14 July 2017

John 6:60-71

“Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life.” (v. 68)

Psalm: Psalm 38:1-9


Whether we are conscious of it or not, whenever we gather in groups we develop social norms and agreed understandings among each other. For example, the way we speak or act when among our friends might be very different to when we gather with our families. When we gather as a church community we embrace and even promote some things, whereas we chose not to mention others or deliberately hide them under the carpet!

The same is true when we read the Scriptures whether we are alone, in groups of disciples, gathered as Church or as a denomination. Some parts of the Scripture we find easier to accept than others. Some we will actively promote and some we will choose to ignore.

It's similar in the passage. The only problem is Jesus is with them and he's not going to let his so-called followers off the hook when it comes to grappling with difficult things. Well, actually he'd sooner let them off the hook (see verse 66) than pretend that they are followers when really they are doing what they want rather than God's will.

I wonder, are you a complainer when you find something in the Scriptures or in the world that you don't like (or understand), or do you merely hide things under the carpet of life insisting you'll come to that bit later?

John 6 highlights once again that being a follower of Jesus is not easy. Jesus is uncompromising. The closer we get to him the more he demands that we view the world in a different way, even if the teaching seems hard. The question is how we deal with this challenge. We could turn our back, or we may feel so compelled by our relationship with God that despite our wriggling on the hook of faith when people ask why you do this disciple/church thing the words of the disciples echo around us: "Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life."

To Ponder

  • Which of Jesus' teachings do you find difficult?
  • Which of the teachings of the Church appear to be far away from the teaching of Jesus?
  • If you feel you can't go anywhere else - what do you need to do to improve the community you are in?

Bible notes author

The Revd Paul Wood

Paul is a presbyter serving in the Connexional Team as Coordinator for Ministry Development. He grew up in Derbyshire and has served in Durham and Coventry.