Eventually… a decision is made.
Now the crowd must decide whether or not they can accept Jesus’ words. As they processed through their experience with Jesus they came to the conclusion that they must decide.
Many of Jesus’ disciples who were listening said, “This saying is hard; who can accept it?” Since Jesus knew that his disciples were murmuring about this, he said to them, “Does this shock you? What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail. The words I have spoken to you are Spirit and life. But there are some of you who do not believe.” Jesus knew from the beginning the ones who would not believe and the one who would betray him. And he said, “For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by my Father.”
As a result of this, many of his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him. Jesus then said to the Twelve, “Do you also want to leave?” Simon Peter answered him, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.” John 6:60-69
Imagine this scene as the disciples surround Jesus as He speaks about the bread of life. The crowd is coming to the realization that Jesus is speaking literally. They can’t possibly grasp the complete meaning of what He is saying because He hasn’t died on the cross yet. They say, “This saying is hard; who can accept it?” This is the most important point in the entire Bread of Life Discourse. The ramifications of what Jesus means are life altering. Once they understand what He means “many of his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompany Him.” They decide to walk away from the Bread of Life.
Jesus then turns to His closest followers and asks them to decide. Of course, Simon Peter is first to respond. He basically says that we’re not going anywhere because we believe and are convinced of who you are!
As I reflect on Jesus’ words, I have to answer His question, “Do you also want to leave?” While my answer is similar to Simon Peter’s, I question whether or not I sometimes return to my “former way of life”. Unfortunately, I believe, the answer is yes. Why? Because His saying is hard! Jesus asks us to decide every day that He is the Bread of Life, the Holy One of God. In our world today, that is never going to be easy.
Eventually…we must decide. Acknowledge that, “This saying is hard.” Ask yourself, “Do I choose to accept it?” When we do our lives will be forever altered as we eat His body and drink His blood!
“Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life.”
The Holy Eucharist! Amen! I believe and am convinced!