Today’s Reading – John 5 & 6
From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? (John 6:66 & 67)
This passage reminds us of the lack of commitment there exists in people that call themselves Christians. Jesus had a “Big Day” up on the mount, and after teaching the people He fed them; and there were possibly as many as twenty thousand in attendance. (The Bible only tells us about the 5000 men.) After being fed and seeing the other miraculous things that the Lord did, these people desired to follow Him. They finally find Him, but when they do He is teaching some strange doctrines. He is talking about “eating his flesh and drinking his blood”. Now we know that He was not advocating a literal cannibalistic act, but was referring to His people identifying with His broken body and shed blood on the cross. He was speaking of what was coming for Him, letting His followers know that a cross was waiting for Him, and that persecution was waiting for the followers as well. The disciples didn’t understand or appreciate what Jesus had to say. They were OK with getting free meals, and they certainly liked to watch the miracles, but now the Lord was telling them that there was a lot more to true discipleship than the pleasant things that they had already witnessed. And they all left Him, save the twelve apostles. This was possibly the first recorded “church split”. Jesus went from twenty thousand down to twelve almost instantaneously.
I find that people today are much the same way. They enjoy the “bells and whistles”. They appreciate the popcorn, bubble gum, soft pretzels, water ice, and cotton candy that we give them. They love the entertainment and the giveaways of the big days; but when it comes down to bearing their own cross in real discipleship, for the most part, they bail out. I think that we who are leaders in the church need to be more honest with the people up front about what true discipleship entails. We tell them about all of the wonderful aspects of Christianity, and they truly are wonderful; but the truth is that living as a Christian should live here on this earth will come at a cost. It will not always be fun. They won’t all be big days. There will be persecution and there will be many heartaches and burdens. Maybe if we better prepared these would be disciples for the battles ahead, they would be better equipped to endure them.
I want to stay faithful to the Lord, until He takes me home to Heaven; but I have to be honest with you: I am scared sometimes. I have been tempted on more than one occasion to quit, and I have seen better men than me “go away”. Pray for me, and if I know who you are, I will pray for you. Don’t quit. Stay with the Lord. This world has nothing to offer you but heartache and pain. Don’t go away! We love you, and we need you; and try not to get discouraged when others that you love go away. As much as we try to prevent it from happening, the fact is that many will not remain faithful. I t is what it is. But don’t allow the casualties to discourage you and pull you out of the battle.
Posted in Devotions, Thoughts from John by Phil Erickson with 1 comment.