- The peace was abruptly shattered. It was Yeshua who did it. At first we didn
't notice what he was driving at, and considered it harmless.
You are eating, he said, and don't know that you are eating transient food
and are adding transient to transient.
Did he mean perishable food? Food that shouldn't be kept from one day to the
He continued, but as though he were talking to himself: Manna fell from
heaven from the sky to your forefathers, and they ate it as common food, and
afterwards they were again hungry.
Of course, Shimon said, you can't be full forever.
But there is a food which is permanent and fills you for all time.
What do you mean, Rabbi?
I am speaking of the bread of life.
But bread is always the bread of life.
I spoke of permanent food.
Now we were all attentive. What did he mean?
Rabbi, Shimon said, explain it better to us. You know that we limp along
while you fly.
I will say it clearly, but the clearer I make it, the less you will
What are you talking about, Rabbi?
About me and about you. I give you bread, but it is my flesh and my blood.
We stood there with our mouths hanging open. He went on: Bread from heaven
fell for your forefathers. For you I am the bread that comes from heaven. I
am the permanent food. Who eats me will not know death.
Someone said: But why should we want to eat you? We're not cannibals.
A few laughed. But Yeshua said; Who does not eat me has no participation in
me and the future kingdom of the spirit.
A murmuring went through the crowd, and someone said: He's gone mad, don't
you see, we always said he's crazy.
And one after the other they left.
Yehuda said: Now you've lost a lot by making a big mistake, Rabbi. What
reasonable person can understand you? What's that supposed to mean: eat you
and bread is your flesh? With all respect for your imagery, you shouldn't
push it so far that no one understands you anymore. Your manner of speaking
was always your strength, the people could understand you. But that today.
Yeshua said: It's no less clear than much of what I said earlier.
Then he looked around: we were alone. He looked at us one after the other
and said: Well, don't you want to go, too?
Shimon, who so often spoke the redeeming words, said: Rabbi, if we were to
leave where would we go? Who except you has the words of life? Whatever you
say, even though we don't understand it, is certainly true, for there is
nothing but truth in you. Open our eyes, Rabbi!
Yehuda left, shaking his head. In going he whispered to me: Now he has
beaten the people on their heads. This will cost us many followers. He'll
have to make up for it with some wonderful miracle.
Yochanan, I said, did you understand that? Surely you have an explanation.
You absorbed understanding for such murky sayings with your Greek wet-nurse'
What are you talking about? I had no Greek wet-nurse.
I mean your teacher. Do you have an explanation or not?
My explanation is: there are truths which you can't reach with explanations.
They must be accepted until they explain themselves.
But one may think about them.
I have already thought about it, and this is what came out: other peoples
have cultic celebrations, during which they dismember living animals, drink
their blood and eat their flesh. And why? Because they believe that they
absorb the animals' life forces with their blood and flesh.
That is paganism.
Nothing exists that is only paganism.
Yes, but they really eat the animals. Are we to consume the rabbi's living
body? Or what? It can only be a picture, a symbol.
I don't know. The way he said it, it sounded like more than a picture or
symbol. Call it a mystery. That's what the Greeks call what is true yet not
conceivable, unless one is an initiate.
So what the rabbi means is only accessible for initiates? I don't think so.
He never makes secrets of his teaching. He says it openly and for all.
Yes, but only the initiates understand it.
Oh, Yochanan, you consider yourself one of the initiates, the chosen ones.
No, I don't. I am like everyone else.
I thought and thought about it for two days and found no explanation, then I
gave it up, and when I had given it up Yeshua spoke to me.
Come here and hold my arm. What is it that you are touching?
Say it exactly.
Is it I?
Of course. Or rather no. It is the form in which you appear.
My clever one! And now think harder. When I say: eat my flesh, drink my
blood, can I mean this flesh and the blood which runs in my veins?
No, not that.
Assuming that I could eat your flesh, Rabbi, then your flesh would become
Then you would be in me. Or rather: you and I, we would be one. Yes, but
Rabbi, how is it that I could incorporate you? Is your teaching the food I
What is my teaching, Miryam? My word is THE word - my word AM I.
So it's all a parable?
I am no parable, Miryam! I am THE reality. Eat me, Miryam! That is what I
long for: to become earthly matter in each of you, so that you become
spirit. Do you understand?
In that moment I fell into a sea of fire, and in falling I called out:
Rabbi, I KNOW.
What did I know?
On the way to Yerushalayim Yochanan came back to Yeshua's words. I told him
nothing about Yeshua's instructions to me. But Yochanan had reached
knowledge in his own way.
It's about becoming one, he said. The Word was with the Almighty, and the
Almighty was the Word, and the Word has become flesh, and will always be
flesh anew, and the history of humanity is the history of the Eternal Word
Frank Thomas Smith