Even the disciples question Jesus
Today we are going back to the gospel of John after a long absence due to illness. Our last scripture dealt with Jesus being the bread of life, and how partaking of that bread affords life eternal. Today, we see the disciples confused by Jesus’ teaching and many who have followed him are beginning to turn away.
Many Disciples Desert Jesus
60On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?”
61Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you? 62What if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! 63The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life. 64Yet there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. 65He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him.”
66From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.
67″You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve.
68Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.”
70Then Jesus replied, “Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!” 71(He meant Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, who, though one of the Twelve, was later to betray him.)
The scripture tells us that Jesus knew from the beginning who would believe Him, and who would betray Him. Can you imagine being in a setting where you knew you were speaking truth to people, but you also knew some people would not accept the truth, even people in your inner circle of friends?
When I was a child I had a dream that is still vivid today. I was in a court room, and I was being charged with something that was a matter of life and death. I told the truth, yet the judge looked at me and said “I can see the lie in your eyes,” and pronounced me guilty.
Speaking the truth has had a profound affect upon my life. Or, perhaps I should say, my need to speak the truth has profoundly affected me and sometimes those around me. Ephesians 4 says we are to speak the truth in love, but I have found if someone does not want to hear the truth, it matters not with how much love it is infused.
Jesus was at the point in His life where He was not yet ready to reveal everything about Himself, yet He was beginning to reveal some important truths:
- His words were of the Spirit, and not of the flesh
- His words gave life
- Those who came to Him were sent by the Father
Disciples at that moment began falling away. It has always amazed me that people in the presence of Jesus were unable to see His divinity. Part of the problem here was the location in which Jesus was speaking. There were people listening to Him who had known Him as a child. It is one thing to have a tremendous preacher/teacher/prophet come to town and you know upon hearing him he is an instrument of the living God. But to grow up with someone who then claims to be the Son of God? I can imagine the difficulty in grasping the truth when put into that context.
Simon Peter asserted as bold as ever, “You have the words of eternal life. 69We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.” Can you say with Peter that you know that Jesus has the words of life, and that He is, indeed, the Holy One of God? Are you willing to follow Jesus even when the pathway is rocky and all around you are ridiculing you?