Jesus or Tradition

In John 6:52-71, Jesus taught some concepts that were and are hard to comprehend. However, Jesus always declares the truth even when it offends those who have chosen to associate with him. Therefore it is important for us to examine what or whom we follow. The disciples of Jesus (a group broader than the twelve) mentioned in John chapter 6 thought that they followed Jesus, but Jesus’ teaching about eating his flesh and drinking his blood offended their theology. Their reaction revealed that they didn’t follow Jesus, rather they followed the doctrines they had been taught about the Messiah. As soon as Jesus didn’t fit their understanding they left him. Jesus always spoke and speaks the truth, but we don’t always have a complete or even accurate view of the truth. Our doctrines and theology should always be considered theories more than dogma. We may believe that we follow what Scripture teaches, but in fact we may be following what we have been taught and interpreted Scripture to say. Jesus confronted Peter in Acts 10 about what he thought Scripture taught, but in fact Peter was mistaken. Jesus revealed to Peter that he was to eat that which he previously considered unclean. Peter was to be open to associating with and declaring the message of Jesus to the Gentiles, who were previously considered unclean by Peter. The fact that Peter accepted Jesus’ teaching is to his credit. When the opportunity arose, he went and declared God’s forgiveness through Jesus to the Gentile Cornelius, even though later he was criticized for it by other Christians.

Jesus’ words and warning in John 6 along with Peter’s example in Acts 10 teaches us that we should not consider our current understanding of Jesus to be complete or even completely accurate. We must always be open to correction and further growth. Our study of Scripture is not for the purpose of proving what we currently believe is right, but rather to understand what God wants and to evaluate where we still need better understanding and growth.

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