Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost
Done with Jesus?
John 6:56–69 is as much about what was happening in the day it was written as it is about the day it remembered. Writing 70 years or so after the Jesus Movement emerged in Galilee, John teaches a lesson on Holy Communion when Jesus says: “Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. . . . Whoever eats me will live because of me. . . . The one who eats this bread will live forever.”
The T-shirt version could read, “Eat mo’ Jesus.” Repugnant to some. Offensive to others. Appealing to a few. And all might agree with the many disciples who said, “This teaching is difficult, who can accept it?”
Many couldn’t. Sounded too cannibalistic. Disregarded the Law of Moses. Nothing about this in the Scriptures. So they turned their backs to Jesus, following no longer.
But others, such as Simon Peter, had tasted his new wine. (John 2)
Their thirst had been quenched by his living water. (John 4)
Their hunger had been satisfied by his bread of life. (John 6)
Their hearts had been stirred by his words of eternal life.
And the Divine Life they received by believing in him kept them on his course.
This passage is also as much about what is happening in our days, in our lives, as it is about what was happening in the days it was written and on the day it remembers. Jesus’ teachings on love and grace, forgiveness and nonviolence, wealth and social boundaries, are at least as difficult as the teachings on Communion we find in John. It would be easier to be “done with” Jesus than to follow. But where would we go? Where else could we go for the Life he gives and the Life he is?
John D. Rights, pastor, Konnoak Hills Moravian Church
Winston-Salem, North Carolina