A Hard Teaching by Terry J. Hallock

A Hard Teaching
A Communion Sermon
Terry J. Hallock
John 6:53-66
February 3, 2002

John tell us that upon hearing this teaching, "many of (Jesus') disciples said, 'This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?'" and from that time on many turned back and no longer followed Him. Why did they find this teaching so difficult that they refused to follow Jesus because of it when we seem to so easily accept it and comfortably symbolize our acceptance through participation in the Lord's Supper? Ironically their rejection may demonstrate more integrity than does our acceptance. They rejected this teaching as too difficult because they knew exactly what Jesus meant. Sometimes we read and accept it with ease without ever hearing what He's really saying. They turned from Jesus because they clearly knew what He was asking them to do. Too often we come to Jesus at His Table but then refuse to pay the cost it demands.

Now some objected to this teaching because they believed Jesus was telling them they had to actually eat His flesh and worst of all for a Jew, drink His blood, an act expressly forbidden in the Law. In short, they thought He was preaching cannibalism, a charge the Romans would also hurl against the Church. But most that left Him did so because of the last words of verse 53, not the first. "I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, YOU HAVE NO LIFE IN YOU" [My capitalization]. In other words, unless His flesh is inside our flesh and His blood flows in the same veins where our own exists we are dead. In verse 58 Jesus puts it this way, "Your forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this bread will live forever." And in verse 63 He says, "The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing." If we believe we have life because we were born, Jesus declares that we don't. He says it is not enough just to be born. To have life we must be born again. "The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing." He t ...


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