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Edward F. Markquart

Series B
A Hard Saying, Gospel Analysis

PENTECOST 12B    John 6:56-69

The following Bible study is from a larger course entitled, THE LIFE OF CHRIST: A Study in the Four Gospels. This 54 week course for the laity will be available for congregations in 2006.

Basic text for the course: SYNOPSIS OF THE FOUR GOSPELS, Kurt Aland, English Edition, P. 139.

Introductory Comments

Focus of the sermon for today: Hard Sayings of Jesus

In the lectionary for Series B, there are five consecutive gospel lessons from John 6. A pastor could preach five consecutive sermons based on John 6. All of these Sundays share a similar theme about Jesus, the Bread of Life, today and forever.

The sermon series from John 6 could be as follows:

Pentecost 8    Jesus, A Sign: Feeding of the Five Thousand

Pentecost 9    Jesus, Bread of Life

Pentecost 10  Jesus, Eternal Life

Pentecost 11  Jesus, Holy Communion/Eucharist

Pentecost 12  Jesus, Hard Sayings/Teachings of Jesus

Each of the above sermons has a distinct focus.

A sermon needs a distinct focus, a central theme. Even sermons from the Gospel of John need a distinct focus, even though the Gospel of John often has numerous ideas in one text.

Helmut Thielicke, in his book, The Trouble With The Church, talked about the “textual-thematic” sermon. Thielicke said that a sermon needs to be rooted in the text, but yet a preacher also needs to find a central theme that will carry the sermon. That central theme will often be a primary idea that people carry home with them. In other words, the central theme is like a handle on a piece of luggage that helps people carry the sermon.

Other scholars have said that a sermon needs to have “the restraint of a single idea,” “the central kernel that saves the preacher and listener from getting lost in its details,” and “a primary thrust that can be expressed in one clear sentence.”

#157. Many Disciples Take Offense At Him

John 6:56-66

John 6:56-59 was examined and studied for last week’s sermon (Pentecost 11B) about Holy Communion.

The following Bible verses are immediately prior to the gospel text for Pentecost 12B. These verses inform the gospel text for today:

John 6:51:

-and the bread that i will give for the life of the world is my flesh.

In this statement, we clearly hear that theme repeated in the Gospel of John that Jesus gave his life FOR THE WORLD, not simply for The Church or Christians or Christianity. We recall John 3:16, “For God so loved THE WORLD.”

We recall John 1:14, a key verse in the John’s prologue, which said, “The Word/Mind of God became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth.”

Circle the words, “my flesh.” It will be repeated four times within four verses.

We hear John’s words from his later Epistle, I John 4:2, “By this you know the Spirit of God: everyone who confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God.”

The word, “incarnation,” is a combination of two words, “in” and “flesh” or carnes” from which we get the word, “carnivorous.”

At the core of John’s thought is that Jesus Christ was the flesh of God here on this earth in human form.

Flesh refers to Jesus’ complete humanity. Jesus is bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh.  I John 4:2-3, “Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not of God.”

Drinking the blood of Christ would be offensive to the Jews. To eat flesh and drink blood reeks of cannibalism. Genesis 9:4, “You shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood.” Deuteronomy 15:23 “You shall not eat its blood.”

Similarly, in Holy Communion, Jesus Christ is the flesh of God here on this earth. Jesus Christ is the blood of God here on this earth.

We recall that the Gospel of John was written in the era of an intellectual battle with the heresy of Gnosticism which de-emphasized that God came to earth as a real human being in the flesh. Rather, within Gnosticism, Jesus was the idea of love or philosophy of love rather than love in the actual flesh of a human being.

In history, there are always groups that want to retain the idea of Jesus, the idea of love, the idea of eternal life, whereas the Gospel of John and the New Testament emphasize that God became a real, live human being in the flesh of Jesus of Nazareth.

The word, “flesh,” underscores Jesus’ humanity and authentic earthiness.

