Summary: Jesus calls us to make a decision. Follow him, or not -- you must decide!
Time To Decide
The Rev. Dr. W. Maynard Pittendreigh
"If serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD."
Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this bread will live forever." He said this while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum. On hearing it, many of his disciples said, "This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?" Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, "Does this offend you? What if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life. Yet there are some of you who do not believe." For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. He went on to say, "This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him." From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. "You do not want to leave too, do you?" Jesus asked the Twelve. Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”
In the Old Testament book of Proverbs, in chapter 30, there is a wonderful verse.
The writer says in verse 18, "There are three things that are too amazing for me, four that I do not understand: the way of an eagle in the sky, the way of a snake on a rock, the way of a ship on the high seas, and the way of a man with a woman.”
Those are indeed amazing things.
I watch the Discovery Channel. I know all about how the snake is able to slither across a solid rock. But I’ve got to tell you. I don’t REALLY understand it.
I know something about aerodynamics, and thermals and wingspans, but when I see an eagle or hawk soaring in the sky, I’m amazed. I don’t REALLY understand it.
I don’t understand women.
Which is not a sexist statement, because I don’t understand men.
And I don’t understand children.
I don’t understand the IRS.
I don’t understand Osama bin Laden.
I don’t understand how India and Pakistan have reached the brink of nuclear war.
Our New Testament Lesson today says the people listen to Christ. They say, “this is a hard saying. Who can accept it?”
I like that phrase, “this is a hard saying.”
When I read the newspaper, I often want to say, “This is a hard saying.”
When I look at the IRS tax instruction book, I want to say, “this is a bunch of hard sayings.”
And when people listen to Jesus, sometimes he is hard to understand.
He’s on one level, but we’re down here on another level.
This is especially true of John’s Gospel.
The woman at the well encounters Jesus and the Lord says, “I come to give living water.”
The woman doesn’t understand. “Oh really, where’s your bucket? Where’s this water?”
She’s on one level, Jesus is on another. She doesn’t understand.
Or Nicodemus. Jesus tells him, “You must be born again.”
“Oh really. And just how am I going to get back into my mother’s womb and do that?”
He’s on one level, Jesus is on another. He doesn’t understand.
And now we come to this morning’s text.
Jesus says, “I am the bread of life.” He talks about the importance of the Sacrament. “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.”
Jesus talks about eternal life.
He talks about the resurrection of the dead.
He talks about how he and God the Father are one.
And the people understand!