Within the early church, there developed a Gnostic or secret understanding of theology that was later declared heretical. In Gnostic thought, there was a dualism that divided the material things and the spiritual things. The spiritual was good and the physical was evil. Sometimes we can see from John's writing how people could have developed this idea. Specifically, when Jesus states in verse 63, "It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless." one can see how this conclusion could be reached.
However, we must see it in context of his speech earlier in the chapter on eating and drinking his flesh and blood. He is speaking of a spiritual content rather than a fleshly one. Even so, we see that some of his followers did not continue with him over this teaching.
Jesus is seen as all-knowing as he reveals his betrayer to the reader.
|I recognize that I am often like this dog,|
simply waiting until I can get my treat.
If the spirit gives life, how am I in tune with the spirit?
Prayer for the day:
Be kind to your little children, Lord. Be a gentle teacher, patient with our weakness and stupidity. And give us the strength and discernment to do what you tell us, and so grow in your likeness. May we all live in the peace that comes from you. May we journey towards your city, sailing through the waters of sin untouched by the waves, borne serenely along by the Holy Spirit. Night and day may we give you praise and thanks, because you have shown us that all things belong to you, and all blessings are gifts from you. To you, the essence of wisdom, the foundation of truth, be glory for evermore.
Clement of Alexandria (ca. 150-215)
Photo by Andrew McGill via Flickr.com. Used under the Creative Commons license.