Context: Jesus finishes his discourse with the Jews in the synagogue in Capernaum where he asserts ‘I am the Bread of Life.’ Many of the listeners were offended by his teachings and started grumbling. Jesus knows their hearts and also points them to the truth that, apart from the breath and Spirit of God, we cannot experience the life God wants for us. ‘The flesh (selfish, unregenerate nature) profits nothing, the Spirit gives life. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life,’ Jesus says. Many of Jesus’ disciples ‘turned back’ after this teaching. Rather than suppressing this fact, Jesus, asks the 12 apostles if they want to leave, too. Peter’s response and Jesus’ follow-up are profound. This, btw, is the first time in John’s Gospel that the 12 disciples (or apostles) are distinctively mentioned as ‘the Twelve’, though certainly they were formed earlier in his ministry.
Observations: Why do you think many of the people turned away at this point? Were they ‘true believers’ or were they just astonished by Jesus’ miracles and reaping the benefits of them? What does it mean that no one can come to Jesus unless it is granted by the Father? Do we have a choice one way or another? What impresses you about Jesus’ question about leaving and Peter’s response?
Application: Are there hard or ‘difficult’ teachings of Jesus that you are ignoring in your own life? They could be related to discipleship, counting the cost, sexual purity, finances, forgiveness, unity with others, or just persevering through trials. Reflect for a moment and ask Jesus to help you ‘embrace’ those teachings, apply them to your life and experience the rewards of obeying them!
Prayer: Thank the Lord for the words of Scripture and ‘spirit and life.’ Ask Him to show you today how life-giving they truly are!! Ask the Spirit to stir in the hearts of those connected to the Evergreen Body.