Primitive Christianity Revived, Again
Hosea 4 – The condition of Israel is pitiful in Hosea’s eyes: “there is no fidelity, no tenderness, no knowledge of God in the country, only perjury and lies, slaughter, theft, adultery and violence, murder after murder” (4:1-2).
The priests and the prophets are denounced for their failure to guide. “My people perish for want of knowledge. As you have rejected knowledge so do I reject you from my priesthood” (4:6). They will pay for their misdeeds, more than those they have misled.
Hosea tries to tell the people of Judah not to sin as their brothers in Israel have.
Hosea 5 – It is the priests and the kings who are responsible for leading. If they have “a prostituting spirit” (5:4), they will father only bastards.
Because of the weakness this unfaithfulness has brought on the nation, the leaders have sought foreign alliances with Assyria, but they have “no power to cure you nor to heal your wound” (5:13). God intends to withdraw, “return to my dwelling place until they confess their guilt and seek my face; they will search for me in their misery” (5:15).
Hosea 6 – The people will realize that they can return to Yahweh. “He has torn us to pieces, but he will heal us; he has struck us down, but he will bandage our wounds; after a day or two he will bring us back to life, on the third day he will raise us and we shall live in his presence” (6:1-2). Beautiful words: “’Let us set ourselves to know Yahweh; that he will come is as certain as the dawn, his judgment will rise like the light, he will come to us as showers come, like spring rains watering the earth’” (6:3).
But the love the people have is passing, not steadfast. God does not seek superficial faithfulness, the faithfulness in outward things: “what I want is love, not sacrifice; knowledge of God, not holocausts” (6:6). The worship at Gilead and Bethel is not what God wants.
John 6:22-40 - The crowd notices the next day that Jesus is gone. They go in boats after him. They too are perplexed as to how he got there; they know he was not with his disciples when they left and that the only other boat they had was still there in the morning. He tells them that they seek him not because of the signs they have seen but because of the food he gave them.
“Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you” (6:27). They ask him what they must do to perform “the works of God” (6:28). Jesus tells them only to “believe in him whom he has sent” (6:29).
They again ask him what “work” he is performing that can serve as a sign to them, that Moses fed the people with manna too. Jesus tells them it was not Moses who fed them but God. God is the one who sends bread from heaven that gives life to the world, and then he adds, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty” (6:35). But they will not believe. Jesus says it is his job not to lose any of what God has given him, but to “raise it up on the last day” (6:40).
The Jews complain about these claims. Isn’t he just Jesus, son of the carpenter Joseph? They cannot see him for what he is. “No one can come to me unless drawn by the Father who sent me. Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me” (6:45). And again he tells them he is the bread of life, that “whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh” (6:51).
The Jews dispute this -- to them -- outrageous assertion, and instead of mollifying them Jesus goes on to be even more outrageous: “[U]nless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you . . . .Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them” (6:53-56). At this even his disciples recoil. “This teaching is difficult; who can accept it?” (6:60)
He says, “It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life” (6:63).
The explanation does not satisfy some—some abandon him over it (6:66). He asks the twelve if they too will leave, and Peter says, “Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God” (6:69. Then Jesus predicts the loss of Judas, son of Simon Iscariot.