanding from this reading is:
Number 1 – Jesus is preparing the disciples who have been following Him and wanting to be in on this new ministry – so long as it doesn’t cost a whole lot and doesn’t get too uncomfortable. Wow! That sounds like a lot of church goers, going from one church to another until they find one that is comfortable and not too demanding of them.
Understand that this preliminary preparation/teaching is not being administered to the original twelve disciples. They are among the followers but not called out as the dedicated twelve just yet.
Number 2 - True to form, as Jesus again states: “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me. This is the bread which came down from heaven—not as your fathers ate the manna and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever. These things He said in the synagogue as He taught in Capernaum.” (verses 56-59)
Now that sounds great, doesn’t it? Come and eat “the bread of life” and never go hungry again. But then when Jesus begins talking about eating flesh and drinking blood, there is immediate denial and misunderstanding.
Number 3 - My understanding and belief is Jesus saying that HE is flesh and blood but what He offers to sustain our faith is spiritual not physical. We absorb our Lord through his Words, and in our submission. It is symbolic not literal.
Read slowly and carefully verse 63: “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.” Jesus says here that He isn’t speaking in literal terms.
The would-be disciples that had gathered are now becoming skeptical and begin to look for excuses and a way out. The muttering and murmuring began, and many turned away and departed. Jesus then turned to the twelve and said, “Do you also want to go away?”
God NEVER forces anyone. It is the Will of God that we seek to do His will. Partaking of the flesh and blood of Christ is accepting and absorbing His indwelling Spirit to abide in us as we seek to abide in Him.
Number 4 - This indwelling – abiding and absorbing is literal and not some form of analogy.
My favorite of the twelve steps up and replies: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Also we have come to believe and know that You are the [e]Christ, the Son of the living God.” (verses 68-69)
We are human beings, flesh and blood ourselves. We have the capacity to understand beyond the physical and to accept spiritual truths. We get back to picking and choosing biblical truths; understanding symbolic ways of understanding some spiritual truths and avoiding imposing personal preferences for the express purpose of denying any spiritual truths. Following Jesus demands commitment! Are you fully committed?
Let us pray -