Short Meditations in John 6: 62. Hindrance
Jn 6:62 Then what if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before!
There is no doubt about it but that belief comes in different levels. Some people say, “Well, I can believe this but I’m not so sure about that”, whatever this or that may mean. Belief is a strange thing and yet it is at the heart of Christianity, and its close brother, faith, is equally challenging. I have watched people who are full of faith for hospitality or for giving but not for prayer, people who are full of faith in prayer and reading God’s word, but not for practical works of blessing. Perhaps we should pray for the Lord to ‘even out’ our faith to cover all areas so we are fully developed Christians.
Again and again belief came into Jesus’ ministry (see Mt 8:13, 9:28, 18:6, 21:22,25,32) There was that famous occasion when a man brought his possessed son to Jesus and Jesus challenged his faith and he replied, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mk 9:24) That seems to epitomise what so many of us struggle with. We have basic belief in Jesus, but it seems so often to be limited and unbelief hangs over us like a dark cloud and helps our belief being total. We can go so far but ask us to step out and do the works of Jesus (Jn 14:12) and we flounder. I have seen it happen.
So here we are in the midst of this section where Jesus is presenting the crowd – including his disciples, some of whom are also now struggling – with this graphic teaching about taking him into your life, and although they had coped with him thus far, this graphic teaching, taken literally comes as a road block to their ongoing faith, a hindrance that stops them going on with them.
So, says Jesus, if you find this difficult, this basic picture language teaching, how will you cope if you see me ascend back to heaven? (which of course was exactly what did happen later – Acts 1) If you struggle over teaching ideas, how will you cope with the living reality taking place in front of you, of seeing me disappear in the clouds? Even more as you realise I am ascending back to my Father in heaven, where will that leave you? You will have even more questions.
And that takes us to the heart of the problem that we have been touching on when we spoke about grumbling. Did Jesus say, “When you understand everything about me, then you can follow me.” No, he didn’t. He just said to his disciples, “Follow me,” and that was it, with no further explanations beyond, “and I will make you fishers of men,” (Mt 4:19) but that said little about him. The challenge is to trust Jesus with limited knowledge and when we trust and walk with him with open hearts, then we will indeed see greater things.