A Repulsive Religion

Lou Lotz

READ : John 6:60-68

“This teaching is difficult; who can accept it?” (v. 60)

You’ve heard the old saying: “Pastoral Search Committees look for three things in a candidate—preaching, preaching, and preaching.” Churches yearn for someone who can pack the pews. Well, that eliminates Jesus. His preaching repulsed a lot more people than it ever attracted.

“This teaching is difficult; who can accept it?” said the disciples. John says that Jesus’ words about eating his flesh and blood drove people away: “Because of this many of his disciples turned back and no longer went about with him” (v. 66).

Jesus didn’t coax people into the kingdom. His sermons, whether the subject was bread and wine, flesh and blood, money and power, always provoked people to murmur: “This teaching is difficult; who can accept it?” Little wonder Jesus’ most frequent benediction, at the end of his sermons, was: “Will you also go away?”

Jesus is like a magnet. One pole attracts, the other repels. On the one hand: “This is a hard saying.” On the other hand: “Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life” (v. 68).

Churches want to attract people. But do we ever repel anyone? What does it say about a church if nobody ever walks away, murmuring, “This teaching is difficult”?

PRAYER

Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life.