Monday, December 7, 2009

And They Withdrew

In the post, Just Curious, I mentioned that the people were following Jesus to get their physical needs met. They were following Him out of their desire for a political Messiah that would make no demands of them, but of whom they could make their requests. Today, I want to address the discourse Jesus had with the crowd the following day. Remember the day before, He fed 5,000 men, not including women and children, John MacArthur makes mention that this would bring the total number of people close to 20,000.
The verses we are going to discuss today grieves me because we see from these verses the fickleness of the crowd. The selfishness and spiritual blindness of those who were curious about Him and therefore followed Him out of their sinful shallowness.
It again begs me to ask the question, "Am I following Jesus for all the benefits and none of the cost"? And the question, "What is it about my human nature that wants to cut and run when I don't understand some of the teachings of Jesus?" It isn't as if He is asking for my opinion. I can accept Him or reject Him but I can not confirm Him into the image of who I think He should be. We see that most of the crowd chose the latter, they rejected Him because they followed Him out of their selfish ambitions and the cost of following Him proved to be too great.
Let's continue on with the discourse between Jesus and the crowd mentioned in the post, Just Curious, So they said to Him, "What then do You do for a sign, so that we may see, and believe You? What work do you perform? Our fathers ate manna in the wilderness; as it is written, He, being Moses, gave them bread out of heaven to eat." Let me break into the discourse and mention, the day before, these same people were supernaturally fed fish and loaves of bread. They were now asking Jesus for yet another sign to prove His deity. Jesus then said to them, " Truly, truly, I say to you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread out of heaven, but it is My Father who gives you the true bread out of heaven, and gives life to the world." Then they said to Him, "Lord, always give us this bread." Jesus said to them, " I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and will not thirst But I said to you that you have seen Me, and yet do not believe." Therefore the Jews were grumbling about Him, because He said, "I am the bread that came down out of heaven." They were saying, "is not this Jesus the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? 'How does He now say, I have come down out of heaven'?" John 6:30-36,41-42
Merely a man they thought, a man blessed by the power of God but not God Himself. This is why they didn't understand and they grumbled just as their forefathers grumbled in the wilderness. The saddest words, "and yet you do not believe". I know you are thinking, "but wait, they asked for this bread that Jesus was referring" and yet we see here that Jesus knew their motive for wanting this physical bread and He knew of their unbelief. Later in the discourse He states, "I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever' and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is my flesh." John 6:51. This declaration incensed the crowd, they started arguing with one another and asking,"How can this man give us His flesh to eat?" John 6:52
This was His final teaching for many of His disciples, for we read in verses 66-68, "As a result of this teaching many of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore. So Jesus said to the twelve, " You do not want to go away also, do you?" This is where Simon Peter declares, " Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life. We have believe and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God."
Sweet sister, may I implore you to listen to the heartbreaking words of Jesus, "You do not want to go away also, do you?"
When death takes a love one too early. When those you love start to turn away from the truth. When your marriage is falling apart. When your singleness has caused you to question God's precepts. When Jesus gets too big for your box. When your finite mind can't comprehend an infinite God. May you hear His sweet and tender voice ask you, "You don't want to go away also, do you?" May our response be like Simon Peter's "Lord, to whom shall we go?"

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