The other day, I was listening to a talk about the Bread of Life Discourse (aka “All that stuff in John 6”), and suddenly I wondered what the Greek was for “This is a hard saying.” (Sometimes you also see it translated as “This is a hard teaching.” It’s John 6:61/6:60.)
Ha! It was a good thing to check!
What the grumbling listeners said was, “Skleros estin ho logos.”
Which literally means… “The Word is hard.”
“Skleros” is something dried out and stiff, hence also hard, stubborn, unyielding, harsh.
And yup, Jesus the Word was particularly unyielding and stubborn about every single point in the Discourse.
The Word is hard. Sweet like manna, tender like a lamb, but harsh too. He’s not going to back down from telling you to gnaw on His Body and drink His Blood. His Flesh is real food, and His Blood is real drink. Come to the marriage feast of the Lamb.
UPDATE: In case you were wondering, St. Jerome has it as “Durus est hic sermo.” One of the Old Latin translations of “the Word of God” was “Sermo Dei” instead of “Verbum Dei.” So Jerome was riffing off the Greek here. The idea that “sermo” primarily means “saying” or “teaching” or “sermon” is a later understanding of the connotations, although it does go along with secondary meanings of “logos.”