“This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” John 6:60
A third test you will face is the test of theological offense. The crowd who had been fed in the desert a day earlier took offense at Jesus for at least three reasons.
The uniqueness of the incarnation
The Jews grumbled about him, because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” They said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does he now say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?” (6:41-42).
The necessity of the atonement
“Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him” (6:56).
The flesh and blood of Jesus is a clear reference to the sacrifice Jesus offered when He stood in our place and died for our sins on the cross. It is by believing in or feeding on Jesus that we become His and the life in Him becomes ours. Many of His disciples were offended by this and said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” (6:60).
Our dependence on grace
True disciples of Jesus are given by God, drawn by God, and taught by God.
“All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out” (6:37).
“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day” (6:44).
“It is written in the Prophets, ‘And they will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me” (6:45).
Many of Jesus’ disciples were so offended that they “turned back and no longer walked with him” (6:66). These tests of faith are still offensive to disciples today.
Which of these theological offenses have you struggled with?