Psalm 116:12–17, John 6:54–69, Acts 9:31–43
Yesterday, we briefly touched on the reality that the world doesn’t like the entirety of the message of Jesus. It struggles with nice and submission. Add on the whole eternal life piece and the world casts it off. Other beliefs that the church has wrestled with and argued over often confuse people (believers and non-believers alike), providing an additional excuse to ignore the message. This is not to say that having an excuse means that everything is just fine. On the contrary, it often means that the heart is hard toward the Holy Spirit.
When Peter asks to whom will they go, Peter could be really asking a number of things. First, he’s (they’re) all in. Second, no one else speaks/convinces like Jesus. We speak about the hard sayings of Jesus. It is that Jesus declares himself the True Bread of Life that his disciples (both intimate and extended) call hard. Peter doesn’t say that it isn’t hard. He isn’t saying he understands. He is saying (effectively), “I trust you, Jesus, regardless of what I understand.”
Regardless. As inheritors of the Enlightenment, we don’t function well with “regardless.” Add onto the Enlightenment inheritance our “hard” science outlook, “regardless” is even harder. This is not to say that the Enlightenment or science is all bad. It is to say that neither is all knowing.
“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in our philosophy.” —Hamlet (from the play Hamlet, by William Shakespeare)
Hamlet, speaking to his friend, Horatio, is referring to all the knowledge and learning that he (Horatio) has gained through his education (which was significant for the time). The world hangs its hat (so to speak) solely on the philosophies of the Enlightenment and science. The irony is that the Enlightenment and science came out of religion and a desire to understand, and yet many claim that religion has nothing to do with either.
We will always struggle with reaching the world. How could Jesus be the only way to eternal life? The world does not understand.
Peter, on the other hand, understood the best he was able. He was knee deep in theology or philosophy. He was neck deep in following Jesus the best way he knew how. Peter was, through faith, able to heal the paralyzed. Peter was, through faith, able to raise the dead to life. Was it his power? No, and he knew it. Did he ask, how does this work? No. He just accepts. That is one of the secrets of the Very Good Life, trusting God despite one’s own lack of understanding.
1) Why is Jesus being the Bread of Life a hard saying? If we don’t think it is, what are we missing?
2) How do you work through the tension between science and religion? What do you think of the choice being science or religion?