When many of his disciples heard it they said, “This is a hard saying, who can listen to it?” But Jesus (knowing in himself that his disciples were grumbling about this) said to them “Do you take offense at this? Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the Spirit who gives life-the flesh is no help at all…” After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. John 6:60-63a, 66.
This is a chapter of scripture that can be confusing, a number of subjects being woven around. It can be that way at times in the Scriptures. It is a reason to pull things gently apart (unpack them) and find out what is truly meant. Sometimes the Scriptures sound offensive-they can be truly “hard sayings…” And what is shown as the result? Grumbling.
Confession: I am down in the dumps today. Don’t know why, don’t really have any reason, and at the same time I don’t see any way out. What I am doing is putting one foot in front of the other.
With that in mind I am thinking about this and wondering what hard sayings do I grumble about? I am sure I do, you know. We probably all do.
In the above passage, Jesus was explaining that in the Flesh and the Blood salvation is found. Jesus was talking about eating and drinking Flesh and Blood of His. Probably sounded like….well, you know. Set the (general) disciples on edge. “What are you talking about, Jesus?” and then they started talking (grumbling) among themselves about what thy heard.
What is the difference then about these guys and the Berean brothers (Acts 17:10-11) who went off to verify what Paul and Silas were teaching? In a word: Attitude.
These disciples around Jesus perhaps had a different perspective of what they wanted to see/hear as a result. Unlike the Bereans, they only talked about Jesus among themselves and (implied by this scripture reference) did not go and see what was what according to the Scriptures. They didn’t even hang around and hammer out understanding with Jesus. What they did do was to grumble.
Grumbling has a distinct negative taste in the Spirit’s mouth. In a real sense, grumbling is directly questioning God about His doings, but not to God in prayer. Grumbling has to do with talking to each other about God’s working in a negative and questioning way. “I can’t believe God is doing such and such? I thought He was a good God. If it were me I would have thought it would go (this way).”
Grumbling is such an issue with God that in Genesis the sons of Korah grumbled and God opened up the ground and swallowed 5,000 of those guys.
So what now? Am I not allowed to complain? It all comes down to Attitude.
If I take my cares to my Lord, that is good-trusting in His Goodness to answer my plea for understanding. If I moan and groan to others-well, whom am I serving? Answer: myself and, moreover, making exhibition of original sin, rebellion against God.
See the last part of the reference: “The Spirit gives life…the flesh is no help at all.” Hard saying, isn’t it? “Death and life are in the power of the tongue”, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks…”
Today I am in the dumps. Therefore I must draw on my “circuit breakers” to not sin with my mouth or in my attitude.
Father, you can see my insides and outsides. You see my struggles, complaints and, yes, my tendency to grumble. Please strengthen my resolve by You, Holy Spirit not to grumble and complain. Even in my doldrums I want to please You in every respect. Bring light to my eyes and spring to my steps. AMEN.