13th Sunday After Pentecost – August 19, 2018

“No Other Words Like His!” – John 6:60-69
13 th Sunday After Pentecost – August 19, 2018

1. “This is a hard teaching.” (v. 60)
a. Ripley’s Believe it or Not
Have you read stories from Ripley’s Believe It Or Not? Here’s one… It told about a man named
Miles Lucas who was driving from New York to New Jersey when his car hit another vehicle.
The door opened and he fell out into the road. His car, however, continued to weave along the
road until it crashed through a fence and into a cemetery. When Miles Lucas went looking for his
car, he found that it had come to rest on a tombstone with the name… Miles Lucas written on it.
That story is pretty hard to believe, isn’t it? That’s the way it is with many of the Believe It Or
Not stories, but it seems the more unbelievable they are, the more people tend to believe that it
just may have happened that way.
b. Hard teachings of the Bible
A woman who had been a sick and shut-in member of the congregation for some time came to
church rather unexpectedly one Sunday. After the service she shook the pastor’s hand and
exclaimed, in almost a boasting manner, “I had to take two pain pills in order to come and listen
to you preach today.” I don’t know if it’s hard for you to listen to me preach… maybe you all
take pain pills before you come here on Sunday mornings. Sometimes Jesus’ preaching and the
Bible’s teachings were a real pain to people. The Gospels record more than once that the
Pharisees knew that in some of His parables Jesus was scolding them. The rich young man in
Matthew 19 asked Jesus about getting eternal life but went away sad because Jesus told him to
get rid of his possessions.
Some of the Bible’s teachings are still a pain, a stumbling block, to people today. How many
people, when they are presented with the scientific evidence… proofs… of a Big Bang creation
and evolution, regard as completely unbelievable the 6-day creation account from the Bible??
Did a flood really cover the entire earth? People are suspicious of Jonah’s survival inside a whale
for 3 days. Others struggle with the intent of Jesus’ directive to turn the other cheek, to walk the
second mile, and to love not just your neighbours, but also your enemies. In our ‘seeing is
believing’ world, many doubt the possibility, let alone the reality of life after death. Still others
can’t wrap their minds around the fact that Mary was a virgin when she gave birth to Jesus, or
the Bible verse which says we are saved by grace, not works… they think they have to please
God in some way – good works, big offerings, holy living – in order to end up in heaven.
Yes, there are lots of hard teachings in the Bible, and from the lips of Jesus. Our Gospel lesson
from John 6 refers to one today. The hard teaching, however, was from the preceding verses
where Jesus said, “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise
him up at the last day.” When the people affirmed that it was a hard teaching, Jesus asked if it

offended them. He knew that the whole image did indeed offend some of them. They perhaps
were reminded of cannibalism – of thriving on someone’s body and blood – and they thought it
was gross. We may be conditioned in our church to a good and proper understanding of the
Lord’s Supper, but if we really thought about it we might agree that it is rather repulsive and
offensive. The people of Jesus’ day asked, “You expect us to believe what you said?? Who can
accept that?” And we might well chime in… “Yea, that is hard to believe!”
2. “Who can accept it?” (v. 60)
a. Those who hear it as God’s Word
So, who can accept this hard teaching of Jesus about His flesh and blood, and the other hard
teachings of the Bible? First of all, those who hear those teachings as God’s Word can accept
them. If you look at this book – the Bible – and say that it is just like any other book you find in
the library, then you may have trouble accepting and believing these difficult teachings and
stories. If you believe that a man wrote this book – actually a collection of men – then your
opinion of it will be casual and matter-of-fact. If you think this book has mistakes, errors,
inaccuracies and contradictions, then you will doubt the credibility of those stories that seem
rather far-fetched.
However, if you understand this book to be God’s book it’s a completely different story. If you
count this book as being inerrant and infallible, then even though teachings may be hard you
know they are right. If you believe that God is the author of this book, and that He inspired
Godly men to write precisely what He wanted, then its words and message carry an entirely
distinct and divine authority. If you profess this to be God’s Word, then it merits the adjective
‘holy’ in front of Bible.
Who can accept Jesus’ hard teachings? Those who believe this to be God’s book can! Yes, and
even though those words and teachings of Jesus may be hard to swallow, there are no other
words like His! When you accept God as the author of the Bible, there is no need to take two
pain pills before you crack open the cover or before you listen to it being read. When we
encounter a hard teaching – like the flood, or Jonah, or life after death, or Jesus’ body in bread
and His blood in wine – we may have to let go of our reason to some degree and trust God, His
ways, His thoughts, His wisdom. “God, you said it… I believe it!”
b. Those to whom the Spirit gives life / faith
Who can accept Jesus’ hard teachings? The second answer is those to whom the Spirit gives life
and faith. This is what Jesus said… “The Spirit gives life.” I don’t think He was meaning
physical life and existence… that we usually relegate to the realm of God the Father, the creator.
The kind of life the Spirit gives is spiritual life – faith. In our sinful human nature, we are blind,
lost, and dead spiritually. A woman who is blind cannot restore her own sight. A child who is
lost cannot un-lose himself. A man who is dead cannot regain his life. It takes someone from the
outside to effect a positive and helpful change in each of these three cases. In the same way
spiritually, we cannot undo the pitiable situation we are in. It takes someone from the outside to
effect a life-giving change for us. That’s the work of the Holy Spirit.
Martin Luther put it this way: “I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in
Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel…” You

