When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?
Jesus’ Hard Sayings
Jesus had some very hard sayings during His earthly ministry, and He offended a lot of people, even some of His own disciples (John6:52). Jesus had just told those who were following Him that unless they eat His flesh and drink His blood, they could not have eternal life (John 6:55-56). The Jews couldn’t accept this, and we can understand why. It was seen as sin to drink blood or eat flesh with blood still in it (Gen 9:2-4; Lev 17:14), so it is no wonder that they were offended by this (John 6:60). By saying this, Jesus seems to be giving us a glimpse into the coming establishment of the Passover Meal or, as it is sometimes called, Communion or the Lord’s Supper.
Many Left Him
After hearing these hard sayings by Jesus, many of His disciples stopped following Him (John 6:66). When Jesus looked at the twelve whom He had chosen, He asked them if they were also going to leave (John 6:67), but they couldn’t, and, as usual, Peter is the first one to speak, basically saying who else has the words of eternal life (Joh 6:68). Jesus reminds them that He chose them and not the other way around (John 6:69). Earlier Jesus had told them that no one can come to Christ unless it is given by the Father (John 6:44).
Many Are Offended Today
Jesus’ words are still offending people today. Like the young rich ruler, they don’t want to give up their love for the things of the world (Matt 19). To turn to God means to forsake sins, and that is not a popular message today. To tell people that they have the wrath of God on them (John 3:18; 36b) unless they repent and believe (Mark 1:15) is not going to win you a lot of friends. It’s going to offend a lot of people, but that’s no reason to not tell others about Christ. When someone shared the gospel with you, were you not offended at first? What if it does offend others? Isn’t it worth the risk of telling others so that they might be saved and telling them that it is through Jesus that is the only name we are given whereby we can be saved (Acts 4:12)?
A Closing Prayer
Father God, Creator of heaven and earth, I know that the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ offends people, but I know I must be faithful in telling others. Help me to have a godly fear over a fear of mankind because the Word of God cuts, but it cuts in order to heal, so let me remember that. I pray in Jesus’ name.
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