It was the rockstar point in his ministry. The crowds had been swelling to epic levels. Sick people were being healed. The religious elite were taking notice. This nobody carpenter from a nobody family was suddenly the only person that anybody could talk about.
One dusty day he was teaching on a hillside to thousands. Any ticket promoter would have been proud of this event. No one expected what would happen next: Jesus would miraculously put food in the belly of everyone person gathered on the hillside. The histeria of Jesus that followed was palpable. They were ready to make him king, by force if necessary.
He was the change they had been waiting for. The cough-curing, dead-raising, bread-giving King of their wildest dreams. They were right about the King…but they were wrong about the kingdom.
Jesus came to spread the message that the citizens of the broken kingdom could renounce their passports, and take up full-time residence in the Kingdom that is to Come. This was not the message they wanted, but it’s the one they should have expected. Jesus always meets people where they are, but His next words are always, “Follow Me.” It’s the same thing a fireman says to people in a burning building.
In John 6, Jesus grows frustrated with the people who still think the power struggle is all about the broken, burning kingdom.
In verse 22, He begins speaking to people in a way they didn’t expect. He turns to a crowd of people, most of whom had probably received free bread the day before. People who probably hoped to be at the front of the line for today’s pastry. He told them simply, “Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you.”
Again, not exactly what they expected to hear. He went on to tell them that HE was this bread - not just any bread - but LIVING bread. Then came one of the most shocking statements in all of scripture. Verse 56, “Whoever feeds on my flesh and drink my blood abides in me, and I in him.”
Out of context, these words of Christ could be twisted into a call to cannibalism. This was exactly the excuse that many took to justify walking away. The people who walk away from Jesus will always find a good reason.
The call of Christ is simple (come to me) but not easy (leave everything else behind). That’s what it takes to leave the broken, burning kingdom behind. But it’s worth it…times a billion.