61. Face it

Short Meditations in John 6:  61. Face it

Jn 6:61   Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you? 

The good – or possibly bad – news is that God loves us so much He doesn’t leave us in a state of grumbling, He challenges us to get out of that state. Some of Jesus’ disciples have joined the general crowd in grumbling and so he faces them up with this – you too? Really? Are you actually offended by the things I’ve been saying? Are you upset at what you see is the outworking or meaning of what I have been saying, or are you upset that you don’t understand what I’ve been saying, and you want to blame me for that?

It’s that same old challenge that we’ve had before: when you don’t understand, will you grumble and blame the speaker – or maybe even the writer in the Bible who you think should have made it clearer – which is ultimately down to God, so are you grumbling against Him, are you blaming Him? Or will you go to God in humility and say, “Lord, I need more of your help. Please teach me.”

Do you see this, this repetition that occurs in this amazing chapter? One way or another Jesus does two things. First, he presents us with this incredibly challenging teaching about taking him into our lives, but he does it in a particularly graphic and memorable way (talking about eating his flesh) so that it will stay with us, this challenge to take him wholly into our lives like we take food in that we digest and becomes part of us, giving us fresh energy, fresh life. That is the first thing, the actual teaching, but then comes the almost subliminal teaching because of the way and the words he has been using; this second thing is the challenge to our hearts that we pondered on yesterday but find we have to keep on thinking about, the challenge of commitment, what it means to be a disciple. It is the challenge to believe Jesus even when we don’t understand everything about him, or everything about our lives with him, everything that is going on in our lives with him.

It’s fine when we understand everything, it’s fine when everything is going well, when the sun is shining, when I’m feeling on top of the world, and my daily readings make sense, but what about the other times? What about the grey cloudy days, the days when things are happening that I don’t understand, days when I expect God to turn up and help me and He doesn’t, days when my grace level feels low and I am struggling and wondering, days when it just seem to get worse, am I still a committed disciple of Jesus on this day as well? Can I handle this day without grumbling, can I handle this day without being offended by God, by my lack of understanding, by His apparent absence? This is equally important as the main teaching.

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