From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. Jn. 6:66
This is, incidentally, one of the few scriptures embedded with the dreaded 666 logo; and it probably is no coincidence, for what happened here is indeed disturbing.
Y’know, you can be reading the Bible for a hundred years and you won’t notice some things until one day God pulls aside the curtain, and it hits you like the Chicago Express.
The problem, of course, is that we have a tendency to romanticize things. You might, for example, have some really idyllic ideas about the writer of this blog; but after you meet him, you might begin noticing things that will make you to become less cozy with him. That is called reality.
In the same vein, we could read a scripture like the one above and drop our jaws in “utter disbelief” that people could leave off from following our Lord Jesus Christ. But the reality closer home could be that we are also walking “no more with him.”
The Bible says that “Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof” (Eccl. 7:8). When it came time for the Lord to reveal the end of His calling to His disciples, for many of His followers it was not “better”, but rather the exact opposite! Notice that not a few, but “many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.”
As much as Christ desires that all men be saved, still the church is not about numbers. When the church begins to understand the true message of Jesus Christ, not many will remain true to their calling. For the truth is that our calling to follow Christ is not so rosy in the flesh.
The cold fact is that many today are in church to get things from God. There are many who are after riches, material things. Others are after vain glory. (There are many false apostles, prophets and teachers within the church today, and all they are seeking after is the glory.)
Many, many more people are following after Jesus to receive bodily healing and such-like things. But few are there to identify their lives with Christ’s by taking up their cross and following Christ in His sufferings and death.
That is why we thank God for the Apostles who, led by Peter, stayed put and endured the difficult prospect that was staring them in the face. By then, they probably had began to understand that even though Jesus had entered Jerusalem “triumphantly”, ultimately He would lose His life right there.
Today, more than ever, we need to walk in the reality of our relationship with our Lord Jesus… the reality of living a crucified life, the reality of losing our life, however difficult and painful it might be.
Jesus said, “Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it” (Lk. 17:33).
We need to marry our lives to that very principle.
[Below: A pride of lionesses in the Serengeti National Park. Needless to say, lions have incredibly fast reflexes and are not to be tangled with]
Photo Credit: Prisca Ambe