John 6:51, 59-61, 65, 67-68
Our Bible reading for today is taken from John chapter 6 verse 60. I‘m going to also read a few versus around that and Jesus has spoken to a crowd here and said “I am the Bread of Life that came down from heaven.” (John 6:51) And then we read
He said this while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum. On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?” Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you? He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them.” From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. (John 6:59-61, 65)
There’s an American gymnast by the name of Simone Biles. She’s very short, but tremendous gymnast. She’s even won a gold medal and she dropped out of school and decided to be home schooled and be separated away from her friends in order to focus on her gymnastic abilities. She really shut down, if you will, her social life. She missed prom and she intensively worked out for five to six hours each day. Now there are a lot of other athletes who may have had similar talent to her, but they didn’t have the dedication and the determination.
Some people have what we call a “walk away line.” A walk away line where something is going to demand too much of them or be too much expected of them. Maybe it’s a certain price that people aren’t willing to pay financially. Maybe it’s a time commitment issue or maybe some kind of emotional engagement that is just not worthy of being invested. And sometimes it’s even people at their jobs that they feel that there’s too much being demanded of them. So sometimes we hit that point of walking away.
The context of these verses is that Jesus has been preaching and teaching about the fact that he is the Son of God who’s come into this world to pay for the sins of people so that only by faith in him people could have life in heaven. He said “I am the bread that came down from heaven” and the people that knew him and were listening to him some of them, who had been following him, finally said “This is a hard teaching who can accept it?” And they began to walk away.
If you’ve been blessed to know about Jesus Christ as your savior and about his wonderful grace that forgives us all our sins, you know that it doesn’t demand anything of us. It’s a free gift from God. Going to heaven, just think of that, is a free present from God because of what Christ has done.
But having that faith in this world there will be a tremendous cost to that. It may require more on the part of some people than others, but there will be a price that we pay in this life for having faith in Jesus as our Savior. It’s not just a possibility it’s a reality.
And some people might be tempted to say “well, this is too hard to be a Christian.” “This is too hard to follow the things of Christ. Maybe I should walk away now.” Sad to say many young people have done that in our day and age because of a lot of moral issues that are out there in the world.
So what is it today that challenges you to stay with Christ? What teachings of Jesus are just seemingly too hard for us to bear. When it comes to the teachings of Christianity we’re not supposed to view it like a child in a candy counter that gets to pick the things that he or she likes. Jesus says that we are to obey everything that he has commanded us. Christianity fits together in one neat package. And Jesus calls on us his followers to be, if you will, all in, not just partially committed.
At the end of this section Peter said to Jesus, because Jesus asked him “Are you going to go away too?” He said “Lord to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” (John 6:67-68) Just think what that means. The Word you’re giving us is the very thing that will take us out of our grave someday so that we can live forever in the mansions above in heaven. Anything that we have to put up with, any cost that we have to kind of pay in this life for believing in Christ, is certainly going to be worth it and we’ll realize that someday when we’re in heaven. Let’s have a prayer as we close.
Lord God our Heavenly Father, we thank you for calling us into your kingdom of grace through faith in Christ. Help us to stay firm in this faith and not to walk away from our Savior. Bless us with a firm confidence in your word. We pray this all in the name of our Lord Jesus. Amen.