“From this time many of his disciples turned back
and no longer followed him.”
John 6:66 (NIV)
During the years I worked in criminal court as a volunteer chaplain, I spoke to hundreds of prisoners. I found them to be a very polite lot of people and witnessed various displays of compassion this one or that one had on a fellow prisoner. I went to court on Wednesdays because prisoners from surrounding jails would be brought to a central court to appear before a judge. I visited in the morning before court convened and spoke through the bars to the various men in a central cell.
I well recall one tough repeat offender who spoke to me urgently one morning, asking that I find some way to help a young fellow who had been put in jail the night before for the first time. Several prisoners had brutally handled the 18 year old and he was terrified for his life.
I went over to where the young man stood behind the bars as far away from the other prisoners as possible. I explained to him how the system worked and about duty counsel the court supplied for those who did not have a lawyer. I asked him about anyone who might post bail for him if needed.
I found the duty counsel and put him in touch with the young man. Soon the judge released the prisoner and I followed him out of court and volunteered to drive him home to break the news to his parents that he was in trouble with the law.
A tragic thing occurred when I met the young man’s mother. I introduced myself as a volunteer chaplain at the criminal court and explained how I had met her son that morning. She looked at me and said, “We do not need your help.” With that she took her son into their home and closed the door in my face.
A similar thing occurred to Jesus as recorded in the context of our verse today. Jesus had just preached a sermon that the people did not like. They misunderstood His comments on His work of redeeming sinners and they argued about what He was saying. Then Jesus repeated in v. 65 a statement He made in v. 44. It was, “No one can come to me except the Father enables him.”
The crowd did not like hearing of such a truth and so they walked away never to return to Jesus. They were certain that they did not need that kind of help from Jesus and by leaving Him they determined their own eternal destiny.
Jesus freely offers to rescue people from the consequences of their sins. However, if they are of the opinion that they do not need such help, Jesus lets them walk away. He does not coerce or force His help on anyone who does not desire it.
However, He will be the complete Saviour to anyone who sincerely comes in repentance and believes in Him. Jesus said in the sermon recorded in John 6, “…the one who comes to me I will never reject.” Do not fear when coming to Jesus. He offers the help you so much need. Come to Him and come today.