“From that time many of His disciples went back and walked no more with Him. Then said Jesus unto the twelve, ‘Will you also go away?’ Then, Simon Peter answered Him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God’.”
There’s no doubt difficulties will come; the question is “How will we respond to them?”
Is it an accident that the number normally associated with “The Mark of the Beast” (666) is found in the words “From that time many of His disciples went back and walked no more with Him” in John’s Gospel (6:66)?
No, it’s no wonder—not when we believe God’s Word is inspired and used by the Holy Spirit to either draw us to Him or drive us from Him.
Somehow we think that being a Christian is simply walking an aisle, praying a prayer, getting baptized and living happily ever.
But, that’s not the case, is it, Pilgrim?
No, not hardly.
Truly, the Christian life begins the moment we’re born again, inviting Jesus into our hearts as Savior. But, from that point on until the Heavenly Father calls us Home or Jesus comes back for His own in the Rapture, ours is the “Struggle of the Soul” as we “work out our salvation with fear and trembling” (Phil. 2:12).
Surrendering to Jesus’ Lordship is a day-by-day—yea, a moment-by-moment—struggle. A spiritual, civil war in which we battle “the world, the flesh and the devil.” Sometimes we experience mountaintop moments and exhilarating victories; other times (more than not) we struggle with doubts, disappointments, difficulties, etc., wondering if it’s all worth it.
And, it’s in those times. . . when others do throw in the towel. . .that Jesus asks us “Will you also go away?”
Again, some of those who “walked with Him no more” that day had probably followed Him around a long time. They’d seen Him heal the infirmed man at the Pool of Bethesda (Jn. 5:1-9). They’d witnessed His mountaintop miracle and eaten some of those barley loaves and fish (6:1-14). They’d hopped a boat and crossed over the Sea of Galilee to find Him in Capernaum (6:22-24). They’d asked Him how He got over there so quickly and when He’d arrived (6:25).
But, there was still something disconcerting about Him. Something alluring, yet alarming.
And, they couldn’t quite put their finger on it.
Then, when He started talking about being “the Bread of God that’d come down from Heaven and having seen the Father” (6:31-40), they started getting a little nervous—especially when He started talking about “eating His flesh and drinking His Blood” (vv.52-59).
“I think we’d better be going,” a father said to his family as they distanced themselves from Jesus. And, dear Pilgrim, the same still happens today unless we, like Peter, stand firm in our faith as to Who Jesus is and what He came to do. May we never forget that He—and He alone—has “the Words of Eternal Life” and only His Blood can cleanse us from our sins.
August 4, 2011