Staying?

60 Many among his disciples heard this and said, “This is tough teaching, too tough to swallow.”

61-65 Jesus sensed that his disciples were having a hard time with this and said, “Does this rattle you completely? What would happen if you saw the Son of Man ascending to where he came from? The Spirit can make life. Sheer muscle and willpower don’t make anything happen. Every word I’ve spoken to you is a Spirit-word, and so it is life-making. But some of you are resisting, refusing to have any part in this.” (Jesus knew from the start that some weren’t going to risk themselves with him. He also knew who would betray him.) He went on to say, “This is why I told you earlier that no one is capable of coming to me on his own. You get to me only as a gift from the Father.”

66-67 After this, many of his disciples left. They no longer wanted to be associated with him. So then Jesus gave the Twelve their chance: “Do you also want to leave?”

68-69 Peter replied, “Master, to whom we would go? You have the words of real life, eternal life. We’ve already committed ourselves, confident that you are the Holy One of God.”

70-71 Jesus responded, “Haven’t I handpicked you, the Twelve? Still, one of you is a devil!” He was referring to Judas, son of Simon Iscariot. This man—one from the Twelve!—was even then getting ready to betray him. -John 6:60-71 The Message.

After Jesus gave his teaching, the disciples said that this is a hard teaching; who can accept it? Jesus, of course, knew that the disciples were grumbling about it, so Jesus said, “Does this offend you? Then what if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you, they are full of the Spirit and life. Yet some of you do not believe.” Jesus knew from the beginning who would betray him because one of them didn’t believe. So he continued, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them.”

There are more repetitions today. Here is one of them. Spiritual life is the Holy Spirit. We cannot have new life without the work of the Holy Spirit. (14:17) The spiritual renewals begin and end with God. The Holy Spirit works like this.

  1. He reveals the truth.
  2. He lives in us.
  3. He activates us to respond to the truth.

Now, it is not surprising, but at the same time, it can be. The one thing that happens is people turning their back on Jesus. So a question with a few answers to it. Why did the disciples walk away? Is it Jesus’ words? Yeah, that can play a role. But here are other answers to that question.

  1. They learned that Jesus was not going to be the Messiah-King they wanted.
  2. Jesus didn’t give in to self-centered requests. (Big one!)
  3. He kept talking about faith and not deeds. (Meaning to convey or transfer by a signed instrument containing a legal transfer, bargain, or contract: to get or transfer by deed)
  4. His teachings are difficult to understand.

Yes, sometimes, his words are piercing. But here is what I learned. When your body hurts because of an injury or pain that comes out of nowhere, you have a doctor check it out to resolve it. It’s the same here. When Jesus’ words hurt, it requires examination of your soul. Where did I go wrong? What can I do to make it better? Remember, Jesus’ words will hurt, which can tempt us to leave because it is difficult to hear his teachings. Some will walk out, some will ignore, some will go as far as rejecting Jesus. Replace these actions with questions of your own. How can his teachings teach me something, and how can I apply it to my life? Have courage when you act on behalf of God’s truth.

Jesus asked the disciples, “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Simon Peter answered, “Lord, to whom we shall go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.” Jesus said, “Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil.” Jesus was talking about the son of Simon Iscariot, who is one of the disciples who betrayed him later. Jesus allowed them to leave or stay to see if where their faith is. Jesus didn’t want to repel (drive back) people with his teachings. Jesus tells the truth. The more people heard his teachings, the more divided they got. Honest seekers wanted to learn more, while those who rejected him wanted nothing to do with the education. Case in point, Peter, he told Jesus were we going to go? Your words are the way, and no one else can do what you do.

Meanwhile, Judas tried to stay, but he was for personal gain. Many people pretend to follow Jesus, but most of what they say doesn’t match what Jesus’ teaching says. For example, I heard somebody say that children shouldn’t learn about oppression because it is wrong to teach it. This person is citing “critical race theories” as something that shouldn’t be taught. Ok, let’s slide critical race theories out of the equation. Why is it a Christian man would say something like that? Oppression is real! If you believe that Jesus died on the cross and rose on the third day, then that means you accept everything Jesus teaches. God teaches about oppression. It is the story of the Israelites, the book of Exodus! You can’t teach your children about the level of God reaching out to the oppressed? What are you believing? Is it a personal desire to act like you believe in Jesus? The point is to match what Jesus’ teachings say, not the opposite. Accept or reject him. What are you doing?

Father, thank you today. I pray today that we will be authentic towards your teaching and not use it for personal gain. We all have learning experiences, and when we make a mistake, we can be better by praying and learning from our mistakes. Thank you for your teachings. In Jesus’ name. Amen!