52 The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?" Circle the word, “flesh,” a second time.

As we have stated repeatedly in this course, it is “the Jews” who are the enemy of Jesus in the Gospel of John, much more so than the Pharisees of the first three gospels. There are 59 references to “the Jews” in the Gospel of John and only 15 references to “the Jews” in all of the first three gospels combined. In this gospel by the Apostle John, “the Jews” are the persistent antagonists.

This time “the Jews” are perplexed by what Jesus meant that he was giving his flesh to eat. They are more than perplexed but they began having disputes and conflicts among themselves as to what Jesus meant by “eating his flesh.”

At the end of John 6, we are going to find certain disciples having conflicts within themselves and among themselves about this “offensive” and “scandalous” teaching.

For centuries, within Christianity, groups and denominations have argued among themselves what it means to “eat his flesh” and “drink his blood.” 

53 So Jesus said to them, "Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. The phrase, “very truly,” is used in John’s gospel as a point of emphasis. The words that follow this phrase are intended to be very important.

This is the third reference to the word, “flesh,” within three Bible verses.

This is clearly a reference to the Eucharist, to the body and blood of Jesus in and through Holy Communion.

Normally in Holy Communion, we think of the word, “body,” rather than the word, “flesh.” When we hear the words of institution in the first three gospels, we hear Jesus saying, “This is my body given for you.” (Matthew 26:26; Mark 14:22; Luke 22:19; 1Corinthians 10:16-17; 11:24). But in John’s gospel, it is the “flesh” of Christ which is given to us.

As a pastoral Biblical scholar, I personally believe that by the end of the first century, the Apostle John was combating the heresy of Gnosticism. Paul and the authors of the synoptic gospels were not combating the spiritualism of Docetism and Gnosticism. Knowing the Apostle John’s intellectual and spiritual battles, it seems appropriate that the he used the term “flesh” rather than “body.” The Apostle John was making a point against the heresies and tendencies of Gnosticism: Jesus was God in the flesh, in actuality, within a real live human being. Jesus was not merely an idea of love, not an ideal of love, not merely the spirit of love, as the Gnostics then (and now) would have him be. 

The language of eating flesh and drinking blood was enormously offensive to the Jews of Jesus’ time. Jewish law forbade anyone to drink blood. Drinking blood was a heinous offense against Jewish laws in the Old Testament.

Underscore the words, “my blood.” Those words will be repeated four times in this short text.

A primary benefit of eating and drinking Jesus’ body and blood is to have life within one’s self.

“Son of Man” is a reference to Jesus himself. In the synoptic gospels, the “Son of Man” was Jesus’ repeated, self designation. In the first three gospels, Jesus was the Son of Man who was to come at the end of history and judge the living and the dead. 

54 Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day; Circle the words, “eat my flesh,” a fourth time. And the words, “drink my blood.”

Within the liturgical and historical churches, the phrase, “eat my flesh and drink my blood,” immediately makes us think of Holy Communion. In Holy Communion, when we eat the bread, we are taking the flesh of Christ into us. When we drink the wine, we are taking the blood of Christ into us.

One of the earliest references to Holy Communion is in the ancient book, the Didache. It was written in about the year 60 CE. It says  in Didache 9:5 “But let no one eat or drink of this eucharistic thanksgiving, but they that have been baptized into the name of the Lord.”  In other words, the language of “eating and drinking” was part of the earliest written record about the Eucharist.

These words almost sound like cannibalism. In the early church, we hear secular words from Romans who were not Christians and those secular Romans spoke against the cannibalism of the first Christians.

Eating the body and blood of Christ gives eternal life. Wow. Incredible. Unbelievable. How could “eating his flesh and drinking his blood” do such wondrous things as giving eternal life? That is the promise that is given repeatedly in this text. Those who eat the flesh of Jesus and drink his blood receive life and eternal life.

How does this happen? No one knows. It is a mystery. It is a sacrament. It is beyond our human comprehension.

This is a second primary benefit of Holy Communion: to receive eternal life which begins now. The first benefit is life itself. Eternal life is a quality of living and loving today in our world and for all eternity.

