“From this time many of his disciples
turned back and no longer followed him.”
John 6:66 (NIV)
“‘You do not want to leave too, do you?’ Jesus asked the Twelve.” John 6:67 (NIV)
This passage marks the end of the great Galilean campaign that had seen thousands attending the preaching of our Lord. Beginning in John 7, and as recorded in the other Gospels, Jesus entered a year of intense and public opposition to His ministry that ended in His death.
The sermon recorded in John 6 sifted the crowd and removed all those who came to Jesus for a show, to watch a miracle or to delight in how Jesus could confound the religious leaders as they tried to trap Him in His words.
We can feel the heartache in the words of Jesus as He turned from watching the crowds leave to asking the disciples if they also wished to leave Him. It was certainly a moment of intense sorrow and grief as the Saviour entered into the year of opposition to His great work of redemption.
Now He would fight Satan all the more vigorously for the hearts and allegiance of people. Jesus would concentrate His efforts on the twelve apostles because they resolved to continue with Him in spite of others turning away.
Have you thought of turning away from the Saviour as the crowd did that morning on the shore of the Sea of Galilee? Do your wishes clearly conflict with what He wants to do in your life? Do you bear resentment against Him for taking a loved one away from you? Are you thinking that His way is too hard to bear?
Hear the words of Peter when he responded to this question of his beloved Master.
“Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go?
You have the words of eternal life.
We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.’”
John 6:68-69 (NIV)
Whatever your problem is today with the sovereign will of the Saviour, always remember that He has redeemed you and provided you with the hope of eternal glory. He died to accomplish your redemption, He suffered untold horrors to make you His child. He will never leave or forsake you. Cannot you do as much for Him?
Resist any notion of giving up your Christianity. Resolve as the twelve did to persist in following this glorious, worthy, loyal Master. A day will come when you will rejoice in the decision to pursue your calling in Christ. Today, quote to Jesus Peter’s words in John 6:68-69.