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John 6:22-71; Mark 7:1-8:21; & Matthew 15:1-16:12


Combining two days’ worth of reading with some spot reactions:

John 6:44 | How’re we supposed to take Jesus’ statement that no one can come to Him unless drawn by the Father?  I can see a broad interpretation by which Jesus is saying that holiness comes through God.  This would be to correct the Pharisees who congratulate themselves too much for pursuing holiness on their own.  But that doesn’t fit the context.  What is the role of God in drawing us to Him?  Are there people He doesn’t draw?

John 6:52 | The ESV folks use this passage to explain what the elements Communion signify.  We know that we eat the bread and drink the wine because they are (or represent; no need to launch a reprisal of the 16th century transubstantiation battles) the body and blood of Christ.  But to break it down further, partaking of the body of Christ is to accept His life, specifically His ministry and His teaching.  By eating the bread, then, we acknowledge His divinity and the truth of the gospel message.  Partaking of the blood of Christ, we’re entering into His death and resurrection.  So by drinking the wine (or grape juice!), we remember the work of redemption and atonement that have bound us to God despite our sin.

Mark 7:19 | Jesus many times addresses that it’s not what we put in our bodies that make us clean but what comes out.  I’ve always wondered how we know which Old Testaments commandments are defunct (for lack of a better term) and which we’re still supposed to follow.  But in one fell swoop, Jesus repeals the multitude of dietary restrictions in Mosaic Law.  The ritual commandments were meant to educate people on the unbridgeable chasm that exists between them and God because of their sin.  But now that Jesus has come and removed those sins, bridging that chasm, the ritual commandments are no longer needed as an education tool.  It would seem, then, that the commandments which remain are those which are contained in the Greatest Commandment as articulated by Jesus: loving God and loving others.

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