A third benefit of Holy Communion is to be raised up at the last day, at the last judgment, at the resurrection. To be raised up at the last day is different that receiving eternal life in the here and now.

It is no wonder that Christians have celebrated Holy Communion at our weekly worship services from the earliest beginnings of the Church.

Some years ago, when I was giving Holy Communion to Edie Wills of our parish who was dying of cancer of the esophagus. She had a tracheotomy and could speak only with airy, whispered sounds.  I spoke to her the words of John 6: “Whoever eats my body and drinks my blood (will never die) but live forever.”  Through her trach, She shot back at me from her hospital bed, “What did you say?” I replied, “I didn’t say it but God’s Word said it, “Whoever eats my body and drinks my blood will live forever.” With her breathy voice, Edie whispered loudly and forcefully to me through her wind pipe and tracheotomy, “Give me some of that bread and wine.” It was as if Edie had heard these words for the first time. The words penetrated her mind and she knew that she was eating soul food and drinking soul wine for all eternity…before her body died.

55 for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. Circle the words, “my flesh,” a fifth time. Focus on the words, “my blood.” In John’s discourses, he often uses circuitous and repetitious words, and this line and the next lines are examples of his repeating the same thought in similar words.

Focus on the word, “true.” Jesus is true food, true drink. Genuine, authentic, valid. There are many other forms of fake and false foods and drinks around us that promise us the abundant life, the full life, the good life here on Earth in rich America e.g. beer and buddies around the campfire.

Without even thinking about it, when we consume the foods, drinks and values of our culture, we are absorbing the spirit of our culture into our attitudes and actions, into our values, into our way of live. 

Who do we absorb into our lives? The spirit of Christ, the words of Christ, the life of Christ, the love of Christ, the death and resurrection of Christ? And/or our culture and all its materialistic, hedonistic values that permeate our daily lives too much?

Which is TRUE food? Which are TRUE values? Which are life giving visions and values for our daily existence?

The following is the gospel text for Pentecost 12B, John 6:56-69:

56 Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. Circle the words, “my flesh,” a sixth time. “My blood” a fourth time. "Eat my flesh and drink my blood": that is what Jesus wants us to do.

Again, this is an obvious reference to Holy Communion.

Those who eat his flesh and drink his blood abide in Christ and Christ abides in us/them. This is a “mutual indwelling” which occurs often in the Gospel of John.

The word abide means “live.” To live in Christ and Christ to live in us.

The word, “abide,” is a dominant word in the Gospel of John and is repeated often. 17 of the 18 times the word, “abide,” occurs in the New Testament arefrom the gospelor  epistles of John.

Scan the following references to the word “abide” in the gospel and epistles of John  

Joh 6:56 - Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them.

Joh 15:4 - Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me.

Joh 15:5 - I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing.

Joh 15:6 - Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.

Joh 15:7 - If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.

Joh 15:9 - As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love.

Joh 15:10 - If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love.

1Co 13:13 - And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.

1Jo 2:6 - whoever says, "I abide in him," ought to walk just as he walked.

1Jo 2:24 - Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you will abide in the Son and in the Father.

1Jo 2:27 - As for you, the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and so you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, abide in him.

1Jo 2:28 - And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he is revealed we may have confidence and not be put to shame before him at his coming.

1Jo 3:17 - How does God's love abide in anyone who has the world's goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help?

1Jo 3:24 - All who obey his commandments abide in him, and he abides in them. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit that he has given us.

1Jo 4:13 - By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.

1Jo 4:15 - God abides in those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God, and they abide in God.

1Jo 4:16 - So we have known and believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them.

2Jo 1:9 - Everyone who does not abide in the teaching of Christ, but goes beyond it, does not have God; whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.

From the above readings from the Johannine literature, it is obvious that the word “abide” is a uniquely Johannine word that is used almost exclusively in the books that bear his name. 

“Mutual indwelling” is one of the reasons that we take Holy Communion so often and regularly. As we do so, the Bible assures us that the presence of Christ lives in us and we live in Christ.

