“As a result of this many of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore.” (John 6:66)
In the Gospel of John, Chapter 6, Jesus fed 5,000 people with 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish. They even had 12 baskets of leftovers!
When the crowd found Him the next day on the other side of the sea, Jesus chastised the people because they only came to find Him because they ate the bread the day before. They did not truly come seeking Him, but rather to see another miracle.
Jesus told them He was eternal life, that it was the work of God if they believed He was sent from God. The people then asked for a sign that Jesus was from God: manna from heaven, just as their ancestors received in the desert.
Jesus responded that He came down from Heaven. He was the bread of life. He was the true bread from Heaven. Jesus said the people who ate His flesh and drank His blood would be granted eternal life.
The crowd took Him literally – “how can this man give us His flesh to eat?” (John 6:52)
Jesus knew what they were thinking and responded, “unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves” (John 6:53). He said, “As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also will live because of Me.” (John 6:57).
“Therefore, many of His disciples, when they heard this said, ‘This is a difficult statement; who can listen to it?” (John 6:60).
Jesus told them, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life. But there are some of you who do not believe” (John 6:63-64).
He continued, “For this reason I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father” (John 6:65).
What happens next is what I am hoping you’ll avoid in 2019: “As a result of [these statements made by Jesus] many of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore (John 6:66).”
Does anyone else find it interesting that this widespread falling away of Christ’s disciples is found in John 6:66? The number 666 is recorded in Revelation as the mark of Satan (Rev. 13:18). Since I believe our Creator God controls everything in this universe, and especially had His hand in preserving the Bible for us, I don’t think this is coincidence.
I think many will walk away from Jesus because His teachings are sometimes difficult for us to understand. Satan takes advantage of our need for logic. The enemy will always calls to us in a mocking tone, “you don’t believe that do you?” (see Genesis 3:1-5), twisting what God said until we doubt what it really means.
If you ever feel that way, just wait. Pause. Don’t turn your back on Jesus because you don’t understand Him or what the Bible says. Wait!
Later, during the last supper, Jesus explained the statements He made to the crowd that day. During His final teaching, Jesus explained that His life would be given as the sacrifice for many, for the forgiveness of sins. Jesus told the disciples that His body and blood (His life) would be given to represent the new covenant of eternal life for those who believe in Him. (Mark 14:22-24; Matt 26:26-28). During that meal, Jesus told the disciples to eat the bread and drink the wine “in remembrance of me.” (Luke 22:17-20).
Sadly, those who had already walked away never got to hear this explanation from Jesus. Instead, they closed their minds to Him because they couldn’t make sense of it right then. They walked away too soon. They gave up too easily.
Friend, don’t walk away. Keep wrestling with the difficult things in the Bible. Ask God to help you make sense of it. Tell Jesus you want to understand what He’s getting at. Read it again. Ask a friend. Ask a pastor.
“Google it” at the very least!
Just don’t walk away. Don’t turn your back on Jesus.
In this season of new beginnings, of New Year’s resolutions, perhaps you need to make a resolution to try following Jesus again. God stands ready and waiting for you to return. All you have to do is turn around and begin again.
Set aside your need for immediate gratification. Commit to praying and reading your Bible in 2019. Resolve your mind to the fact that there are just some things you cannot understand.
Turn your life over to the One who saved you ~ and leave the miracles to Him!
Will you join me in learning more about the “Promises & Perspectives” of God in 2019?
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