There was a huge crowd surrounding Jesus, claiming to be His disciples, and nodding their heads in agreement with this Miracle Worker. Yes, we’re on board with you multiplying food to feed all of us. Yes, we want full bellies forevermore. Yes, we’re curious how you can cross a lake without a boat.
They were tracking with Him on it all—until He started talking about eating His flesh and drinking His blood. You can just picture the puzzled faces and the side glances to one another… is He serious? These people, who once claimed to be His disciples, shook their heads, “This is very hard to understand. How can anyone accept it?” At this point, many turned away and deserted Him.
Today, we may nod our head in agreement when Jesus tells us to rest on the Sabbath; we have no qualms kicking up our feet and having an excuse to relax on the weekend. We can even get behind loving our neighbor, putting others first, and tithing.
But when He tells us to forgive our enemies, that’s harder. When He tells us to abstain from sexual immorality, that goes against the desires warring within us. And when He tells us we can only serve one master—Him or money—we try to find loopholes because maybe we can find a way to love both.
In these moments, Jesus turns to us and asks just as He did to the Twelve, “Are you also going to leave?” Because it’s our choice. Will we follow Jesus even when we’d rather not? Will we obey His commands even when we wish otherwise? And when plans don’t go as we wish and we face trouble and hardship instead of easy-living, will we turn away from our faith?
May we be the Simon Peters of our day and reply, “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words that give eternal life. We believe, and we know you are the Holy One of God.”
- When has it been difficult for you to understand God, His commands, or His plan?
- May we decide today that whatever comes our way, our faith and allegiance are always His. Commit to memory Simon Peter’s reply, so in these trying moments, we can declare this same devotion: “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words that give eternal life. We believe, and we know you are the Holy One of God.”
41 Then the people began to murmur in disagreement because he had said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” 42 They said, “Isn’t this Jesus, the son of Joseph? We know his father and mother. How can he say, ‘I came down from heaven’?”
43 But Jesus replied, “Stop complaining about what I said. 44 For no one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them to me, and at the last day I will raise them up. 45 As it is written in the Scriptures, ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me. 46 (Not that anyone has ever seen the Father; only I, who was sent from God, have seen him.)
47 “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes has eternal life. 48 Yes, I am the bread of life! 49 Your ancestors ate manna in the wilderness, but they all died. 50 Anyone who eats the bread from heaven, however, will never die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live forever; and this bread, which I will offer so the world may live, is my flesh.”
52 Then the people began arguing with each other about what he meant. “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” they asked.
53 So Jesus said again, “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you cannot have eternal life within you. 54 But anyone who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise that person at the last day. 55 For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. 56 Anyone who eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. 57 I live because of the living Father who sent me; in the same way, anyone who feeds on me will live because of me. 58 I am the true bread that came down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will not die as your ancestors did (even though they ate the manna) but will live forever.”
59 He said these things while he was teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.
Many Disciples Desert Jesus
60 Many of his disciples said, “This is very hard to understand. How can anyone accept it?”
61 Jesus was aware that his disciples were complaining, so he said to them, “Does this offend you? 62 Then what will you think if you see the Son of Man ascend to heaven again? 63 The Spirit alone gives eternal life. Human effort accomplishes nothing. And the very words I have spoken to you are spirit and life. 64 But some of you do not believe me.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning which ones didn’t believe, and he knew who would betray him.) 65 Then he said, “That is why I said that people can’t come to me unless the Father gives them to me.”
66 At this point many of his disciples turned away and deserted him.67 Then Jesus turned to the Twelve and asked, “Are you also going to leave?”
68 Simon Peter replied, “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words that give eternal life. 69 We believe, and we know you are the Holy One of God.”
70 Then Jesus said, “I chose the twelve of you, but one is a devil.” 71 He was speaking of Judas, son of Simon Iscariot, one of the Twelve, who would later betray him.