By: Max Joyner
The words “simple” and “easy” are often used interchangeably but if we stop and think about it, we realize that a simple thing isn’t always easy.
Change a tire, build a house, cook dinner or write a devotional–all simple commands but not always easily accomplished.
The same can be said for the lessons and commandments in scripture. Children start learning and understanding the Word at a very young age, but it can take a lifetime to master all the lessons.
This was true even for the disciples that had Jesus, in person, as their teacher.
The congregation in the synagogue weren’t having an easy time understanding Jesus’ simple message. Drink his blood and eat his flesh? That’s crazy! How would that even work?
We know, of course, that Jesus was speaking and teaching figuratively, not literally. However, many of the disciples that day couldn’t understand this and wouldn’t make the mental jump that Jesus’ message was trying to teach them. Jesus knew this was going to happen – knew that not everyone was going to be able to follow him. He knew that if they couldn’t pass this lesson, there was no way that they were ready for the lessons to come after until ultimately, He would “ascend to where he was before” (62).
Jesus was telling them that it is through His flesh, not our own worldly flesh, that we are saved. How do we live off His flesh? He tells us: It is the Spirit who gives us life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life (63).
Jesus’s words are the “flesh” and “blood” that our spirit needs for sustenance or “food” for life. This spiritual food isn’t found anywhere else in the world, only through the words and teachings of our Lord Jesus.
This is a simple concept but it wasn’t easy for many of the disciples that day and so they left and stopped following Jesus. Simon Peter does understand Jesus’ lesson and realizes that there is nowhere to go and no one else to follow for spiritual life.
I’m thankful for the fact the Simon Peter and others understood the message that day and I’m thankful that we have their example as a testimony to look to for encouragement. I’m also saddened by the people that chose to turn away and stop following Jesus. I think of the people in the world today that have made this same choice and decided that the simple command was too difficult to follow. Let’s pray today that the Lord gives us strength to encourage those having a difficult time.