These folks were not kidding. Jesus had just delivered the hardest message possible to the folks He so longed to teach about His Father. Jesus did not come into the world to impress or entertain the world. Jesus came to reveal God’s mission and love in order to save it.
Jesus was well prepared for the exodus of His followers. When they heard they had to consume the reality of who He was rather than simply receive tokens and blessings, it drove most of them away. Jesus then looked to His original 12. He said, are you scandalized as well? Are you going to leave?
Then, Peter, the guy that always led with his heart, said, “Where else do we have to go? You are the one who is bringing the message of eternal life!”
That was the right answer! I can envision John tearing up as he wrote those words. Peter expressed what the rest felt to a greater or lesser degree. It was a tough thing for the 12. They were enjoying the rockstar status. But, the night on the lake helped to confirm to them that Jesus was so much more than a master showman. The apostles were in it for the long haul and were willing to “gnaw on the flesh” and “drink the blood.”
They did not yet realize where that would take them, But John knew the day after the feast was the day he and the 11 went from following a Rabbi to walking with Emmanuel (God With Us).
We have to make that jump as well. When we choose to follow Jesus, it is not simply praying a prayer, walking an aisle, joining a church, and being baptized. Those things are the steps in the journey. It is the total surrender of one’s life to the leadership of the Master that brings salvation. Paul so eloquently said it in Romans 10, “If we confess with our mouth’s that Christ Jesus is Lord; and believe that God raised Him from the dead, then we will be saved!” We must not gloss over the main word in the command.
The main word is neither confess, nor is it believe! Those words, while critical, are not the key. The main word is LORD. We do not confess that Jesus is great, that he is a prophet, or even that Jesus is the Savior. We are commanded to follow Peter’s lead and confess Jesus as LORD of our lives and leader of our journey.
It is only then that we will be sitting around the fire with Him reflecting on what it means to follow Jesus when the crowds leave!
God Bless You
60 On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?”
61 Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you? 62 Then what if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! 63 The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit[e] and life. 64 Yet 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. 65 He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them.”
66 From 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.
68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.”
70 Then 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.)