One of the primary benefits of Holy Communion is that Christ lives and dwells within us and we live and dwell within Christ. Other benefits of Holy Communion and eating the bread of life and drinking his blood are: life itself, eternal life that begins in this life, and being raised on the last day.

Martin Luther in his Small Catechism taught that the benefits of Holy Communion are “forgiveness of sins, life and salvation. And where there is forgiveness of sins, there is also life and salvation.”

In the mystery of Holy Communion, there are many benefits of this sacrament for us as human beings. One benefit of receiving the Sacrament is the receiving of the “mutual indwelling” where Christ lives in us and we live in Christ. The “real presence” of Christ comes into us through this sacrament and lives and remains within us.

57 Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me. This is the only reference in the Bible to the words, “living Father.”

The living Father sent Jesus to this earth and Jesus lives because of the living Father. So also, we will live because Christ lives in us. How does Christ live in us? Through the Spirit of his love, his forgiveness, his peace, his compassion that lives in us through our attitudes and actions which are not simply our own but the presence of Christ living inside of us. When we eat his body and drink his blood, we take his presence into ourselves.

This is the first reference to the word, “Father,” in this lectionary text. The word, “father,” is a primary designation of Jesus about God in the Gospel of John. We recall that earlier in John 6 that Jesus called God “my father” which would have infuriated the Jews and laid grounds for their crucifixion of him for blasphemy.

58 This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live forever." The Jews in the Old Testament wilderness ate the manna and died but whoever eats this living bread with live forever.

This is one of the essential differences between the Old and New Testaments, the Old and New Covenants, the Law and the Gospel. When a person ate the manna in the wilderness, that person still died. When a person ate the Law and the legalisms of the Old Testament, that person did not find life nor love. Those who eat the bread of Jesus, the love of Jesus, the forgiveness and compassion of Jesus, that person will find life now and forever.

59 He said these things while he was teaching in the synagogue at Capernaum. This discourse occurred at the synagogue in Capernaum.

We recall the basic photograph which shows us the location of the village of Capernaum at the north end of the Sea of Galilee. Memorize the location of Tabgha in your mind.

We recall other photographs of Capernaum that we studied earlier in Lesson 6 of this course on THE LIFE OF CHRIST. We recall that the photograph below is a reconstruction of the synagogue at Capernaum. The location of the synagogue has not changed. This was THE location of the synagogue in Capernaum in Jesus’ day. The rocks in the flooring of this reconstructed synagogue are very old and from the time of Jesus.  The reconstruction is a good representation of a synagogue from Jesus’ day. 

Capernaum was in existence from the second century BCE. to the seventh century CE. Capernaum was built along the edge of the Sea of Galilee and had up to 1500 residents. 

60 When many of his disciples heard it, they said, "This teaching is difficult; who can accept it?" Circle the word “difficult.” Meaning, this is a harsh saying. This teaching was difficult for the human mind to comprehend and accept. This teaching went against the grain of human intellectual sensibilities.

Notice that it was Jesus’ disciples who were having the intellectual and spiritual difficulties. At this moment and within this text, it was not “the Jews” who were having difficulties with the thoughts of Jesus. It was his disciples,and many of those had been with Jesus since the beginning of his ministry.

61 But Jesus, being aware that his disciples were complaining about it, said to them, "Does this offend you? Focus on the word, “complaining.” The disciples were complaining or grumbling about this. We think of the Israelites in the wilderness who were complaining about their situation and complaining that they felt that God did not meet their needs and expectations.

Focus on the word, “offend.” The word, “offend,” means “scandal” or “stumbling block” or "hindrance." Various teachings, miracles and stories of Jesus become stumbling blocks for people. People get “tripped up” on this or that teaching of Jesus. Jesus’ teachings about “eating his flesh and drinking his blood” offended these “would be” disciples. These thoughts were truly offensive and distasteful for many “wannabe” disciples.

