August 24, 2003

John 6:56-69

[56] By eating my flesh and drinking my blood you enter into me and I into you. [57] In the same way that the fully alive Father sent me here and I live because of him, so the one who makes a meal of me lives because of me. [58] This is the Bread from heaven. Your ancestors ate bread and later died. Whoever eats this Bread will live always."

[59] He said these things while teaching in the meeting place in Capernaum.

[60] Many among his disciples heard this and said, "This is tough teaching, too tough to swallow."

[61] Jesus sensed that his disciples were having a hard time with this and said, "Does this throw you completely? [62] What would happen if you saw the Son of Man ascending to where he came from? [63] The Spirit can make life. Sheer muscle and willpower don't make anything happen. Every word I've spoken to you is a Spirit-word, and so it is life-making. [64] But some of you are resisting, refusing to have any part in this." (Jesus knew from the start that some weren't going to risk themselves with him. He knew also who would betray him.) [65] He went on to say, "This is why I told you earlier that no one is capable of coming to me on his own. You get to me only as a gift from the Father."

[66] After this a lot of his disciples left. They no longer wanted to be associated with him. [67] Then Jesus gave the Twelve their chance: "Do you also want to leave?"

[68] Peter replied, "Master, to whom would we go? You have the words of real life, eternal life. [69] We've already committed ourselves, confident that you are the Holy One of God."

[The Message]


1. A NISB excursus says, "To share in the eucharistic meal is not to remember or commemorate one particular event, but is to share in all of Jesus' life, including ultimately his death. Participation in the eucharist creates a relationship between Jesus and the believer that contains within it the promise of new life."

2. This is indeed a tough teaching. It calls for the kind of faith, hope, and love that can only be lived in fear and trembling, not statically and safely ensconced in a creedal blankie. This calls for a new way of living and living together.

3. And so a lot of disciples left. I am always amused at our attempts to make disciples without acknowledging that many will also leave their discipleship. Blessings upon them. It doesn't say that Jesus gave up on these lapsed disciples. He continues to live for them. They are welcome back anytime and even before anytime they are still being cared for. Is this what they really saw that scared them away -- They couldn't take faith as a gift?