Monday, March 23, 2009

John 6 -- Tough Teaching

In this lengthy chapter of John there are accounts we are familiar with, and some we are not so familiar with. Many people who are mildly familiar with the stories of Jesus are familiar with the feeding of the 5000, and Jesus walking on water. Later in the chapter the teachings are less familiar and believe it or not harder to work with.

In some teaching which involves some grotesque images, Jesus declares that the way to life is through him. Then Jesus challenges tradition. For the Jewish people the work and wonders of Moses were nearly untouchable in the arena of criticism. Here in John 6 Jesus does not directly criticize Moses, but he points our the limited nature of the work of Moses. Referring to manna, Jesus says those who ate the bread of Moses all died, those who eat this bread, will live forever.

We might not always realize it, but tradition has just been slammed. Implied here is that keeping the traditions alone will still lead to death. Following after Jesus will lead to life. Yet it is hard to follow Jesus. He is controversial. He is a man who challenges the status quo of religion, government and daily living. Jesus does not seem interested in having people gather together in groups periodically to have a nice time together. Jesus seems interested in turning the world on its head for the sake of the Kingdom of God. What this really means is those who follow after Jesus will function differently, in every way possible, than the systems of the world.

At this point in Jesus teachings, many decide it is too much, and stop following Jesus. When Jesus asks the 12 is they too will leave Peter gives yet another masterful answer, "Lord to who shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God." In other words, it is a lot, bordering on too much, but where else can we find life?

Where else can you find life, true, deep and beyond traditions and broken systems?

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