It has been said that if all you have is a hammer, then you see everything as a nail. The immediate result of this is that you only have one way of approaching things. It seems to me that sometimes we choose to only have a hammer. Sometimes we choose to work with self-limited tools, to think with self-limited minds, to see with self-limited vision.
That seems to be what these genuinely religious people complaining about Jesus choose to do. They had their sense, their understanding, of how God worked, and how God was going to do things to redeem them. And they had their clear understanding of who Jesus was--they knew his family and they'd likely seen him grow up. Nothing of what he was saying fit their understanding of how God worked, and nothing of what he was saying made any sense coming from his mouth, since they knew who he was. In two different ways, they saw what they saw, and weren't capable of seeing it any other way--that how God works is unlike what Jesus said, and Jesus making these claims for himself was absurd.
All they had was a proverbial hammer, so Jesus was obviously a nail. They had no other way of seeing things.
Do we get stuck in that same trap? Are we so confident in what we know about God and about others that we limit what we can see? Are we so convinced about who God is and how God works that we can't imagine anything that doesn't fit that? And are we so certain that the people we know we know fully and completely, and that there is nothing about them that we can see any differently?
God is always surprising us, and particularly in the way God works within--and with--people. People you may never expect to become different DO become different, as Jesus works within their hearts. Saul went from the man trying to persecute the followers of Jesus to Paul, the most prolific and one of the most important followers of Jesus--a change so astounding that it was nearly impossible for the followers of Jesus who saw his fury against them to believe he had changed. But he had. And Jesus has been in that business ever since. We probably all know people who have changed because of Jesus.
We need not to only have a hammer, and therefore see everything as a nail. We need to recognize a much bigger toolbox, and many more opportunities to engage others. We should not put God in a box, or ourselves, as God can work within us.
GOSPEL John 6:35, 41-51
35 Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.
41 Then the Jews began to complain about him because he said, ‘I am the bread that came down from heaven.’ 42 They were saying, ‘Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, “I have come down from heaven”?’ 43 Jesus answered them, ‘Do not complain among yourselves. 44 No one can come to me unless drawn by the Father who sent me; and I will raise that person up on the last day. 45 It is written in the prophets, “And they shall all be taught by God.” Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me. 46 Not that anyone has seen the Father except the one who is from God; he has seen the Father. 47 Very truly, I tell you, whoever believes has eternal life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50 This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live for ever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.’