We are about to discuss one of the hardest sayings of Jesus…this was impossible for the people to understand unless the Holy Spirit revealed the understanding to their hearts….I trust the Holy Spirit will do that with each of our hearts today!

John 6:41,42

Then the people began to murmur in disagreement because he had said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” 42 They said, “Isn’t this Jesus, the son of Joseph? We know his father and mother. How can he say, ‘I came down from heaven’?”

Isaiah 9 and Micah 5:2 both talk of the Messiah coming out of Galilee and Judea (Bethlehem)

Jesus had just proclaimed that he was the bread of life, the true bread from the Father. Like the manna their ancestors ate that came from God to give them strength, hope, and meet their needs Jesus came and is doing that and more if they will allow him

John 6:43-51

But Jesus replied, “Stop complaining about what I said. 44 For no one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them to me, and at the last day I will raise them up. 45 As it is written in the Scriptures, ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me. 46 (Not that anyone has ever seen the Father; only I, who was sent from God, have seen him.)

47 “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes has eternal life. 48 Yes, I am the bread of life! 49 Your ancestors ate manna in the wilderness, but they all died. 50 Anyone who eats the bread from heaven, however, will never die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live forever; and this bread, which I will offer so the world may live, is my flesh.”

Let’s keep in context who he is talking to, the Jews all honored that God supplied manna from heaven so they could survive in the wilderness but that manna was only to keep people alive here on earth….Just like the miracle he just performed of feeding the 15 or 20K people with the loaves and the fish was only to fill their bellies for a little while….Jesus is about eternity. His mission on earth is to draw a family to the Father people that would truly connect with him, become part of him, live on his daily bread for them….they began to question and get grossed out and who wouldn’t but Jesus was using hyperbole to get their attention in the extreme. He pushes it even further

John 6: 52-59

52 Then the people began arguing with each other about what he meant. “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” they asked.

53 So Jesus said again, “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you cannot have eternal life within you. 54 But anyone who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise that person at the last day. 55 For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. 56 Anyone who eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. 57 I live because of the living Father who sent me; in the same way, anyone who feeds on me will live because of me. 58 I am the true bread that came down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will not die as your ancestors did (even though they ate the manna) but will live forever.”

59 He said these things while he was teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.

This all sounds very gross if you don’t understand this is extreme hyperbole, Jesus exaggerating to make a point about connection and intimacy with God on a daily basis because the word to eat means continually to devour…..how do we know Jesus is not promoting cannibalism?

Leviticus 26; Deuteronomy 28: 53-57; Jeremiah 19:9; Lamentations 2:20, 4:10; and Ezekiel 5:10 in all these places cannibalism is the result of sin and forgetting God, God’s abandonment of his people to their own sinful nature. Jesus would never ever encourage something God’s law forbade, man’s law yes, but God’s law no…

Let me show you another example

Matthew 19:23-25

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “I tell you the truth, it is very hard for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. 24 I’ll say it again—it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!”

25 The disciples were astounded. “Then who in the world can be saved?” they asked.

The Jews taught if you are wealthy, you are truly blessed of heaven and assured a place in heaven. So thus, a legitimate question “who can be saved?”

I know many have tried to explain this as a gate in Jerusalem called the eye of a needle but that is false teaching there is no such place. Jesus was stating in man’s own strength no one can make it into heaven, rich/poor, well -educated/no education, nothing of man’s strength is a sign of your making it to heaven. We are saved by grace alone through faith alone, it is a gift of God that no one can earn, prohibiting anyone from boasting about working to save themselves Ephesians 2:8-10 (Tim Burgan paraphrase)

That is why he wraps up the rich person talk by saying…Matthew 19:26

But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Once again, being extreme but making it clear that salvation is not of our goodness or works but of God

Jesus is being extreme in both cases because many wanted only the miracles they didn’t want the deep connection and relationship that ensures eternal life and a successful life in the Kingdom here on earth as well….you can not be light, life, salt if you are not completely connected and in intimate relationship with the one who is all of these things himself….the belief is a daily communion with him, daily living a life that is Jesus pouring through us…we are light, life, salt, hope, joy, love and all of these things because that is how he is and we are daily becoming one with Him.

I know this is hard to grasp. It was for the thousands following Jesus as well but Jesus isn’t looking for people to join a club but instead for family, people that want real relationship with him.

John 6:60-62

Many of his disciples said, “This is very hard to understand. How can anyone accept it?”

61 Jesus was aware that his disciples were complaining, so he said to them, “Does this offend you? 62 Then what will you think if you see the Son of Man ascend to heaven again?

Some believe that Jesus would not offend anyone but he is always willing to offend wrong thinking. People will always be offended by Jesus is they are thinking or doing wrong and correction is spoken. When it is spoken you always have the choice to accept it or to be offended by it and reject it….Jesus knew his words were words of life, joy, peace, love, and hope if people would accept the intimacy and relationship he was calling for…here is where Jesus explains the meaning

John 6: 63-65

The Spirit alone gives eternal life. Human effort accomplishes nothing. And the very words I have spoken to you are spirit and life. 64 But some of you do not believe me.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning which ones didn’t believe, and he knew who would betray him.) 65 Then he said, “That is why I said that people can’t come to me unless the Father gives them to me.”

Understanding the eating of his flesh and drinking his blood required Holy Spirit revelation and just as he said to the Samaritan woman worshipping the Father must be done only by spirit and in truth so is the grasp of the eternal relationship Jesus wants to begin with all who are ready to receive some were not ready but he was building a team here on earth who would be and will be shaken but will stand to remain in him until the outpouring of the Holy Spirit which will launch the church….he knew this was such a hard thing to grasp He asked the 12 he chose if they will turn away

John 6: 66-69

At this point many of his disciples turned away and deserted him. 67 Then Jesus turned to the Twelve and asked, “Are you also going to leave?”

68 Simon Peter replied, “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words that give eternal life. 69 We believe, and we know you are the Holy One of God.”

Jesus asked this question for their sake not for his, challenging them to choose what they would believe….Peter makes the stand for the group proclaiming their relationship with him and this was a deepening moment for them

Jesus does choose everyone but we have a choice as to whether we will truly choose to follow him or not.

John 6:70,71

Then Jesus said, “I chose the twelve of you, but one is a devil.” 71 He was speaking of Judas, son of Simon Iscariot, one of the Twelve, who would later betray him.

Jesus knew who Judas was but he still chose him but then Judas ultimately rejected Jesus!

This passage is about communion about choosing to believe with him to join with him to connect with him. Later Jesus will state that to the disciples when he serves them at the last supper. But Jesus is still asking us today to join with him to make the deep connection with him to live like we believe and to believe like we will live. 

He is calling us for that deep on-going level of intimacy that says I will always join with you Jesus to come closer with you. To choose to die to myself and my desires and to live for you know deeper relationship with you brings me into a greater realization of actually who I am.

In celebrating communion we are saying we are daily becoming one with Him in a common union and as I already said that brings us into a place of becoming more like him more of who we have been created to be….let’s celebrate that together as we share communion today!