Sunday, March 29, 2009

Hard Saying

John 6:60 When many of his disciples heard it, they said, "This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?" 61 But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples were grumbling about this, said to them, "Do you take offense at this? 62 Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? 63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. 64 But there are some of you who do not believe." (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) 65 And he said, "This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father."

66 After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. 67 So Jesus said to the Twelve, "Do you want to go away as well?" 68 Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, 69 and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God." 70 Jesus answered them, "Did I not choose you, the Twelve? And yet one of you is a devil." 71 He spoke of Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the Twelve, was going to betray him.

Jesus had just been talking about how we need to eat His flesh and drink His blood and many were offended by this type of speaking. Of course they had not had their hears and eyes open to what He was actually saying. In the Jewish culture this would have been very hard to hear, sin blood was unclean and they would do almost anything to make sure they were clean.

But Jesus was, not so subtly, sending away those He was not drawing to Himself. It is only He who draws and it is only He who actually keeps those whom He draws. What a blessed assurance that it is all His work. When we have no strength to hang on, it doesn't really matter because He is the One hanging on to us in the first place. His grip will not fail.

It must have been really strange for the disciples to watch the exodus of the people who were following Him. It's easy to follow when everyone else is following and everything is going positively. Were they getting discouraged now? Jesus knows their hearts and so He asks them straight out, "Do you want to go away as well?" Is this so hard that you want to leave with everyone else?

Of course Peter is the first to answer and he gets it almost right. "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God." There is no place we can go once we have started to follow the Savior. Every other place we turn will lead to heartache and lost. He is our bread to eat and our very life. Once the light has been turned on in our hearts, we will not settle for fumbling around in the dark. Jesus gently reminds them that He is the One who has turned on the light, not them.

The Way of The Master is narrow and lined with so many pitfalls and rocks to fall on to, but once we are on this path, there in no room to turn around and it is singular in direction. He will not allow us to turn back. We are kept from harm by His hand and drawn by Him as we see more clearly what is waiting at the end of the path.

"Oh for that day when we'll sing with the angels!"

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