Never did I experience so moving a funeral as I did some years ago. The service commenced with the father of the deceased child carrying the small white casket down the aisle of the chapel and gently laying it on the table at the front. He then sat down beside his grieving wife, the child’s mother. I had spoken to the mother about some aspect of heaven and her young child’s experience of heaven. What was so amazing about this funeral was the apparent complete submission of the parents to the will of God in taking their much loved child from them. Yes, there were many tears shed but not one word of frustration or rebellion on their part over the sovereign will of God.
In our text for today the great Galilean crowds turned away because of Jesus’ teaching, (John 6:65) “And He was saying, ‘For this reason I have told you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father.’” Such strong doctrine has always been a cause for argument among the Lord’s people.
There is a note of pain in Jesus’ words as He sadly turns from the departing crowds to face His beloved apostles and ask them a question. He wants them to tell Him if they also wish to desert Him because of His strong doctrine.
Peter often took the lead in speaking up and he is never better than in this scene. While they may not have fully understood the Master’s difficult teaching on that particular occasion, they knew enough to cause them to cling to the Good Shepherd regardless of what He teaches. Peter exercised Christian submission when he said, in effect, “There is nowhere else to go.”
Whether it is our Master’s teaching or His sovereign actions we need to respond with submissive spirits. We call Jesus “Lord” (Romans 10:9), and our lives need to conform to that confession. Doubting Thomas, when faced with the resurrected One, confessed Him as, “…my Lord and my God.” (John 20:28).
Is the Good Shepherd your Lord and your God or not? Do you accept all of His teaching, the gentle truths and the difficult ones? Are you ready to embrace His will for you whether the way forward is a gentle path or a rocky one?
Whatever you will need to pursue the narrow way to glory He will provide. He is always faithful to His precious people. If the way is too hard, He will gently lift you up and carry you close to His loving heart all the way to the Celestial city if need be. This glorious Saviour deserves our complete loyalty and total obedience. Do you exhibit Christian submission today? Do you need to return to Him Who died and rose again for you? Read Isaac Watts verse below addressing the thoughts to your Good Shepherd. He waits for you. Come and come today.
You are my Counselor,
My Pattern, and my Guide,
And You my Shepherd are;
Oh, keep me near Your side;
Nor let my feet e’er turn astray
To wander in the crooked way.
My dear almighty Lord,
My Conqu’ror and my King,
Your scepter and Your sword,
Your reigning grace I sing:
Yours is the pow’r; behold, I sit
In willing bonds beneath Your feet.
Now let my soul arise,
And tread the tempter down;
My Captain leads me forth
To conquest and a crown:
The feeblest saint shall win the day,
Though death and hell obstruct the way.
Should all the hosts of death,
And pow’rs of hell unknown,
Put their most dreadful forms
Of rage and mischief on,
I shall be safe, for Christ displays
Superior pow’r, and guardian grace.