Jesus, using the present negative command, demanded His followers to “stop complaining” (gogguzo is “an onomatopoeic word derived from the sound made when murmuring or muttering in a low and indistinct voice with the idea of complaint”). The disciples could hardly believe this command. How could they follow such teachings?
There was ongoing “grumbling” because Jesus had said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven” (Jn 6:41). They thought this was ridiculous: “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does He now say, ‘I have come down from heaven?’” (6:42).
Jesus made no attempt to clarify the issue or correct their ignorance. He only rebuked their grumbling. It is not unusual for people to misunderstand God’s ways. In the Old Testament, the Jews grumbled in the wilderness about the water they had to drink (Ex 15:24), their lack of bread (Ex 16:2), their hardships in the desert (Num 11:1), the conflicts and difficulties in conquering the promised land (14:1–3), and the “manna” God provided to eat (11:4–6).
Paul wrote of this generation, “Nor let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed by serpents; nor complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer. Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come” (1 Cor 10:9).
Following His admonition, Jesus made two remarkable statements: First, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him” (Jn 6:44). Second, “Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me” (6:45), and “whoever believes has eternal life” (6:47). The incarnation has always been a contested issue. How could God become a man? No explanation is given, only the declaration that it happened.
We cannot understand everything about God. His revelations always require an element of trust. Can you take Him at His word, or do you continue to complain that you would do things differently? Choose wisely.
“Lord, sometimes Your ways are hard to understand, and it is easy to complain, but I trust You with all my heart even when I don’t understand things.”
For a year's daily devotional of these Bible studies, order a copy of the book Walking His Way at Branches Publications or order the Kindle version at Amazon.com. You can also download the App for Android Smartphones.