This is Day Twelve of Christ Church Manchester’s lent devotionals, where we are breaking down the book of John. Written by Andrew Dowdeswell.
John 6: 60 – 71:
Following Jesus ain’t easy, right?
That isn’t some ground-shaking, mind-blowing, world-altering statement. It is something that, as followers of Jesus, many of you will be able to testify to.
That is not to say that Christianity is complex. In fact, I would argue that it’s all a rather simple concept, complicated by imperfect humans. Love God and love people. That is all that Jesus calls us to do. And yet it can be a laboriously difficult and overwhelming task.
In today’s passage, we see the consequences of the commitment that is necessary when entering into a relationship with Jesus.
Jesus was teaching to crowds of apparent disciples about what we now call communion. In a way that was confusing and challenging to the Jews at the time – the demographic that dominated the crowd as Jesus was teaching in the synagogue at Capernaum – Jesus hailed himself not just a good man, but the God-Man; what he would later describe as the way, the truth and the life.
For people who saw this as blasphemy, as offensive teaching, as teaching that was not only baffling but biting, this was where they would end their following of Jesus.
In verse 66, we see that ‘many’ would turn back, deserting Jesus and His teachings.
How often have we felt like doing just that: just accepting that life is simply too hard; just giving up after ending that relationship; after getting fired from that job; after failing that exam; after bereaving for that friend, or parent, or child?
Life is not easy. Neither is following Jesus. That is exactly why we must ask for His help.
The men who were persistent with their relationship with Jesus, who would ultimately die for Jesus, are now the men who sit closest to Him in heaven. Peter, the rock on whom the built is built; John, Jesus’ closest friend; Stephen, the first martyr, stoned for proclaiming His almighty name. All of them are with Jesus now, in heaven, having, quite frankly, a whale of a time.
I cannot wait to get there.
But before then, I will ask God for resilience and perseverance. Both are needed in this life are difficult discipleship.
Written by:Andy Dowdeswell