60 On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?”
61 Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you? 62 Then what if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! 63 The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life. 64 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. 65 He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them.”
66 From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.
67 “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve.
68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.”
Today’s passage comes on the heels of one of the famous “I Am” statements of Jesus that we find in John’s Gospel. In John 6:35, Jesus declares, “I am the bread of life,” which eventually leads into a section of teaching where Jesus tells the gathered crowd in verses 55 and 56,
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 them.
Now, for those who know the rest of the story and have participated in the sacrament of Holy Communion, you know the deeper meaning of what Jesus shares here. Consider for a moment the more literal interpretation of these two verses and suddenly what we read in verse 66 makes more sense.
We can appreciate why “many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.”
But on behalf of the twelve, Simon Peter shares a different response. “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”
Yesterday, I asked you to consider how your life has changed because of Christ. Within that same theme, I want you to reflect today on what you have done or now do differently because of your commitment to Jesus. While so many others were turning away, the disciples remained because of who they believed Jesus to be. We can imagine that some of them were surprised to discover that they possessed the courage to make that decision. It’s a common occurrence. Jesus loves surprising us in this way.
How have you experienced that in your life? Has it been your capacity to forgive? Are you living a level of generosity today that you never thought possible? Do you serve Christ in ways that would have previously been unthinkable? How has Jesus surprised you?
Lord, we know that your ways are higher than our ways and that your thoughts are higher than our thoughts. There is much in our own lives and in our world that we do not understand. Remind me today that this is not something to be feared, but rather a reality that, by faith, I can embrace. In the midst of my lack of understanding, remind me of what I do know and I do believe. You have the words of life and you are the Holy One of God. AMEN.
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version ® NIV ®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2014 by Biblica, Inc.®. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.