“This statement is very unpleasant; who can listen to it?”
John 6:43-71 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
Jesus answered and said to them, “Stop complaining among yourselves. 44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day. 45 It is written in the Prophets: ‘And they shall all be taught of God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to Me. 46 Not that anyone has seen the Father, except the One who is from God; He has seen the Father. 47 Truly, truly, I say to you, the one who believes has eternal life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50 This is the bread that comes down out of heaven, so that anyone may eat from it and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats from this bread, he will live forever; and the bread which I will give for the life of the world also is My flesh.”
52 Then the Jews began to argue with one another, saying, “How can this man give us His flesh to eat?” 53 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves. 54 The one who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. 55 For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink. 56 The one who eats My flesh and drinks My blood remains in Me, and I in him. 57 Just as the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, the one who eats Me, he also will live because of Me. 58 This is the bread that came down out of heaven, not as the fathers ate and died; the one who eats this bread will live forever.”
59 These things He said in the synagogue as He taught in Capernaum.
60 So then many of His disciples, when they heard this, said, “This statement is very unpleasant; who can listen to it?” 61 But Jesus, aware that His disciples were complaining about this, said to them, “Is this offensive to you? 62 What then if you see the Son of Man ascending to where He was before? 63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh provides no benefit; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit, and are life. 64 But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray Him. 65 And He was saying, “For this reason I have told you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father.”
66 As a result of this many of His disciples left, and would no longer walk with Him. 67 So Jesus said to the twelve, “You do not want to leave also, do you?” 68 Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life. 69 And we have already believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God.” 70 Jesus answered them, “Did I Myself not choose you, the twelve? And yet one of you is a devil.” 71 Now He meant Judas the son of Simon Iscariot; for he, one of the twelve, was going to betray Him.
In today’s text it says: Many of His disciples, when they heard this, said, “This statement is very unpleasant; who can listen to it?” … “For this reason I have told you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father.” As a result of this many of His disciples left, and would no longer walk with Him. Many of Jesus teachings are considered unpleasant by our society and culture. As a result, many people will not walk with Him. That in John 14:6, Jesus says: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father except through Me,” is considered non-inclusive by our culture and society. That in Matthew 5:17-19 Jesus says: “Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfil them. For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven,” does not agree with the culture that teaches that the commandments are out dated and that if Jesus were here, He would change. In Luke 13:28 Jesus says: In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but yourselves being thrown out. Matthew 13:42: and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Matthew 8:12: but the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Matthew 25:30: Throw out the worthless slave into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. These are hard and unpleasant words, but they are Jesus words. Withholding truth is akin to telling a lie.
Many churches today, fearing that like many of the disciples, many people will leave if the hard and unpleasant truth is preached, preach a softer, more culturally friendly gospel. Romans 2:4 says: Do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and restraint and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance? The message of love and grace is essential to the gospel message. Love was the motivation behind Christ’s suffering and sacrifice. John 3:16 says: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” What could be more inclusive than to provide a way for whoever believes? Yet we should not forget what follows this verse of love and inclusion. John 17-21 says: “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.” The hard and unpleasant truth is that there is a judgment for those who do not believe. There is a judgment for those who prefer evil over good and darkness over light.
In Matthew 7:13-14 Jesus says: “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” The narrow way is neither the way of grace without repentance nor of judgment without grace. The narrow way, is the way of Christ, the whole truth. In today’s text it says: Jesus said to the twelve, “You do not want to leave also, do you?” Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life. And we have already believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God.” The truth is God’s choice for us is always, love, mercy and grace. Those who choose not to believe and receive His love, choose judgment for themselves.
Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ; precious Holy Spirit, thank You for Your word, for the whole truth, that there is a heaven and a Hell, that there is grace and also judgment. Thank You that You have words of eternal life. I believe. Amen.