Each day, I am compelled to say, wow the Scriptures are so rich! Increasingly, I come to realize how important it is for me to come to God’s Word and read it slowly, placing myself into each scene, trying to be one of the participants. I think it is so important to empty myself of any preconceived notions and come to the Word of God as if experiencing it for the first time. There is so much that I have missed in the past because I was tempted to go for quantity reading rather than quality studying.
The best descriptive I could come up with for chapter 6 is: Jesus is disturbing.
I tried to envision this chapter as a movie and I thought that I would probably rate it as thriller or even horror. My reasoning:
- Jesus walks on water in the dark, in a storm and is thought to be a ghost.
- He somehow teleports himself and the disciples.:-) or he moved land. v. ( I looked at a map in the back of my Bible and measured the distance across the water from Tiberius to Capernum, the route that they took. The distance looked to be about 8 miles give or take a little. We know from vs.19 that the disciples had rowed only three or four miles of that distance when Jesus appeared to them on the water. Then v 21 says “immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going.
- He talks about cannabalism over and over:
- v. 51 the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”
- v. 53“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of he Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.
- v. 54 whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.
- v. 55 For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.
- v. 56 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.
If I put myself in the place of the people hearing and seeing this, what would I think? I think I often skim over the Scriptures and fail to understand just how horrific these words sound without the knowledge of the full gospel message. Today, as the girls and I studied this passage, we tried to envision what it would be like if one of the neighbors that we knew, began saying that in order for us to have eternal life, we would have to eat his flesh and drink his blood. Aren’t those incredibly disturbing words? Granted, the Jews had a whole history filled with animal sacrifices that I cannot identify with, but still, Jesus is intensely graphic and seemingly not concerned that He might be scaring people away with His disgusting and graphic imagery.
Jesus didn’t explain away what He was saying. He didn’t try to make His Words palatable or acceptable to the crowds. V. 66 says many of the disciples turned back and walked away from Him. I have to ask myself, is it so hard to believe that people would walk away from Him? Is it so hard to believe people wouldn’t get it? If these were the words we heard without knowing the rest of the story, would we have walked away from Him, even having seen some “miracles?” I have seen some “magic shows,” especially in my younger years since my parents were fans of David Copperfield. I even saw one of his shows live. It was amazing. He did things that are humanly impossible. It was breathtaking to see his illusions. But what would I have felt or thought of him if after doing those things, he said to me, “now hear this, you have to eat my flesh and drink my blood.” Umm, “I’m heading home now, thanks for a great show.”
And Jesus didn’t run after them. He didn’t say, “aw, come on back guys, what I really mean is this. Let me explain it to you. in a different way.” Instead He asks the twelve if they want to leave too? Not only does He give them the opportunity to leave, but He calls one of them a devil. If I were the one being spoken to, I think I would be very offended. “What do you mean calling one of us a devil? We’re here by your side, aren’t we?”
Yet Jesus persists in speaking of spiritual realities while everyone around Him is lost in the temporal.
Who would I have been in this account? Who am I today? Am I consumed with things spiritual or things temporal? Will I recognize Jesus when He returns? Will I know Him well enough?