"Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this, said, 'This is a hard saying; who can understand it?' When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples complained about this, He said to them, 'Does this offend you? What then if you should see the Son of Man ascend where He was before? It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. But there are some of you who do not believe.' For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe and who would betray Him. And He said, 'Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father.'" John 6:60-65
Many stumble over the person and work of Jesus. They cannot understand and believe that Jesus is the eternal Son of God, who came into this world a true man to give life to lost sinners by fulfilling all righteousness in their stead and paying the just penalty for their sins by going to the cross and suffering and dying for the sins of the world. They cannot bring themselves to believe that, through means of partaking of Jesus and His sacrifice for sin in faith, they can have pardon, forgiveness, and life eternal. Thus, they turn away from Jesus in unbelief.
As Jesus said when many of His followers stumbled over the truth that He is God the Son and gives life to those who trust in Him and His atoning sacrifice, what would they think if they saw Him ascend to God the Father in glory? Jesus added, "It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life."
Unless the Spirit of God opens our minds to understand and believe the Scriptures, we are unable to grasp the truth Jesus expressed in His words. We are unable to accept and believe the fact that Jesus is the only-begotten Son of God who came into this world to redeem us from sin and death and give us eternal life in communion with God the Father. Apart from the gracious work of the Holy Spirit through God's Word, Jesus' words remain veiled and unbelievable to us, and we turn away from Him in unbelief.
Jesus said His words are spirit and life. Only those to whom it is given by the Father to believe can grasp the truth of Jesus' words and come to know and trust in Him for life and salvation.
Many who followed Jesus because of His mighty works could not accept His words and turned away from Him in unbelief. So also today, many who claim to follow Jesus stumble over the truth of His words and fail to trust in Him for pardon and forgiveness. They do not partake of Jesus and His atoning sacrifice in faith and forfeit the life and eternal salvation He offers and gives to those who trust in Him.
May God grant You His Spirit and open your eyes and ears to see Jesus for who He is and to trust in Him and His cross for life and salvation.
Open our eyes, O God, that we may see Jesus for who He is and place our trust in Him as Your Son and our Savior from sin and death. We pray in His name. Amen.
[Scripture is taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Devotion is by Randy Moll. He may be contacted by email at [email protected]. More of Moll's devotional writings are freely available at https://mercifulsaviorlutheran.net. Opinions expressed are those of the author.]