Scripture: “On hearing it, many of his disciples said, ‘This is a hard teaching! Who can accept it?'” – John 6:60
Jesus is teaching his disciples about how the body and blood of Christ as Spiritual food. When we think of food and drink, we think completely in the physical. What Jesus is referring to is Spiritual food.
Jesus also says, “Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.” – (John 6:27). In this verse Jesus explains that he is giving us the bread of eternal life through his sacrifice on the cross, and if we believe in him (eat of this bread), that we will have eternal life. He is giving us the bread of life through his sacrifice on the cross.
This is not about eating and drinking bread and wine, but about belief in Jesus Christ, the food for our eternal life. Without belief in Jesus Christ, our Spirit dies as would our flesh if we did not eat any physical food. While there are other kinds of Spiritual food such as the Word of God, prayer, praise and worship, belief in Jesus Christ is the main course.
The concept of Spiritual food was brand new to the disciples, and to anyone for that matter. This is not a scenario that was repeating in history that people could compare with and learn from. No time before had the Son of God come to earth to be with us. So it’s easy to understand, how it was not easy to understand. And many disciples “turned back and no longer followed him.” – John 6:66.
I find it interesting that Jesus doesn’t chase after them, or seem stressed out whatsoever. Instead, he stands firm in his teaching and uses this as an opportunity to find out those who are committed and those who are not. This teaching clearly highlights the 12 where Peter affirms this for the 12 stating, “We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.” – John 6:69. Although Jesus does know and points out that of those 12, one of them (Judas) is going to betray him in the end.
I think this is a great lesson that I can connect with and immediately apply in my life. Being in a leadership role, and being responsible for training of team members, I am responsible for the development of the people within my organization. Within this group, people are at all different levels of understanding and competence within the organization. My job is to provide consistent training for all employees, and from time to time assess where everyone is at in their development. My takeaway is to emulate how Jesus led and trained his disciples.
Sometimes Jesus called for a higher level of commitment and some didn’t make the cut. And sometimes when someone fails to make the cut, we as leaders feel like we failed. But this verse reveals to me that it’s perfectly acceptable and reasonable to know that not everyone will pass the test the first time around. And this scripture gives me peace in knowing that it’s just not yet their time to rise to the next level.
While Jesus came across thousands upon thousands of people, yet at the end there were only 12 in his inner circle. What I need to do as a leader is to ensure that I keep training and teaching, and providing opportunities for growth and development. Execution is ultimately up to them.
We can also apply this in ministry and as we lead others to Christ. We ultimately must do what God calls each of us to do. We all have our unique God-given gifts and talents, and we should look to God for direction on how and where to use these gifts. This personally helps give me peace to know that I just need to continue in my walk, and focus on what God is asking me to do. God enlists me as a worker, but I am not supposed to carry the weight of the world on my shoulders. Jesus already did that.
Finally, let us not forget that it is really love that matters in the end. Yet Jesus loved everyone and treated everyone the same. What he understood was that not everyone would be ready at the same time. That model worked for Jesus, so I’m pretty sure it is an important model for me to understand and leverage.
For me, and I think for all of us, it is important to know who is in my inner circle of faith. It is important to know who is at the same level of commitment and purpose in faith. Some are ready to take action and be eagerly committed to advancing the kingdom of God. Some are just starting out on their journey and more than anything else just need us to love on and share the good news of Jesus Christ our Lord.
And in this we can have peace, knowing that God has a plan for everyone, and that we are our own unique contributor to the greater body of Christ. And in this we can ask for His guidance, and do our own and special part of His greater plan, and do what God is calling us to do.
Dear heavenly Father, thank you for this Word today that I needed so much. Sometimes I get over anxious and overzealous. Help me to stay in your love and peace, and to trust in You. Help me to let go of unnecessary burdens, knowing that we are following our calling and doing our part according to your Will. Help us to be present with those who you bring across our path every day, knowing that every interaction is meaningful and holy. Let us walk in your Spirit, and in your light and love. You are the bread of life, and we put our hope in You, Guide our every word, our every thought, our every deed today, for the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
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