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Turned Away

Turned Away

03 August 2011

Reading: 2 Kings 22; 2 Chronicles 34; John 6

Scripture:

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. (John 6:66-68 NLT)

The events of chapter 6 of John’s Gospel became a turning point in Jesus’ ministry and for many of his followers. The story begins with the miraculous multiplication of food to feed a hungry crowd. Jesus used the event to test and teach his closest followers, to allow them to participate in a miracle, and to meet practical needs. Then, in the early morning, Jesus walked on water, calmed a raging storm, and saved their lives!

Before long crowds had gathered again, asking to see more miracles (these were the curious, who wanted to be entertained), and asking for bread from heaven—“Moses gave our ancestors manna. What do you have to offer?” (these were the consumers, who only wanted God’s provision).

Jesus shifted the conversation from the natural to the spiritual and from the temporal to the eternal, and many of his disciples began to say, “This is very hard to understand and even harder to accept!” At this point, many of his disciples turned away and deserted him. They didn’t stop believing in God. They didn’t stop being Jews. They stopped following Jesus!

Among the crowds at church and even among the committed followers of Jesus, there’s a mixture of motivations (exciting experiences, provision and prosperity, being numbered among the “good people,” and hunger for the eternal and transcendent). In my own heart, there’s a mixture of motivations, desires, and expectations. When Jesus decides it’s time to step it up, to dig a little deeper, to test the real motivation, he could ask me the same question he asked the Twelve, “Are you going to leave, too? Are you going ease back into a more comfortable religion, to settle for a less demanding faith?”

Prayer:

Father, I am a follower of Jesus. You brought me to yourself through faith in your Son, Jesus Christ. Where would I go? You alone have the words that give eternal life. I believe your Word and your words. I choose to follow. By your grace and mercy. Amen.

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