Do you remember at school being taught something new – a maths problem, a grammatical structure, a scientific formula, the right way to cut a block of wood, or throw a ball for a particular sport? Or something you have learnt in later life that has proved tricky? And the cry goes out,
This is too hard!
You just can’t grasp the concept, or how to do it.
59 Jesus was teaching in a Jewish place of worship in Capernaum when he said these things.
The Words of Eternal Life
60 Many of Jesus’ disciples heard him and said, “This is too hard for anyone to understand.”
61 Jesus knew that his disciples were grumbling. So he asked, “Does this bother you? 62 What if you should see the Son of Man go up to heaven where he came from? 63 The Spirit is the one who gives life! Human strength can do nothing. The words that I have spoken to you are from that life-giving Spirit. 64 But some of you refuse to have faith in me.” Jesus said this, because from the beginning he knew who would have faith in him. He also knew which one would betray him.
65 Then Jesus said, “You cannot come to me, unless the Father makes you want to come. That is why I have told these things to all of you.”
66 Because of what Jesus said, many of his disciples turned their backs on him and stopped following him. 67 Jesus then asked his twelve disciples if they were going to leave him. 68 Simon Peter answered, “Lord, there is no one else that we can go to! Your words give eternal life. 69 We have faith in you, and we are sure that you are God’s Holy One.”
The disciples saw and heard what Jesus was saying and doing, and all of a sudden it hit them how hard this was going to be.
Far from their belief that following Jesus was going to make life easy, that things were going to be provided for them, the penny drops and they begin to understand that some of this will be tough, how difficult are the things he is asking of them.
But Jesus tells them, that despite how they are feeling, the way he is showing them is the way that is truly life-enhancing. But, they all had a choice to make, whether to stick with it – or not.
There were those for whom it was too much, to hard, and they turned and went away.
Jesus asks the twelve disciples what they are going to do – Peter answered on behalf of them all,
Lord, there is no one else that we can go to! Your words give eternal life. We have faith in you, and we are sure that you are God’s Holy One. (v68-69)
What else could they do? Who else could they go to? Jesus was giving them what they really needed, showing them the best possible way. However difficult it seemed at times, they knew it was the way to go.
So what about us?
Are you finding what Jesus teaches hard? Do you want to turn away? Or do you recognise in him what you need, and are going to hang on in there?
Following Jesus is a choice. It is not compulsory. But he warmly invites you to come to him and longs that you will respond. And if not Him, where else will you go?
some times it is so hard,
what you ask of me is difficult,
and I’m not sure I can do it.
Thank you that you are the one who gives life,
and you give it to me;
help me to take it,
to live and learn with you
– for what else can I do?