Today's Gospel passage is the final dispute about what Jesus told the crowd "If you do not eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you will not have life in you v.53. This saying is challenging for all who heard it, both the crowd and his disciples. Jesus backed up not what he had said but rather reconfirmed what he had taught and also said you might see something more shocking.
What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? v.62
He made his hearers to make choices. To change or not to change; to accept or not to accept. Jesus wasn't after popularity and the crowd had no influence on him. Jesus challenged the Twelve and asked: What about you, do you want to go away too?'. Both the disciples who left Jesus and the disciples who stayed made choices but they understood what Jesus taught. Apart from grumbling and murmuring we knew nothing else were in their minds but those who chose to stay, Peter on behalf of the Twelve gave an amazing response. To whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God" vs.68-69
Peter meant they had found no one who had offered what would quench their hunger and thirst. They followed Jesus even though they vaguely understood his teaching but they loved him and placed their trust in him and intended to remain with him. Peter gave several reasons for them to believe. First they believed that no one had anything better to offer than Jesus. Second, Jesus had the words of eternal life. Third, Jesus was the Holy One and fourth Jesus came from God. Peter's statement of faith was very much echoed the challenging addressed Joshua gave it to his people.
Decide today whom you will serve,
the gods your fathers served beyond the River
or the gods of the Amorites in whose country you are now dwelling.
As for me and my household, we will serve the LORD." Jos. 24,15
Both the believers and unbelievers were hungry or thirsty for eternal life but when found the One who offered it, some accepted, others refused. The ones who left Jesus were vocal and unhappy. They refused to adopt to a new way of life but preferred to keep the former way of life. They strictly observed the Mosaic law and continued searching. Those who welcomed Jesus remained with him and continued to be reformed by him and were happy. They were not vocal but asking for clarification to learn more from Jesus and welcomed the radical change with great joy. They respected the traditions of their ancestors but would love to hear from Jesus his new interpretation of the Mosaic law.
To follow Jesus means to allow him to take control of our lives; being led by him and make God's will is the first priority in life. It means to put aside my own will and wants in favouring of God's. It involves to worshipping God and caring for the needy. Surrender of one's own will is a great challenge for us all; especially when unpopular events are placed before us to endure. We pray for the wisdom that we are not master of our lives but God.