1 Samuel 12:1-25; John 6:53-71; Psalms 107:4-32; Proverbs 23:23
NT: “So Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life in yourselves. The one who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day, because my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. The one who eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven; it is not like the manna your ancestors ate — and they died. The one who eats this bread will live forever.” …Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples were grumbling about this, asked them, “Does this offend you? …The Spirit is the one who gives life. The flesh doesn’t help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.” …From that moment many of his disciples turned back and no longer accompanied him. So Jesus said to the Twelve, “You don’t want to go away too, do you?” Simon Peter answered, “Lord, to whom will we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.”” (John 6:53-58, 61, 63, 66-69 CSB)
Sometimes Jesus says things that are hard for us to hear and accept. Many times, He says things that we don’t want to hear. What do we do when that happens? Do we reject His words and walk away? The Jewish law had strong prohibitions against eating human flesh and drinking blood of any kind. Jesus’ words to the crowd that was following Him was offensive to them. Jesus went on to explain that He wasn’t speaking literally – but was speaking spiritually. He was using the words flesh and blood as an analogy to the life that He would make available to them as He allowed His flesh to be broken and His blood poured out. I personally think Jesus framed his words that way to intentionally offend His followers – for in offending them, He revealed their hearts and their motives. They weren’t following Him because they believed who He was. They were following Him because they hoped He would give them what they wanted… and when the words began to become to hard to accept, they left. I hope that Simon Peter’s response is our response when Jesus calls us to something that is hard to accept: Lord – You have the words of life… You are the Word of Life… where else would we go?
Psalms: “Let them give thanks to the Lord for his faithful love and his wondrous works for all humanity. For he has satisfied the thirsty and filled the hungry with good things… Let them give thanks to the Lord for his faithful love and his wondrous works for all humanity. For he has broken down the bronze gates and cut through the iron bars… Let them give thanks to the Lord for his faithful love and his wondrous works for all humanity. Let them offer thanksgiving sacrifices and announce his works with shouts of joy… Let them give thanks to the Lord for his faithful love and his wondrous works for all humanity. Let them exalt him in the assembly of the people and praise him in the council of the elders.” (Psalms 107:8-9, 15-16, 21-22, 31-32 CSB)
This psalm celebrates the Lord’s redemption of His people. As the introduction of the psalm says, “Let the redeemed of the Lord say so…” The psalmist then begins to detail the various ways that the Lord has been faithful to redeem His people… and at the end of each example, he calls everyone to give thanks to the Lord for his faithful love (checed in Hebrew) and His wondrous works that are for all humanity (not just Israel). Some wander in the desert – lost, with nothing to eat or drink… but the Lord rescues them and leads them to life. He satisfies their hunger and thirst with good things. Some sit in darkness and gloom, chained to their circumstances and oppressed by an enemy they cannot conquer… but the Lord breaks their chains and leads them out of darkness and depression. He breaks down the bronze gates and cuts through the iron bars of oppression and sets them free. Some suffer from endless sickness or affliction… but the Lord sends His word and heals them. Some are faced with enormous adversity that could destroy their lives and bring them to ruin… but the Lord stills the violent storms and calms the crashing waves. He leads them through the challenges and sets them in a place of honor and influence. No matter the situation or circumstance, when we humble ourselves, call upon the Lord, and place our trust completely in Him, He moves on our behalf, because of His faithful love towards us, and redeems us. So give thanks to the Lord.