Sustained by God’s Word of Love
John 6:41-71: Today’s reading concludes the discourse that began with verse 25 (see yesterday’s reading). Jesus is aware that there are those in the crowd who will choose to turn away. Jesus says that the words he speaks bring God’s life-giving Spirit, and Simon Peter affirms that Jesus is the Holy One who has come from God.
Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words that give eternal life.”
41The people started grumbling about him, because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.”42So they said, “This man is Jesus son of Joseph, isn't he? We know his father and mother. How, then, does he now say he came down from heaven?”
43Jesus answered, “Stop grumbling among yourselves.44People cannot come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them to me; and I will raise them to life on the last day.45 The prophets wrote, ‘Everyone will be taught by God.’ Anyone who hears the Father and learns from him comes to me.46This does not mean that anyone has seen the Father; he who is from God is the only one who has seen the Father.47I am telling you the truth: he who believes has eternal life.48I am the bread of life.49Your ancestors ate manna in the desert, but they died.50But the bread that comes down from heaven is of such a kind that whoever eats it will not die.51I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If you eat this bread, you will live forever. The bread that I will give you is my flesh, which I give so that the world may live.”
52This started an angry argument among them. “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” they asked.
53Jesus said to them, “I am telling you the truth: if you do not eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you will not have life in yourselves.54Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them to life on the last day.55For my flesh is the real food; my blood is the real drink.56Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood live in me, and I live in them.57The living Father sent me, and because of him I live also. In the same way whoever eats me will live because of me.58This, then, is the bread that came down from heaven; it is not like the bread that your ancestors ate, but then later died. Those who eat this bread will live forever.”
59Jesus said this as he taught in the synagogue in Capernaum.
60Many of his followers heard this and said, “This teaching is too hard. Who can listen to it?”
61Without being told, Jesus knew that they were grumbling about this, so he said to them, “Does this make you want to give up?62Suppose, then, that you should see the Son of Man go back up to the place where he was before?63 What gives life is God's Spirit; human power is of no use at all. The words I have spoken to you bring God's life-giving Spirit.64Yet some of you do not believe.” (Jesus knew from the very beginning who were the ones that would not believe and which one would betray him.)65And he added, “This is the very reason I told you that no people can come to me unless the Father makes it possible for them to do so.”
66Because of this, many of Jesus' followers turned back and would not go with him any more.67So he asked the twelve disciples, “And you—would you also like to leave?”
68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words that give eternal life.69And now we believe and know that you are the Holy One who has come from God.”
70Jesus replied, “I chose the twelve of you, didn't I? Yet one of you is a devil!”71He was talking about Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. For Judas, even though he was one of the twelve disciples, was going to betray him.
Reread verses 48-58. As in yesterday’s reading, Jesus once again says that he is “the bread of life” (verse 48) and that “those who eat this bread will live forever” (verses 58). How do you interpret what Jesus says in these verses? Why did some of Jesus’s followers turn away (verse 60)? What did Simon Peter say (verse 68)? What is your understanding of “the words that give eternal life”?
Lord Jesus, I believe and know that you are the Holy One who has come from God. I trust in you, knowing that you have the words that give eternal life. Amen.
Those who find Jesus’s teaching too hard and turn away
John 7:1-24: Jesus returns to Galilee and meets with his brothers.