Scripture: John 6:
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."
Observation: This is spiritual meat – only those whom God has matured enough to understand will be able to digest it.
Application: People had begun to follow Jesus in massive crowds, He couldn’t get away from them. They had eaten the bread that fed the five thousand, they had seen the healings, and heard His teachings and they wanted more. What Christ said next separated those who were curious from those who were called.
53 Jesus said to them, "Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. 56 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them.”
WHAT? Eat your flesh and drink your blood? This can’t be! It’s barbaric, it’s cannibalistic, it goes against everything we’ve ever believed in! Gen 9:4 But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat. It was indeed a hard teaching. It went against the Jewish traditions and blatantly disregarded established customs. Sometimes we forget how outrageous and radical Jesus’ teachings were for those who thought they knew God better than anyone else. Those who could not see beyond the physical image of cannibalism left, and then there were only twelve.
Today we see this as the institution of the sacrament of Communion, we take the bread, and the wine, (or the juice) and symbolically eat Christ’s flesh and drink of His blood. It is a means of grace, a communion with God Himself, and a way of accepting Jesus into our lives. We have in effect made this teaching more palpable for ourselves because even today the heart of what Jesus is saying, the true meaning behind His words is difficult for us to accept. This was more than Jesus’ way of culling the flock, and it was more than the institution of a ritualistic sacrament, it was a hard teaching in more than one way, and only those who God has called can really understand it.
Jesus is saying, take me into yourselves. Become me. For in eating His flesh and drinking His blood we are taking on His life. Let God inside, and BE the dwelling place of His Spirit. For the first century Hebrews this is something they could not reconcile. To them and to many of us now, God is a being of ultimate power that resides far away from humanity and only occasionally makes contact through chosen people. He is far above, and far beyond human ability to commune with.
Jesus says, 46 No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father. So – take on my life, eat of my flesh, drink of my blood, take my life into yourself and you will know God as I do. Jesus is trying to show us the Father, by offering Himself to us and making His life available to us.
The Kingdom of Heaven is AT HAND! It’s not some far off place that we will be able to reach by and by, it’s not down the road or around the corner or on the other side of the river, its AT HAND, it’s here, it’s available to us through Christ Jesus. Christ will come again is a motto that we often say during communion, but I say unto you – Christ HAS come again and is among us, and within us. Let those whom God has enabled, understand.
Prayer: Father Within,
Help me to take Your Life into my own. Enable me to understand your love and compassion and grant me the strength to endure this life as a servant to others and as an ambassador of eternity.
Yield: There is much more I could say about this, but I surrender to God and ask Him to instruct us from within.