Eat and drink what?!?
Unless you eat of my flesh and drink of my blood there is no life in you – Jesus
At the height of Jesus’ popularity, when everything seems to be going right, when the people are ready to crown Jesus and make him king, Jesus seems to drop the ball. Rather than keep the momentum of his movement going, Jesus tells the crowds that if they really want what he has to offer, they must eat of his flesh and drink of his blood. As you might expect, that doesn’t go over all that well. While we have the luxury of jumping ahead to communion and making sense of his rather unappetizing words through that lens, Jesus’ listeners here in John 6 did not have that point of reference. And yet, Jesus doesn’t pull back and Jesus doesn’t try to soften to shocking nature of his claim. Unless you eat and drink of me…you have no life in me. In response, many of Jesus’ disciples leave in droves. From the outside we might call this an EPIC failure and yet, Jesus seems neither deterred nor discouraged by any of this. What do we do when we read something like, “eat my flesh and drink my blood”? How do we allow the original tension of the text to tear through the layers of comfort we’ve built up overtime? Maybe, when we come across a text like this, the best we can do is read it as if we’ve never read it before. And that’s precisely what we’re going to try to do today.