Devotional Scripture: John 6:23-71
"Stop grumbling among yourselves." - John 6:43
Verses 23-71 of sixth chapter of John contain some difficult stuff.
"I am the bread of life." - vs. 35
"I am the living bread." - vs. 51
"For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink." - vs. 55
"Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him." - vs. 56
"This is hard teaching. Who can accept it?" - vs. 60
"The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing." - vs. 63
If this had been a seminary lecture . . . we would have been hard pressed to have taken all the notes we needed to. I remember lectures like that . . . some of us would meet after the class to compare and share notes. Sometimes someone would have taped (with the professors permission) the lecture, and we would all listen to it again . . . and again . . . and again.
Often, clarity and understanding came after the last "and again."
In today's scripture, there was little hope that many of the people Jesus was speaking to would understand him. Why? Read the first part of vs. 41.
"And the Jews began to grumble about him . . ."
And Jesus replies in vs. 43, "Stop grumbling among yourselves."
I think Jesus is telling them here, to shut up and listen. Their grumbling was a clear sign that they had stopped listening.
I have a bad habit of wanting to ask questions about things sooner than I should. I don't believe there are stupid questions . . . but I have asked a few questions over the years that I didn't need to, because if I had just listened a bit longer . . . I would have put things together and had better understanding of what was being shared.
Funny thing about asking a question . . . it means you may have stopped listening after the question came to mind.
On most Sunday mornings, I get to hear the sermon at least twice. I take notes at the 8:50 AM service in a composition notebook I carry around with me, or with my iPad. At the 11:15 AM service, I listen again to the sermon, reading my earlier notes as I hear what is being shared.
It amazes me how I take even more notes at the 11:15 AM service!
It is a matter of listening.
Living a Christian life, the definition of which is open to individual interpretation, as or as a a disciple of Christ . . . IS NOT EASY. But clearer understanding, and the accompaning faith, comes when you daily read and meditate on the words of our Savior. I've been reading this section of scripture for over 4 years. Some of it is still difficult. But most everytime I read it . . . I gain a little more understanding. The Bible is meant to be read out loud . . . so we can hear (listen to) the words.
The unfortunate thing in this story . . . is that many of the people in the "crowd" that hung around Jesus decided to leave him during this "lecture." After one hearing, and one hearing alone . . . they decide it's too hard.
Tragic. Yet, at times, haven't we done the same thing at different times in our own lives?
On this Lenten road you are travelling, as you work to make the path straight so that you might come to a wonderful Easter . . . are you spending the time you need . . . listening for as long as it takes??
God's grace still amazes me . . . ><>