We have now come to the end of John chapter 6. And in this fourth and final scene described in John chapter 6 we are going to see three different responses to Jesus’ comments: desertion, devotion and deception.
On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?”
Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “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 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. He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them.”
From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.—6:60-66
Many of Jesus’ followers found his teaching so difficult to accept that they abandoned him. The teachings were not too hard to understand but were too difficult for them to believe. How could their eternal destiny depend on their acceptance of him and his teaching? Jesus, aware they rejected his teaching, told them it would be even more difficult for them to believe when the Son of Man was resurrected and ascended. The reason they did not believe was because they had not received life from the Spirit. Jesus also knew the one who would betray him. Jesus told them one final time in this discourse/discussion that salvation begins with God’s initiative. This is the first response we see in this last section: desertion.
“You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve.
Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.”—6:67-69
Jesus asked the disciples if they would leave him like so many others did. The Twelve had witnessed Jesus feed the multitude and walk on water the previous day. They had listened to his difficult teaching regarding eternal life. Yet Peter, speaking for the Twelve, affirmed their faith and confidence in Jesus. Despite watching large crowds walk away, they reaffirmed their faith in him. This is the second response we are shown in this section: devotion.
Then Jesus replied, “Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!” (He meant Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, who, though one of the Twelve, was later to betray him.)—6:70-71
The chapter concludes on a foreboding note. Jesus predicted that one of his disciples would betray him. Jesus already knew Judas was a traitor. John wants his readers to know that Jesus was not caught off guard by events leading to his arrest and crucifixion. Referring to the traitor as a devil means that he would oppose Christ as Satan does. This is the third and final response we see in this section: deception. And the choice is yours about how you respond to Jesus’ teaching and offer of eternal life. You can either respond by deserting him, by trying to deceive him, or you can respond to him with love and devotion. Which on will choose today? But remember you must choose wisely, because the wrong choice will lead to devastating consequences. And we will pick in John 7 starting tomorrow.
Tomorrow’s Bible Readings:
1 Samuel 20-21, John 9, Psalm 113:1-114:8 and Proverbs 15:15-17
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