Week 15: The Hard Sayings Of Jesus

At one point in His ministry, people were so turned off by Jesus’ teaching that they said, ‘This is a hard saying; Who can accept it?’ (John 6:60) and they deserted Him in droves.
Sometimes Jesus said things that were obscure; they were difficult to understand. Other times He said things that were challenging and difficult to obey. We’ll be covering some from both categories:

  • ‘Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life.’
  • ‘Whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of an eternal sin.’
  • ‘You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.’
  • ‘This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you
    forgive your brother from your heart.’
  • ‘If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.’

43 thoughts on “Week 15: The Hard Sayings Of Jesus”

  1. If you are intrigued by this line of study, Hard Sayings of Jesus by FF Bruce (IVP) covers seventy of the most challenging statements that Jesus ever made.
    But for now, five will do, so let’s get going.

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    1. v27: Don’t work for the food that spoils. Work for the food that stays good always and gives eternal life. The Son of Man will give you this food, because on Him God the Father has put His power.

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    2. vv37-40: The Father gives me the people who are mine. Every one of them will come to me, and I will always accept them. I came down from heaven to do what God wants me to do, not what I want to do. Here is what the One who sent me wants me to do: I must not lose even one whom God gave me, but I must raise them all on the last day. Those who see the Son and believe in Him have eternal life, and I will raise them on the last day. This is what my Father wants.

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    3. vv 48-51: I am the bread that gives life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but still they died. Here is the bread that comes down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will never die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give up so that the world may have life.

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    4. vv53-56: Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, you must eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood. Otherwise, you won’t have real life in you. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day. My flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood live in me, and I live in them.”

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      1. From Essential Jesus Day 71: To understand Jesus’ statement fully we must step back and look at the context. Jesus has just finished miraculously feeding thousands of people John 6:1-15. Unfortunately, no one seems to understand the miracle (v26). Most thought Jesus just liked giving away free food. Pretty cool. But Jesus fed the people to demonstrate that He was the source of eternal life (v27). From this point on in the dialogue, though Jesus and His listeners are on two separate tracks: they are thinking of worldly realities (food) while He is thinking of spiritual realities (eternal life)’.

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      2. From Essential Jesus Day 71: Jesus is not talking about physically eating His flesh and drinking His blood. Rather, he’s talking about the spiritual union that He has with His followers.Those who truly put their faith.and trust in Jesus are united with God (v57) and receive eternal life (v40).

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      3. From Essential Jesus Day 71: Unfortunately, the more Jesus explains, the more divergent the separate tracks become. His listeners are looking backwards to manna in the desert. Jesus is looking forward to what He would do on the Cross.

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    5. From Essential Jesus Day 71: In our time we have an opportunity to ponder this spiritual truth whenever we have Communion. The bread and wine are reminders of Jesus’ sacrifice for us.
      Grant us therefore, gracious Lord,
      so to eat the flesh of your dear Son Jesus Christ
      and to drink His blood,
      that our sinful bodies may be made clean by His body
      and our souls washed through His most precious blood,
      and that we may evermore dwell in Him, and He in us.

      Common Worship

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    1. From Essential Jesus Day 72: Jesus’ comment was a sharp rebuke to the religious leaders who were accusing him of being demon possessed. (v30). The leaders had become frustrated with Jesus; He had been teaching, healing and attracting big crowds (v20). The Pharisees got so jealous they were willing to take extreme measures to protect their turf (v6). That’s why they accused Jesus of being demon-possessed (v22); they wanted to discredit him in the eyes of the public.

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    2. From Essential Jesus Day 72: By equating the work of the
      Holy Spirit with demon possession, says Jesus, the religious leaders were moving 180 degrees away from God. As long as they persisted in that direction, they could not be forgiven. The truth is, the ‘unforgivable sin’ is not some secret deed you can unwittingly commit; Jesus made it clear that He loved to forgive sinners (Luke 15:11-32). Rather, it is an ongoing refusal to accept what Jesus freely offers that prevents us from being forgiven.

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    3. From Essential Jesus Day 72: Spend a few minutes confessing your sins to God. Then thank Him for the forgiveness, love and acceptance He offers through a relationship with His Son.

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    1. v12: I tell you the truth, whoever believes in me will do the same things that I do. Those who believe will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.

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    2. vv 13, 14: if you ask for anything in my name, I will do it for you so that the Father’s glory will be shown through the Son. If you ask me for anything in my name, I will do it.

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    3. From Essential Jesus Day 73: But the key to unlocking the mystery of Jesus’ ‘prayer guarantee’ lies in two phrases that are easy to overlook. The first is ‘in my name’. When we pray, we should ask for things that are consistent with what Jesus taught and did.That narrows down my prayer list.The second is ‘bring glory to the Father’. When we pray our focus should be on things that help more people understand who God really is. Those are the kind of prayers that get results.

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    1. v 15: If your fellow believer sins against you, go and tell him in private what he did wrong. If he listens to you, you have helped that person to be your brother or sister again.

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      1. From Essential Jesus Day 74: Jesus begins by explaining a very practical method for resolving conflict (vv 15-20). First, talk to the person… privately; then go with others; and then involve the church. As a last resort, the relationship must be put on hold, remembering that Jesus was always willing to accept sinners who repented.

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      1. From Essential Jesus Day 74: In response to Jesus’ forgiveness formula, Peter asks a question (v 21) that might be put something like this: ‘Lord, when is it okay to hate my brother and get revenge?’ What Peter is fishing for is a time limit on when he can stop forgiving. I can just imagine Jesus shaking his head and chuckling, ‘You know, Peter, if you have to ask how many times you should forgive, you just don’t get it.’ When we really come to understand how much God has forgiven us, there’s no question: We must always be willing to forgive those who offend us.

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      1. From Essential Jesus Day 74: But all that sets up one of the most challenging statements Jesus ever made (v 35). Could it really be that God gets angry with us if we don’t forgive? Apparently so. Those who have been forgiven a large debt should be the most generous towards others. That’s the whole point of the parable (vv 23-34). What Jesus is saying is that our Heavenly Father is serious about forgiveness and we must be too.

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    2. From Essential Jesus Day 74: Bring to mind one person with whom you have a broken or strained relationship. Ask God to show you what He wants you to do in order to make things better.

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  2. vv 19, 20: “Also, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about something and pray for it, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. This is true because if two or three people come together in my name, I am there with them.”

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    1. Mark 8:34-6: “If people want to follow me, they must give up the things they want. They must be willing even to give up their lives to follow me. Those who want to save their lives will give up true life. But those who give up their lives for me and for the Good News will have true life. It is worthless to have the whole world if they lose their souls.”

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      1. From the Essential Jesus book Day 75: For Jesus, taking up His cross was not just a coping mechanism. It was a symbol of all-out obedience to His Father’s will. He was on His way to die.

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      2. From the Essential Jesus book Day 75: That’s part of what Jesus meant by saying, ‘Follow me’. Jesus gave up His rights as the Son of God to die for the sins of the world. For us, following Jesus will mean that the focus of our lives will no longer be the pursuit of happiness. Rather it will be to draw closer to Jesus and to become more single-minded about sharing Him with others by our words and actions (v 35). We must die to our own agenda and live for Jesus’ agenda.

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    2. From the Essential Jesus book Day 75: Father, I find it so easy to focus on the things of this world and so difficult to focus on the things that matter most to you. Please help me to live with your priorities
      today.

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  3. From Essential Jesus Day 75: Of all the things Jesus said (both those mentioned in this section and others you may have read in the Gospels), which are the most difficult for you to understand? To obey? Why?

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