I have been finding the Gospel of John really quite a challenge. In fact I have been feeling quite discouraged of late, as I have found it much more difficult to write my daily devotionals. I have often found myself confused about what I am reading and wondering what I could write about. Imagine my surprise and relief when I read John 6:60 (above). Jesus had been baffling his listeners more and more by talking about being the bread of life etc… Then he goes too far for many of them, when he points out that spiritual salvation can not be accomplished by human effort. Those that desert him at this point do so because it seems to them that Jesus is saying that the Jewish adherence to the Law of Moses accomplishes nothing. Then he says that the spirit alone gives eternal life and that his own words are the spirit. I can really understand how those who deserted Jesus at this point must have felt. It must have seemed ridiculous to them that Jesus himself was the bread of life and his words were the very essence of the Holy spirit. The final straw was the idea that, as Jesus seemed to be saying, you could only understand Jesus if God chose you, and then gave you to Jesus to be his disciple. On the surface, it really is very hard to understand let alone accept.
John 6:60-71 NLT
Many of his disciples said, “This is very hard to understand. How can anyone accept it?” Jesus was aware that his disciples were complaining, so he said to them, “Does this offend you? Then what will you think if you see the Son of Man ascend to heaven again? The Spirit alone gives eternal life. Human effort accomplishes nothing. And the very words I have spoken to you are spirit and life. 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.) Then he said, “That is why I said that people can’t come to me unless the Father gives them to me.” At this point many of his disciples turned away and deserted him. Then Jesus turned to the Twelve and asked, “Are you also going to leave?” Simon Peter replied, “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. ” Then Jesus said, “I chose the twelve of you, but one is a devil.” He was speaking of Judas, son of Simon Iscariot, one of the Twelve, who would later betray him.
But not all the disciples deserted Jesus. Simon Peter expressed his faith quite simply, and it is such a simple position, that all Christians today can still relate to it. When Jesus asked him if he would also leave he said: “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. ” (John 6:68-69). My goal is to learn these two pivotal verses and carry them in my heart so that in times of doubt and confusion I might always remember Simon Peter’s simple faith.
1 Samuel 10:1-11:15, John 6:43-71, Psalms 107:1-43, Proverbs 15:1-3