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Where Will We Go? You Have The Words Of Life!

Posted by on Sep 6, 2015 in Torah & Life |
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John 6:25-69

Sometimes G-d asks us to do things that we don’t understand. They might not make sense to us at the time. We can’t reconcile what He’s leading us to do with any form of reasoning within us. We might even feel crazy for doing it. This passage should encourage us, especially if we’re going against the crowd to stay true to what HaShem has spoken to us.*

As we come into this passage, we see Yeshua having a conversation with a crowd of would-be disciples. They’ve been seeking him, and have even crossed over the Sea of Galilee to find Him. Once they arrive, they find him teaching in the synagogue. A conversation ensues about why they’re looking for him so earnestly.

He tells them:

“Truly, truly, I say to you,you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. 27 Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.”

Naturally, they ask Him what they need to do in order to be doing the works of G-d, to which Yeshua answers:

“Truly, truly, I say to you,you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. 27 Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.”

The crowd asks Yeshua to give them this “bread” always. He responds by telling them that He is the bread of life and that anyone who believes in Him would never hunger or thirst. He then says something that unnerves them when He says that He was the bread of life that came down from heaven.

And not only that, but when the crowd recoils at this, Yeshua takes things a little further. Not seeming to be content with blasphemy, what Yeshua says next also seems to cross the lines of kashrut:

“I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”

and

“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.54 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. 55 For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. 56 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread[c] the fathers ate, and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.”

Talk about a series of in-your-face and hard to swallow statements. Eating human flesh or any blood at all was, and still is, strictly against the kosher eating laws. Every Jew knows that the “life is in the blood”.

I think that at this point every self-respecting Jew would probably have abandoned any rabbi espousing such non-kosher and blasphemous teachings. Indeed, many of Yeshua’s disciples did leave:

60 “When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?”

And:

66 “After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him.”

Imagine the leader of your congregation telling you to do something that seemed completely & utterly against what the scriptures say. Maybe he says to abandon your parents in their time of need, or to snub the homeless in your city in favor of pandering to the rich. Whatever it is, it would almost certainly pale in comparison to what it seemed like Yeshua was saying in this passage. He was not only elevating Himself to be equal with G-d, but also seemed to be telling His disciples to do some very unkosher things. To say this saying was “hard” is an understatement. It’s really no wondering that so many disciples walked away upon hearing this.

Sometimes rabbis give hard teachings. Sometimes their talmidim  (students/disciples) have to make hard decisions. This was one of those times.

Yeshua turns to the twelve whom He personally picked as his closest disciples. He asked a heavy question:

“Do you want to go away as well?”

In other words, “Will you turn your back on me, just like all these have done?”

In what seems to be a super star moment, Peter speaks up with one of the most profound statements credited to him in all the gospel accounts:

“Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, 69 and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”

You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that You are the Holy One of G-d“.
Maybe another way to put this could be “we are and have been fed by your words – they are life to us! We believe You are the Messiah. To whom else could we go? Come good or bad, we’re with You.”

I don’t really know that Peter really understood what Yeshua was saying when He spoke of eating His body & blood. But one thing does seem exceedingly apparent: he had faith in Yeshua that sustained him during this time of difficulty.

This brings to mind another teaching of the Master. In Luke 18 Yeshua tells a parable of an indifferent judge who grants justice to a certain woman because of her persistence. He says that, of course, G-d would grant justice to His elect who call to Him day & night. Then he says something almost haunting:

“I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on earth? Not in Israel. Not among the Gentiles. On earth. Even though G-d will answer our prayers. Even though He loves us dearly. Even though Yeshua promised never to leave nor forsake us.

Will He find faith on earth?

Faith is a funny thing. It’s not just a feeling. It’s not mentally ascending to a decision. It’s more than hope. It’s actually being certain of what we hope for, according to Hebrews. Faith itself is the evidence of things that we cannot see.

During the times when we are tempted to falter in our expectation of G-d’s word being true, our faith is what anchors us to HaShem.

In the face of a mass exodus of Yeshua’s disciples, Peter demonstrated unwavering faith in the rabbi who chose him as one of the talmidim who would carry on His teachings to future generations. Even though he likely had no idea what Yeshua meant by eating His body & blood, Peter had faith that his rabbi, his Messiah, would not break Torah. Even if Peter didn’t fully understand everything in the moment. Sometime later, his faith would be proven to be well placed.

At His last Passover meal, Yeshua finally explained his cryptic teaching to his 12 closest disciples:

19 And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 20 And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”

The Master never meant that His disciples had to literally eat His body & blood. He was trying to give them keen insight into the scriptures, insight into some of HaShem’s appointed times (moedim), and an in-depth explanation as to why He must be crucified, buried, and raised again on the third day.

How many of Yeshua’s would-be disciples missed out on these precious teachings? How many lost faith a little too early? How many missed the Messiah because they didn’t understand this one, admittedly difficult, saying. How many times do we miss what G-d has for us because we don’t understand what He’s doing?

Ecclesiastes 3:11 says:

He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.

In Isaiah 55:9 He tells us:

For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

No matter what you’re facing today, remember, G-d is for you. He makes all things work together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purposes. Even if it seems like the whole world is going the opposite direction. Even if you don’t understand what’s going on or why seemingly bad things are happening to you. Even if you can’t see what good could possibly come out of certain situations in your life.

Above all, remember Who has the words of life and have faith in Him even when you don’t understand “why”.

Cheers,
-Mark
————

* Keep in mind: G-d will never ask or instruct us to do something that contradicts His written word. If you’re feel He is, it might not be HaShem speaking to you.

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