Then Jesus, knowing intuitively that his disciples were complaining about what he had just said, went on, “Is this too much for you? Then what would happen if you were to see the Son of Man going up to the place where he was before? It is the Spirit which gives life. The flesh will not help you. The things which I have told you are spiritual and are life. But some of you will not believe me.”
For Jesus knew from the beginning which of his followers did not trust him and who was the man who would betray him. Then he added, “This is why I said to you, ‘No one can come to me unless my Father puts it into his heart to come.’”
As a consequence of this, many of his disciples withdrew and no longer followed him. (John 6:61-66)
It’s important to note that this whole epilogue to John 6 is addressed specifically to actual disciples of His, not just some curious crowd. It is to us, in essence, that He turns His eyes and says these words:
“Is this too much for you? Then what would happen if you were to see the Son of Man going up to the place where he was before? It is the Spirit which gives life. The flesh will not help you. The things which I have told you are spiritual and are life. But some of you will not believe me.”
Friends, you and I must believe Him. We must ever want more, never less, of the presence of the Living One. May our hearts come to know and experience that yearning that eventually overtook the heart of the Apostle Paul: “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith -- that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.” (Philippians 3)
Yet to know “the power of his resurrection,” to be able to grasp – as Jesus mentions – the glory of His Ascension, we cannot lean upon our own understanding, our flesh, for, again, they will not help us. Only the Spirit can give life – only the words of Jesus are spirit – so may we allow Him to do His work of teaching us to follow. May we allow His flesh and blood, living right now within us, to do their work in leading us along His perfect Way.