April 9, 2011 - Against all Odds
Rev. Heather Reilly
At this time in the Lenten journey we are seeing how some are powerfully drawn to Christ’s teaching and some who are offended; choosing to reject the incredible commitment Christ was asking. Faithful followers that have been intrigued by Jesus until this time were suddenly turned off by his message about consuming his very flesh. Of course, he was speaking figuratively, but they didn’t wait around long enough to clear up the confusion or ask poignant questions. Secretly though, I wonder if these followers knew in their heart exactly the commitment Jesus was asking, and they knew they couldn’t commit to him in that way. Jesus being our very substance, our very reason for living, following against all odds, when others make fun, when others don’t believe, following when their very life is at risk. Regardless of their opposition, Jesus even had compassion for their change of heart.
Jesus and his followers had lived through a momentary time of popularity. This has come to an end. The time was coming close when followers of Jesus were to be harshly persecuted. Time is coming when the world will be filled with chaos and only the sacrificial love of God can penetrate the chaos. Very soon, this group that turned away will see the Son of God suffer and die for them.
Previously, Jesus had been explaining to his followers that he is FULLY God and FULLY Man. When Jesus was talking about eating his body and blood he is meaning receiving Christ into our entire life, into our whole being. He is to enter every corner of our mind, body, and soul. His desire is for us to completely assimilate, to experience complete sanctification. The concluding verses of John 6 remind us of The Lord’s Supper, when Jesus breaks bread and says, “Take, eat, this is my body. Drink it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant.” Everyday, Christ calls us to surrender the control of our life to him. He was asking the same thing of the followers before his death. Not everyone can make this serious, life-threatening commitment. Following Christ involves complete denial of our very being. This is the only way to experience abundant life.
Despite their concern, confusion, and doubt, many disciples remained true to Christ, following him even when they don’t fully understand. We all have times when we turn away from Christ and times when we fully commit to him. He knows our hearts. He is always listening and forgiving.
In our times of doubt and confusion, remind us Father that you hear our voice and know our hearts concern. Amen.
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