This is a Hard Saying

It never seemed to bother Jesus that so many people misunderstood what He said. He didn’t go out of His way to explain things to His hearers. And He never chased after anyone when they didn’t like what He said.

In fact, He did the opposite. He spoke in parables for the express purpose of hiding the true meaning from those listening in. “To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables, so that they may indeed see but not perceive, and may indeed hear but not understand, lest they should turn and be forgiven” [Mark 4:11-12].

Seems so strange to us that He would do that. We try to ‘defend God’s honour’ by making excuses for difficult things, or trying to explain them away. God forbid that we should let God’s words stand as they are!

Not Jesus though. He seemed content to let God deal with the fall-out of His words. Which, I presume, is why He let everyone walk away when they couldn’t accept His words in John 6:53-66. “This is a hard saying; who can accept it?” [v 60].

Most of Jesus so-called disciples couldn’t. Jesus is making claims too fantastic – or too blasphemous – for them to believe and accept.

He is claiming to be the True Bread sent directly from heaven by the Father Himself. The bread that the manna in the wilderness only pointed to. But He is the fulfilment of that picture.

He is claiming to be the only source of nourishment and eternal life for them. All who would ‘feed on Him’ would live forever.

He is claiming to be the only true connection to the Father, the only access to Him.

And He is claiming to be God. This is all too much for the Jews. They abandon Him in droves. They plot to kill Him. In only a year’s time, they’ll succeed. They’ll have Him nailed to a cross in full public view, so that everyone understands that this Man is cursed by God.

But what if His claims are true? What if He really is the only way to God? What if He really is true food and true drink that nourishes to eternal life? What if this Man is God in the flesh?

Would you dare to reject His claims? “Do you also want to go away?” [John 6:67].

The truth is, Jesus was cursed by God. But He was cursed because He took our sin upon Himself, carrying the guilt and the shame of our sin, and suffering the punishment for it that was due to us.

And so the cross. So the torture. So the brutal execution.

And all so that we feed on Him and live! “Do you also want to go away?” [John 6:67].

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