see, when the Holy Spirit brings us into a faith relationship with Jesus Christ as our Lord and our
Saviour from sin, then we can accept His teachings no matter how hard they may be. We may
not understand eating Jesus’ body and drinking His blood, we may not like loving our enemies,
we may not rationally comprehend life after death, we may not humanly agree with being saved
by grace, for free, as a gift from God, but when the Holy Spirit has worked faith in our hearts we
say, “You’re right, Lord… you always are!” You see, there are no other words like His!
3. “You have the words…” (v. 68)
a. Words of truth
And that’s exactly what Peter said. Some people had turned from following Jesus precisely
because of this hard teaching about eating His body and drinking His blood. Jesus asked the
Twelve – the closest disciples – if they had had enough of His radical teachings, too… if they
wanted to leave Him. Peter – always the spokesman, it seemed – answered (did he sing it??):
“[Alleluia!] Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. [Alleluia, alleluia!]”
“There are no others words like yours, Jesus. Who else would we follow?”
Have you ever considered leaving Jesus and His Church?? Have you ever entertained the notion
to follow another person, another philosophy, another way of life?? Have you ever thought it
would be nice just to get away from the Church – you could use your offerings for other
pleasures, you could sleep in on Sunday mornings, you would be free of involvements and
meetings and responsibilities. You could choose who or what to follow – the teaching of
Confucious, Communism, the Horoscope. But how would you choose? Who would you choose?
Would that path be any better?
I can tell you right now that no other words, no other way, no other path can be compared to
Jesus. That’s because Jesus’ words and God’s Word are truth. The truth has been borne out in
history. Perhaps you heard in the news this week about two historical discoveries – the temple of
the Queen of Sheba, who is mentioned in the Bible, and the pieces of wood at the bottom of the
Black Sea, possibly remnants from Noah’s Ark. These things contribute to the truth of God’s
Word. Everything that God promised has come true. Because God has a reputation of being
truthful, we can trust everything that He says and promises.
b. Words of life
There are also no other words like Jesus’ words, because they are words of life. Jesus had said,
“The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life.” Peter agreed, “You have the words
of eternal life.” The words Jesus spoke are life-giving words. Do you remember what Jesus said
to the Samaritan woman at the well? “Whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst.
Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
Jesus’ words are like a refreshing drink of water to a parched and thirsting soul. They are words
of life.
Do you remember what Jesus said to Martha when her brother Lazarus had died? “I am the
resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies.” Jesus’ words,
and His actions and His power bring a person through death to life. They are words of life.

Do you remember what Jesus said on the cross? “Father, forgive them…” and “It is finished!”
There are no other words like those ones, for they are words of life, they bring us the forgiveness
of our sins, without which we would die forever, eternally separated from God. When Jesus said
“It is finished,” the payment for our sins was complete. He took them all upon Himself, as it says
in Isaiah 53: “He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the
punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed.” Life, not
death, is now our hope. Heaven, rather than hell, will be our post-death destination. Because
Jesus died, and because He spoke words of forgiveness we are alive, and through faith in His
death and resurrection we will be alive forever. No other words, no other actions can accomplish
that. The heart-felt, knee-bent words of a young man may prompt a young woman to accept a
ring, the apparently true and passionate pleas and promises of a politician may convince a voter
to mark an ‘X’, but the words of no other person can give life as Jesus’ words can and do.
You know, one day I may be driving along the highway from Port Coquitlam to Calgary when
my car hits another vehicle. I may fall out, while my car continues until it veers into a cemetery
and stops at a tombstone. When I come to my senses, and go find my car, I’ll be surprised to find
my name on the tombstone. I’ll know it’s really me – not because I have such a unique name, but
because the saying I chose for myself appears on the tombstone: “In Christ he lived. In Christ he
died. In Christ he lives.” And a voice beside me will say, “Come on, let’s go home.” And I’ll
turn and look at Jesus who walked with me from the road to the tombstone, and I’ll think…
“There are no other words like His!” and I’ll agree, “Yea, let’s go home.” Amen.

Klemtu – remote / on the fringe (over 500 km.), hidden (can’t see it), detached (only one ferry a
week, no license plates, no insurance!), inter-related (only 4 main families). It’s like a different
country. It IS a different culture (like the cultures of our neighbours who have moved here from
Korea, China, India or the Middle East – different but wonderful smells coming from their
kitchens, different languages spoken in their homes, different ways to express love in their
families, different activities that they engage in… but all people that God has created!).
Unhealthy / messy lives / spirituality – but then we all do! In our own ways, we all live on the
fringe of a relationship with Jesus. Pride, gluttony, lust, greed, envy, sloth (laziness), wrath. Add
to that self-centeredness,

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