Body and Blood of Christ

Many of his Disciples no longer

walked with him.

John 6:59- 71

                

H

e said these things while he was teaching in the synagogue at Capernaum. When many of his disciples heard it, they said, "This teaching is difficult; who can accept it?" But Jesus, being aware that his disciples were complaining about it, said to them, "Does this offend you? Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless.  The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But among you there are some who do not believe." For Jesus knew from the first who were the ones that did not believe, and who was the one that would betray him. And he said, "For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted by the Father." Because of this many of his disciples turned back and no longer went about with him. So Jesus asked the twelve, "Do you also wish to go away?" Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God." Jesus answered them, "Did I not choose you, the twelve?  Yet one of you is a devil." He was speaking of Judas son of Simon Iscariot, for he, though one of the twelve, was going to betray him.


Passover Bread Image

Will you also go away?

T

he teaching on the Bread of Life churns-up a variety of emotions. Anger, among those who take umbrage at Jesus claim to be the bread of life come down from heaven, and the implicit claim that he has come from God. At the same time, they are delighted at the confusion his teaching causes among his disciples. As one claim follows another that confusion grows as they try to cope with the startling disclosure that: “the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh." 

This is followed by the revelation: “Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day; for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink.” Jesus is not only talking about his greatest gift to us, he reveals who he is by saying: “I will raise them up on the last day”. If, indeed, they accept that he is the bread of life come down from heaven they are now being asked to feed on his flesh and blood. There is shock, disillusionment, an inability to understand. Many are scandalized. It is crunch-time for his closest disciples. They understand what he says, but many are unable to cope with it.

An angry murmuring begins. Shocked by his words, Jesus says  nothing to make what he has said more palatable. The more the murmuring, the more insistently he repeats: “My flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.”  No compromise.

If his enemies rejoice at the confusion, there is sadness in the hearts of many who have been loyal disciples. There is hesitation in the minds of many. His words are offensive. Eat his flesh, drink his blood! He enters their confusion and asks them to trust him. “The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.” Trust is a gift from the Father. “I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted by the Father."

The result of Jesus teaching is: “many of his disciples turned back and no longer went about with him.” They cannot stomach his teaching, a moment of sorrow for him and for many of them. He has failed to carry them with him.

He turns to the twelve and asks: "Do you also wish to go away?" No sentimentality. Stay or go. The choice is yours. You are free. Peter answers, for them all; “Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God." Peter’s act of faith, he speaks for all but one does not believe.

Oisín Feuer

The picture of Passover bread is from BiblePlaces.com


 

 

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This is the Story of Jesus drawn from the four Evangelists

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Unfolding the Story of jesus

Gospel passages accompanied by a number of brief commentaries

Unfolding the story of jesus