Lenten Devotion for Monday, March 31
By Becky Jungkuntz
Read John 6:60-69
Brownies or broccoli? Which is easier to swallow? A compliment or a correction? What is easier to accept?
There are a lot of words from Jesus that are easy for us to swallow, like John 3:16, for example. But there are other words that, if we are honest, aren’t so immediately appealing. Sometimes the words are confusing and hard to understand. What did Jesus mean about eating his flesh and drinking his blood?
Other times the words are hard to accept. We really don’t help with our salvation? I work hard at being good, following God’s ways. What does Jesus mean, that no one is capable of coming to him on his own?
For those of us who have grown up in the church, we’ve heard some of these Scriptures so often, we don’t really wrestle with them. We “nice-ify” Jesus’ words, tweaking them to fit our own ideas or agendas. Do we let Jesus’ words pierce our hearts and our minds? Do we really wrestle with what He says in His Word?
In our Scripture, some who were following Jesus couldn’t swallow His words. They were offended and turned away. When Jesus asked the twelve if they were also going to leave, Peter makes this amazing statement, “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words of eternal life.”
To be honest, the disciples didn’t really get it either! They didn’t yet fully understand what Jesus was talking about until later when the Holy Spirit enlightened their minds. But … this they did know. They had seen Jesus’ miracles and experienced His love.
Out of that relationship, they were able to say, “Even if we don’t fully understand, we know that no one else’s words bring life and healing. We believe you are the Son of God. So even when your words seem strange or hard, we will follow, we will listen, we will trust you.” May we echo their response!
We pray: Jesus, You alone have the words of eternal life. Help us to accept and swallow all of Your words, Your words of encouragement and Your words of correction. Forgive us for sometimes being picky eaters, only swallowing the words we like. Help us to remember that all of Your words bring us life. Amen.
Kids–can you think of some food your parents have put on your plate and your response was “Yuck! I want something else”? What about some “words” your parents may have said to you that you didn’t like at first? Have you ever discovered later that the food wasn’t as bad as you thought? Or that your parents’ words were actually helpful, even if they were hard to hear at first?
Plate with some healthy food and some sweet treat.