John 6:60-61 (Hard Teaching)

Hard Teaching

Many of his disciples said, “This is very hard to understand. How can anyone accept it?” Jesus was aware that his disciples were complaining, so he said to them, “Does this offend you?” (John 6:60-61)

Read: Psalms 79 – 82

Relate: Cannibals. That is what Jesus was asking his disciples to be. Worse than that. He was asking them to eat him. So it would seem that He must have had some suicidal tendencies Himself. He wants to die, and for His disciples to eat Him while He is gone. Of course those who have been raised in a Christian culture will immediately recognize that He is talking about His own death on the cross and our remembrance of that world hinging event through communion.

Just take yourself out of that Christian context for a moment. Look at this from the perspective of someone without any knowledge of the history of the life of Jesus. How would they view this? How hard would they take it? What about the disciples? They have known and been around Jesus long enough to know that when He speaks, it is truth, and when He works, it is good. So what about this cannibalism thing? I just don’t get it. It has to be some sort of parable or something, right? What is He really saying?

React: I just don’t get it. What are You doing here God? What are You trying to tell me? I think I’ve said those words more than once or twice myself. Sometimes it might be a portion of scripture that I am having a hard time understanding. Other times it might be things that have happened in my life. Some of the trials I might have gone through raised the question. Some of the loved ones who have been taken from me at times kicked me back on my heels. God, what are You doing? What is happening here?

In times like that, I absolutely love Peter’s response: “Where else would we go?” If I was not a Christian, my father and my sister and my niece would still be dead. The only difference is that I would have no hope of seeing them again. If I was not a Christian, the difficult sayings in scripture would still be difficult. The only difference is that I wouldn’t bother searching for a deeper, more profound truth that is surely hidden beneath the surface. The rain falls on the just and the unjust alike. The only difference is that the just sometimes know why it is raining. Even when they don’t, they realize that there is a greater purpose at work than what they can see.


God, I trust You. Even when I don’t understand You, I trust You. Even when life seems to be full of difficulty and despair, I know that You are good. Even when my mind is full of doubt and confusion, I know that You speak truth. God, help me never to rest in not understanding. Help me to always search out the answers to those hard questions and hard circumstances in life. You have called me to worship You with my mind as well as with my heart and soul. But until those answers come, or even if they never do, help me to trust You in the process. Let me ever keep at the forefront of my mind just how good and true You really are. 

11 thoughts on “John 6:60-61 (Hard Teaching)

  1. “The only difference is that I wouldn’t bother searching ..”. BJ, seems to me THAT is the foundation stone of any relationship. Earthly or godly. If it was easy “to get” how would we cosy up, get cross, walk with, trust in, be vulnerable to, ,,, How else do we get real with another or God. How else do we love. Love this one – thank you!!

  2. Beloved in Christ; I read this, and immediately thought of 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 where your first Scriptures are fully explained by Paul. In those early days, before we fully understood, this would have been hard to hear, as the Jews were still living under God’s old covenant law.

    I’ve never realised before just how hard they must have taken His teaching, found in John 6. What an eye-opener this is. Wow.

  3. If I did not have the Lord, life would be difficult. In those times of trials, I can lean even heavier on the Lord. This is not only my hope, but my confidence as well. I know He holds the future, and He’ll be there to hold my hand.

  4. I’ve read that the Jews should have actually understood this teaching, especially the scribes and/or Pharisees, since they had the background of the law of blood and other sacrifices. They were being deliberately obtuse by refusing to understand Christ’s true meaning – to these ‘learned’ men especially, steeped in scriptural and religious meaning, it should have been clear that He was speaking in metaphors.

  5. I did a post on this myself not long ago! We need to understand that the communion we take in memory of His death means life to us…that’s how we “eat His flesh and drink His blood.” You have done a very good job with this!

    Steve Pejay

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