Daily Readings in John – Day Twenty-Two
October 27, 2017
John 6:60-71 (NRSV)
60 When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This teaching is difficult; who can accept it?” 61 But Jesus, being aware that his disciples were complaining about it, said to them, “Does this offend you? 62 Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? 63 It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. 64 But among you there are some who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the first who were the ones that did not believe, and who was the one that would betray him. 65 And he said, “For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted by the Father.”
66 Because of this many of his disciples turned back and no longer went about with him. 67 So Jesus asked the twelve, “Do you also wish to go away?” 68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.” 70 Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the twelve? Yet one of you is a devil.” 71 He was speaking of Judas son of Simon Iscariot, for he, though one of the twelve, was going to betray him.
Last night, I met with a group of friends to talk about our experience with this spiritual practice called Immanuel prayer. Immanuel means “God with us” and this form of prayer is a means to experiencing Jesus present to us as the life-giving one from God that John calls him over and over again.
One thing we talked about was how to consider when we pray whether we’re experiencing the real Jesus or “false Jesus” – a projection of a culturally ingrained or religiously taught Jesus that isn’t the good news, life-giving person of God in the world that Jesus is.
This passage gives us some interesting data on what it might feel like when we meet the real Jesus.
Does he offend?
I don’t mean to imply that Jesus will role into our imaginations like a self-centered jerk; we all know what that kind of offense looks like.
What I mean is that Jesus teaches difficult things. He is love and life and truth but also upends our settled, gloomy reality when he’s around. Kind and gracious as he is, he brings perspective and direction and power we weren’t expecting.
But the effect of this again and again is life. So much life that we never want to go away.