In John 6:53-71 Jesus was still in the synagogue in Capernaum as he explained that it is through his body and blood that we shall receive eternal life.
However, it is not simply by acknowledging his body and blood as our atoning sacrifice that we are saved. We must eat the flesh and drink the blood.
To be honest, I am a literal person so reading these verses is a bit strange, but Jesus is not being literal. He is telling us we must eat and drink because it is a metaphor for accepting his gift of eternal life. We cannot earn it on our own, but if we accept the flesh and blood of Christ’s sacrifice, which he freely offers, then, and only then, will we have eternal life.
At this point, Jesus had many disciples and they began to grumble because they couldn’t accept his message, and Jesus lost many that day. Many of them had been following him but did not truly believe. Jesus knew this from the beginning which is why he reminded them, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father” (John 6:65).
As Jesus preached this message in the synagogue it was hard for the listeners to accept it. He was not preaching a “feel good” sermon, he was preaching the uncomfortable truth.
Even today, many appear to follow Jesus, but if confronted by the truth of the Gospel they would turn away as well. Churches, where the messages are meant to make people feel good or fill them with false promises of prosperity, are doing a disservice to those who come because we are not necessarily teaching them the truth of the Gospel. Instead, they are spewing a narrative that does not align with what is taught throughout scripture.
David Guzik explains: “It’s important to do as Jesus did, and to not encourage others to follow Jesus for material and temporal motives, promoting Jesus simply something to add to make a better life. Of those who come in such ways, it may be revealed that it was never been granted to him by My Father to follow after Jesus.”
Without being called by God, we cannot follow after Jesus. Not because of some elitist club, but because in our sin, without being called by God we will not see our need for Christ’s sacrifice. It is by the grace of God and the moving of the Holy Spirit that we realize our need for a savior.