Read: John 6.22-71
At the beginning of chapter 6, Jesus performed the miracle of feeding the 5,000, rested, then met up with His disciples (by walking on the sea to them). Once they dock, the crowd from before finds Jesus again. He makes it clear that He knows they are there looking for Him because of His miracle rather that realizing and understanding what that miracle meant about who He is. Jesus warns them not to spend their time working for things that will not last, but rather for the things that last forever, such as eternal life. The people… oh the people… those people hear all this then promptly ask for another sign.
I can’t even judge them a little bit. How many times in our lives do we ask or hope that God will prove Himself again and again although we know that He is Jehovah Jireh, God the Provider. I don’t know about you, but God has never failed to provide for me (even if it doesn’t look the way I think it should), and God has always been faithful. In fact, one of His names is Faithful One. So why do we, like these people, feel the need to have God continue to prove Himself to us?
The last part of this chapter is a very hard and sad truth to understand.
Jesus begins speaking about Him being the living bread and that men must eat his flesh (the bread) and drink of his blood and they will live forever. While that sounds very cannibalistic, we know that He is talking about His perfect sacrifice and partaking of that free gift He offers. The breaking of His body and the spilling of His blood is what grants us eternal life to those who believe in the death and resurrection of this Savior.
Jesus knew the crowd wanted to be able to “work the works of God” (vs 28). They wanted to work their way into heaven, but this isn’t a works based salvation. Hear me: there is NOTHING we can do of ourselves that can make us worthy enough to be reconciled unto the Holy God. But God sent His Son to bridge that gap for us. We only need to believe in the gospel of Christ.
After those strange statements, many of His disciples said that this was a hard thing and asked who could bear it. The gospel of Christ (and what needed to happen to get to that point) was offensive to them. They walked no more with Jesus.
This, unfortunately, reminds me of “Christianity” in today’s society, and dare I say it? Especially in America. Many people are born into Christian families and grow up in the pews. They spend their time thinking they are following God, but its not the truth. I’m not trying to cause doubt, I’m just pointing out out that while the believing in Jesus Christ and His death and resurrection doesn’t seem so hard on the outside, the actual following of Him isn’t a cake walk. Many people have this easy believism that equates knowing about God or having grown up in a church with being an Christian. But when they are confronted with the painful truth of the gospel, admitting our sinfulness, and accepting His blood riddled gift of salvation… they say it is too much and realize they never knew Christ in the first place.
Jesus suffered and God sacrificed to make it possible for us to have a personal relationship with Him. We just have to be brave enough to admit that it’s all on God, and reach out and grasp it. And we must know that the truth of who Jesus is outweighs our comfort in this world.
Jesus’ twelve disciples knew who He was and chose to stay. Many more than those twelve left. They counted the cost, and it was too high. Friends, we need to count the cost of following Christ. Jesus already gave His life for our sins and to reconcile us to God… what will you do or what have you done with that truth?