This was offensive not only for the Jewish leaders (as one would expect) but also for his own disciples who were gradually understanding what Jesus was saying about himself.

The truth about the Incarnation is often a stumbling block. The Incarnation, the basic truth that God came to earth in the flesh of a human being to reveal himself to the world, is still offensive for many people today. The fundamental criticism of Christianity is its thesis that Jesus was the Son of God in the flesh, as a real human being. Most world religions believe that their founder was a great prophet of God but not the incarnation of God here on earth in a human form.

The truth about the crucifixion, the cross and the way of the cross is often a stumbling block. For the Apostle Paul, the fundamental scandal or offense was the cross and crucifixion of Jesus. I Corinthians 1:22-24, “21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, God decided, through the foolishness of our proclamation, to save those who believe. 22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks desire wisdom, 23 but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.”

The truth about a suffering Messiah is often a stumbling block. People in Jesus’ day and even today want the Messiah to be a hero, an inspiration, a “bigger than life person” who does miracles and gives peace to everyone. People in those days and in these days don’t want a Messiah who suffers, is humiliated, weak and dies on a cross.

The truth about our suffering as human beings is often a stumbling block. In my life as a pastor and human being, the greatest and most persistent stumbling block is the presence of suffering in one’s own life, suffering in the life of one’s family and friends, and suffering around the globe. People often spit out the words, “How can a good and loving God allow such awful suffering?” These feelings are often stumbling blocks. Diseases, accidents, disasters of nature, war, starvation, unemployment. The list goes on endlessly. These become rocks on our roads of life and these rocks cause us to stumble and fall. Some Christians actually believe that God is to protect us from the rocks and difficulties of life.

The truth about Holy Communion is often a stumbling block. Within Holy Communion, in this mysterious event, we eat the flesh of Jesus and drink the blood of Jesus. This eating and drinking is a source of life and eternal life. Such thoughts are offensive to many people, Christians and non-Christians alike.

Different people have different stumbling blocks about the Faith, Jesus Christ and the Church.

In this particular passage in John 6, the stumbling block was Jesus’ teaching about Holy Communion, that a Christian eats Jesus’ flesh and blood and takes Jesus’ flesh and blood into himself/herself. That was “over the top,” or “way too much” or “beyond our rational sensitivities” for certain followers of Christ.

62 Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? Jesus then says: “If you think the ideas about eating my body and drinking my blood are offensive, then listen to my next thoughts: “I will ascend to God where I was before, before time and before the world began.” Jesus seems to be referring to his coming Ascension where Jesus will ascend back to the heart and mind of God. Jesus also seems to be referring to his belief that he existed before time and earth began. Near the word, “ascending,” write in the word, “Ascension.” Near the words, “where he was before,” write in the words, “Pre-existence in heaven.”

Note the phrase, “Son of Man.” In Jewish apocalyptic thought in the times between the Old and New Testament, it was thought that the Son of Man was going to come at the end of history and judge the living from the dead, the good from the bad, the true believers from the non-believers. The role of the Son of Man was to be the future cosmic judge.

In the first four gospels, the words, “Son of Man,” is repeated often. The phrase, “Son of Man,” is used 67 times in the first three gospels and 12 times in the Gospel of John. 79 of the 84 references to the “Son of Man” are within the four gospels. There are also three references to the “Son of Man” in the Book of Acts and two in the Book of Revelation. In other words, the phrase “Son of Man” was clearly associated with the writings of the gospels and were not part of the Apostle Paul’s letters nor the pastoral epistles.

Scan the twelve references to the phrase, “Son of Man,” with John’s gospel:

Joh 1:51 – And he said to him, "Very truly, I tell you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man."

Joh 3:13 - No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man.

Joh 3:14 - And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up,

Joh 5:27 - and he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man.

Joh 6:27 - Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For it is on him that God the Father has set his seal."

Joh 6:53 - So Jesus said to them, "Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.

Joh 6:62 - Then what if you were to see the SonofMan ascending to where he was before?

