Have you ever had a mentor speak hard words to you? Did you believe those hard words were meant for your benefit?
Sometimes Jesus spoke in ways that made the crowd stop following him, but the true disciples got the message. For example, in John 6, Jesus fed five thousand people by multiplying five barley loaves and two small fish. Soon after, he builds on this miracle saying, “…It is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven … that… gives life to the world” (John 6:32-33).
The crowd asked for this bread, thinking it was a magical way to stave off hunger. Jesus explained that he offered so much more when he said, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty” (John 6:35). This bread was not about them.
This bread is about himself, for he is the source of true fulfillment.
Speaking more graphically, he added, “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them” (John 6:56). That sounded repugnant, so “many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him” (John 6:66). But not the Twelve. His close disciples understood that Jesus meant we need to take in all of him if we seek to remain, abide, dwell in him.
When we are in close relationship with God, we understand his hard sayings, such as this one. In being the bread and wine for our souls, Jesus provides all we need.
Dear God, thank you for this story of Jesus that makes clear that if we want to abide in you, we do so by ingesting your truths, your love, your Spirit. Help us trust you when we hear you challenging us in ways that may seem uncomfortable, for you have our best interests in mind. Amen.
Go Deeper — Do you truly trust God to provide all you need to sustain yourself in this world — physically, emotionally, and spiritually? Why or why not?
Photo Credit: Kate Remmer