John 6:61-71

In John 6:61-71 Jesus dives into the reality that being a Christ Follower is anything but simple.  “Jesus sensed that his disciples were having a hard time with this and said, Does this throw you completely”?  Jesus knew that His teaching was pushing them and He made it clear that He wasn’t teaching to win a popularity contest or please those listening.  He didn’t take back His words because they were hard for folks to accept.  He was teaching eternal life.  He was teaching truth.  “What would happen if you saw the Son of Man ascending to where he came from? The Spirit can make life”.  His question led to their ability to understand the very plan of God for eternity.

The central theme of this interaction in John 6 really comes down to the truth that eternal life comes from God’s Spirit.  It’s not about what we do, or how hard we try, or who we are or know.  “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”.  Eternity is about our relationship with the Messiah, which turns the Spirit of God loose to work in us and make us a Child of the King.  It begins with a relationship with the Savior.  Many were struggling with His teaching.  “But some of you are resisting, refusing to have any part in this”.  Unfortunately, that is still true today.

Jesus continued to make clear that being a Christ Follower was not only difficult, but only happens as God calls us.  “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”.  If we seek Him for material gain or earthly motive, we’ll not receive God’s gift.  If we seek Him for miracles, food or leader of an earthly kingdom, which many in that day did, we will miss the mission God sent His Son to accomplish – bringing salvation to all who would believe and receive Him.  Many of His followers bailed as He raised the bar for being a Christ Follower and made it clear it wasn’t about what they would get, but how they believe.  “After this a lot of his disciples left. They no longer wanted to be associated with him”.

It was gut check time for those closest to Jesus too.  They didn’t get a pass.  “Then Jesus gave the Twelve their chance: “Do you also want to leave”? Many of those who had been ‘following’ Him have left.  But He doesn’t tone down the words.  He presses even those closest to Him to be sure they understand.  It was Peter who responds.  “Peter replied, Master, to whom would we go? You have the words of real life, eternal life. We’ve already committed ourselves, confident that you are the Holy One of God”.

Guzik writes about Peter’s wonderful statement of faith:

  • He recognized Jesus as Lord
  • He recognized Jesus as the only choice, despite the difficulties
  • He recognized the value of spiritual things, more than the material and earthly desires of those who walked away (the words of eternal life)
  • He recognized Jesus as Messiah (the Christ) and God (Son of the living God)

Jesus reminds the Twelve that He chose each of them, individually and with care.  “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”.  But that choice on His part still leaves choice on ours.  Judas was going to choose to walk away from Him to betray Him.  We must choose Jesus, and choose to daily walk with Him.

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