Joh 8:28 - So Jesus said, "When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own, but I speak these things as the Father instructed me.

Joh 9:35 - Jesus heard that they had driven him out, and when he found him, he said, "Do you believe in the Son of Man?"

Joh 12:23 - Jesus answered them, "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.

Joh 12:34 - The crowd answered him, "We have heard from the law that the Messiah remains forever. How can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?"

Joh 13:31 - When he had gone out, Jesus said, "Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him.

John 1:51 and 3:13 talk about the Son of Man ascending and descending from heaven. These verses can easily supplement John 6:62. Jesus was not only full present when believers were eating and drinking the flesh and blood of Jesus in Holy Communion. Jesus would be also fully present in his ascension up into heaven where he existed before.

63 It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless. That is true. The Spirit of God is the power to convince us to believe. Human reason (flesh) does not convince us to believe. We remember Pascal’s thought, “The heart has reason that reason does not understand.” When it comes to believing in Christ, it is the Spirit who convinces us, and not our human reason or our human will.

The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. That is one reason that we focus so intently on the words of Jesus. We believe that the words of Jesus are spirit and life. Jesus’ words feed our inner spirit. Jesus’ words nourish life within us and our belief in eternal life.

Historically, many denominations are “Word and Sacrament” churches. That is, we focus on the Word of Christ and the Sacrament(s) of Christ, and the Word and the Sacraments nourish us for this life and for all eternity.

64 But among you there are some who do not believe." That was true in Jesus day. That was true of the many disciples who were gathered around him that day. That was specifically true of Judas Iscariot (as is seen in the next phrase). That is unfortunately true of people in our sanctuary on Sunday mornings and is also true of people in our families. It is true of our own selves at certain times within our lives.

Circle the word, “believe.” That is what Jesus always wants from us: to believe in him. To believe that he comes to us through his words. To believe that he comes to us when we are eating his flesh and drinking his blood through Holy Communion. Through his Word and Sacrament, we believe that we are taking the “real presence” of Jesus Christ into ourselves.

For Jesus knew from the first who were the ones that did not believe, and who was the one that would betray him. This phrase repeats the theme of predestination. Jesus “foreknew” which people would not believe in him, including Judas who was to betray him. 

65 And he said, "For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted by the Father." This is a teaching that repeats the theme of predestination, that a person cannot come to Christ or believe in Christ unless God the Father draws that person. In our modern world in which the concept of free will abounds within the church and culture, it is intellectually offensive to think that our salvation is in God’s hands.

John 6:44 says that “no one can come to me unless drawn by the Father who sent me.” See the commentary on John 6:44 (previous gospel analysis for Pentecost 11B) for a greater discussion on predestination.

66 Because of this many of his disciples turned back and no longer went about with him. There are people who no longer believe in Jesus Christ nor do they walk with him. That is just the way it was in Jesus’ day and still is today. At one time, people were disciples of Jesus. At one time, some people thought of themselves as being servants of Jesus Christ who was their master, but then Jesus explained who he was more fully. At that point, these “would be followers” of Jesus faded away. The teachings of Jesus were too offensive for certain disciples who could not accept his thoughts.

67 So Jesus asked the twelve, "Do you also wish to go away?" So it was not the inner core of the twelve disciples who turned away from Jesus. The core of the inner twelve were still committed to him, except Judas, of course.

68 Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. Jesus has the words of life and the words of eternal life.  In our study of the Bible, we listen to the words of Jesus and absorb his words into our hearts, minds and daily actions. We know that Jesus has the words of eternal life, an eternal life that begins right now, that eternal life is knowing God, knowing God’s love and compassion for all people. Jesus had and still has the words of forgiveness, peace, justice, meaning, purpose, destiny, eternity. Jesus had and still has the words of life.

69 We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God." This is what God wants from us and the whole world: to believe in Christ and come to know that Jesus Christ is the holiness of God in human form. That is the purpose of the church: to be the men and women, boys and girls, whom God uses to teach Jesus, who is the bread of life, the water of life, the abundance of a life.

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