{John 6:66-69; ESV}
After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. So Jesus said to the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” Simon Peter answered him, “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.”

Many of us have gone through a crisis of belief. We thought we had things all figured out and then life didn’t meet our expectations and God seemed to have vanished. Those low points of life can have us shaking our heads as we try to find all the pieces of our shattered dreams. In the end it is very tempting just to walk away.

In the passage leading up to John 6:66-69 we read about a sermon Jesus gave which resulted in thousands of people leaving him. Jesus told those following him that he was the bread from Heaven, and if they hoped to be part of God’s Kingdom they had to eat of his body. This was a teaching that the people did not understand, and they left grumbling. They had pursued Jesus with the hope of making him king, and now they left his presence confused.

One important lesson we can learn from the verses leading up to John 6:66 is that we should never be afraid to tell people the truth. In terms of contemporary evaluation Jesus had preached his worst sermon. He started with thousands of followers, and ends up with just a handful. This sermon drove people away by the hundreds, and Jesus let them go. Jesus didn’t chase after them or revise his teaching but he stood firm on what he said.

Jesus shows us that the kingdom of God is more than numbers. The kingdom of God is about God’s rule coming into the lives of people, it is not about the number of people who make some sort of proclamation of faith. What we need to focus on in our church families isn’t so much how many people show up on a Sunday morning, but how many people have lives that are transformed by the Gospel.

If our focus is on numbers then we will want to make sure not to offend people, because we can’t have people walk away. If our focus is on transforming lives with the Gospel then we will stand firm on what God has said, regardless of the consequences. Though it must always been done in love

As we take a look at this passage, John 6:66-69, we notice that Jesus invited his twelve disciples to leave as well. I would like to suggest that with this question, “Do you want to go away as well?”, Jesus offered the Twelve an opportunity to evaluate why they followed him. These men had to come to grips with why they remained followers of a man who made outrageous claims about himself.

We have all experienced times in our lives when circumstances forced us to examine why we have faith in Jesus. It could be when your spouse is diagnosed with cancer or when you have been unemployed for 6 months and God hasn’t answered your prayers in the way you wanted Him to. I would bet that you have had more than one crisis of belief which forced you to examine your faith.

That is why Peter’s words ring through the centuries: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” The reason we remain faithful to Jesus is because we have discovered that he alone has the words of life. We have come to know that Jesus is indeed the Son of God who has saved us from Satan, sin, and death.

One of the thoughts which helped me through my big crisis of belief 8 years ago was: Jesus brings meaning and understanding to life. In other words, it wasn’t about evidences and arguments that made me trust in Jesus. What helped me to trust Jesus was the way his teaching opened my eyes to see the world the way it really is and the abundant life Jesus had already given me.

Didn’t Peter say the same thing? What he had already heard, seen, and experienced had caused Peter to declare his faith in Jesus and continue to follow him. Peter, with the rest of the disciples, realized that only Jesus had the words of life that they needed. I pray that we all come to that realization.

Questions to Consider:

  • What truth has helped you in your crisis of belief?
  • Do Peter’s words resonate in your heart?
  • How have you discovered life in the teachings of Jesus?
(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)