Daily D – John 6:60
Many of his disciples said, “This is very hard to understand. How can anyone accept it?” JOHN 6:60 (NLT)
A student has had a hard semester. In this most unusual of semesters, his has been harder than most. His family circumstances have made it difficult for him to complete all of his assignments. Grace has been extended again and again. The research paper due over a week ago has not yet been completed. Again he has appealed for grace. Actually, he simply complained that it was hard. There was no real call to action on my part.
How would you handle this situation?
Because this is such an unusual time, I am willing to give this student all the time he needs right up until the end of the semester which is hours away now. He still has weekly assignments due and a final exam. The one thing I cannot do is give passing grades for assignments he does not complete. He has to make an effort.
Some people choose not to do the hard work life requires for successful outcomes. They discover that taking the easy way isn’t the easy way, but they keep looking for shortcuts to success. There aren’t any.
Jesus had some students who complained that his teaching was too hard. It required deep thought and lifestyle adjustments. It was more than rituals and routines. It involved deep and abiding relationship. It’s a lot easier to worship a god you only have to visit once a week or so. The challenge of inviting Jesus into every moment, every thought, every decision is daunting. It is transformative.
Some people do not want transformation. They want information. They want personal fulfillment. They want an EASY button. They want to wear a cross around their necks. They want a good luck charm for their pockets. They want an idol whose head they can rub. They want a ritual that makes them feel like they have achieved something meaningful. They do not want Jesus asking all his questions and helping them look at things differently all the time.
When Jesus spoke the gospel truth in this chapter, it was a turning point. Most people turned away. Jesus even gave his closest disciples, the ones we call apostles, an opportunity to join the crowd in looking for another messiah.
Then Jesus turned to the Twelve and asked, “Are you also going to leave?”
Peter, unsurprisingly, spoke up.
“Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words that give eternal life. We believe, and we know you are the Holy One of God.”
vv. 68, 69
Peter and the gang decided Jesus had all the answers and that they better stick with him if they were going to pass the test. Judas failed. He gave up. It was just too hard. Peter did receive an Incomplete and had to return for oral arguments before he was allowed to lead on. However, he passed even though he tried to compare scores with the Teacher’s Pet.
People love butterflies. However, they do not like admitting that really, deep inside, they are worms. Cocoons seem so stifling. They want the freedom of flight without the transformation the darkness and waiting bring. Discomfort is so uncomfortable.
We need more butterflies. We need people who prefer the daily work of transformation to EASY button answers to life’s most meaningful questions.
I will choose the path of transformation.
Our Father, I will read the books. I will write the papers. I will finish my assignments. I will take the exams. I want to live a better-than-average life. I do not want to pass by the skin of my teeth. I want to succeed meaningfully. I cannot do this on my own. I invite you into every thought, every decision, every moment of every day. Please do not let me finish as a worm. Please do not let me get stuck in the dark places. Please transform me into all you ever dreamed I would become. Then others will see how good and gracious you are. Amen.
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Deuteronomy 8:12-18 When you eat and are full, and build beautiful houses to live in, and your herds and flocks grow large, and your silver and gold multiply, and everything else you have increases, be careful that your heart doesn’t become proud and you forget the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the place of slavery. He led you through the great and terrible wilderness with its poisonous snakes and scorpions, a thirsty land where there was no water. He brought water out of the flint rock for you. He fed you in the wilderness with manna, which your ancestors had not known, in order to humble and test you, so that in the end he might cause you to prosper. You may say to yourself, ‘My power and my own ability have gained this wealth for me,’ but remember that the Lord your God gives you the power to gain wealth, in order to confirm his covenant he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.
Deuteronomy 6:4-9 “Listen, Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them be a symbol on your forehead. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your city gates.“
Deuteronomy 1:2, 3 It is an eleven-day journey from Horeb to Kadesh-barnea by way of Mount Seir. In the fortieth year, in the eleventh month, on the first of the month, Moses told the Israelites everything the Lord had commanded him to say to them.