John 6:53-54 So Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.
I would like to speak to you today about the scandal of particularity. That is, I would like to remind you of something you already know, God has very definite ideas about how things ought to be, and also has the power to make them happen. What God does is not politically correct. God does not embrace pluralism, or multiculturalism, or relativism - or any of the other religions of this age. Instead God says things like Be ye perfect, as I theLord your God am perfect; and love your neighbor as yourself. You don't find God saying you have the freedom to do what you please, but some choices may have adverse consequences; instead God says, thou shallt not kill, thou shallt not commit adultery, thou shallt not steal, thou shallt not bear false witness, thou shallt not covet. God says these things because he is creator of all and lord of all, and has the right to say such things.
Its not a new thing - it began at creation, for God created only good things - nothing bad, nothing only average, but only good things. Its not a new thing, for we have learned the scripture that doesn't say - everyone who lives a good life will go to heaven - it says, there is only one name given under heaven by which we must be saved. What is that name in which there is salvation? Jesus, only Jesus.
We see the particularity of God in our Gospel lesson wrapped up in the word unless - you don't have life unless you eat the flesh and drink the blood, this is an exclusive claim, and that's why the world considers it scandalous. Its not the only scandalous thing in this gospel, earlier it had said unless you are born again, you cannot enter the kingdom of God. Somewhat later this gospel will also say, As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.
How can you be born again? That's what baptism is all about, by water and the word God makes us a new creation. How do we continue in the new creation? We need good nutrition, something that feeds and sustains our souls - the body and blood of Jesus given for the forgiveness of our sins. And its not enough that we just do this once, we must keep on doing it, so we abide in Jesus, and are nourished by the rich grace that comes in word and sacraments.
And its not enough that we just know these things, it is also necessary that we teach this, to our children, and to the world - because God wants all men to be saved, and for them to be saved, they must hear, and believe. And how can they hear, if no one ever teaches?
And so the scriptures say, Fathers, bring up your children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. And here is the great mystery, for this is the chief business of the church, for the church is here to teach the way of salvation by grace though faith in Christ, and to train us for holy living. The mission of the church is the same as the purpose of the Bible. And even though we have a command of God to do this thing, it is not a burden, for it is also something we do in love. For we want our children to know the peace of God. We want our children to know about the forgiveness of sins. We want our children to know about life everlasting. We want our children to know Jesus our savior.
For the life, truth and salvation we have in Jesus Christ is not just for us, for we also know that God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life.