The Good News for the day, April 21, 2018
Saturday in the Third Week of Easter (278)
Many of the followers of Jesus who were listening complained, “What he is saying is hard! Who can agree to it? “Since Jesus knew His followers were murmuring about this, He shot back, “Does this shock you? What if you were to see This Human Child going back to where he was before? It is the spirit that comes into you that gives life, while mortal flesh is useless. The message I have said to you consists of spirit and life. There are some of you, though, who do not have faith in it.” (Jesus knew from the beginning the ones who would not believe and the one who would betray him.) He said, too: “It is for this reason I have told you that nobody can come to me unless it is a gift granted to that person by my Father. ” As a result of this conversation, many of his disciples went on back to their former way of life and no longer walked His way. Jesus then addressed the Twelve, “Do you want to go, too?” Simon Peter answered, “Sir, to whom would we go? You have the words of permanent life. We have come to believe in you; we are convinced that you are someone uniquely special to God.” (John 6)
Several times in the Gospels, Simon Peter “confesses” his belief in the distinctiveness of Jesus—as Messiah there—and here as the Holy One (“someone uniquely special”).
Followers were leaving Jesus because of what he was telling them—to “absorb” him, to change their lives into his way.
What he was NOT doing was fulfilling their hope for a “strong leader,” a military or political strong man who would free them from Rome, lead them to superiority over enemies, and show himself as a powerful cult figure. He spoke of a “spirit’—an attitude or outlook of humility and service. He advocated not crushing enemies but forgiving them. He spoke of a Life beyond this one, of an aliveness beyond death, flesh and boredom. He did not speak of heroism and courage in battle; he did not encourage rising against oppressors—but of allowing the Creator—your Father in the Other World—to lift you from merely existing, from merely earning daily bread.
His message is one that some people awaken to—and others do not. It is a gift—as Jesus says. Some people live their lives dead—mastered by hostility and fear, loneliness and hunger, emptiness and denial.
It is a moment—or slow growth—that gives you faith like Simon Peter’s—to see Jesus “out there” as “sacred”—meaning His message is so different from everything else, from all the drudgery mechanical and humdrum—it becomes THE liberating discovery of your life—and changes everything! You Wake Up! You Are Alive!