On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?”
Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you? Then what if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life. Yet there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them.”
From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.
“You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve.
Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.”
Then Jesus replied, “Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!” (He meant Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, who, though one of the Twelve, was later to betray him.) – John 6:60-71
Why did Jesus’ words cause many of his followers to desert him? They may have realized that he wasn’t going to the mighty warrior or king they expected? They also realized that he was all about faith, not good works and that his teachings were difficult and sometimes offensive. He wanted them to understand that there was no middle ground with him. Jesus was not trying to have people reject him, he was simply telling them the truth.
After some had deserted him, Jesus asked the twelve if they were going to leave as well. Peter replied, “To whom shall we go? They knew that there was no other way but to stick with Jesus.
Questions to ponder:
- What might cause someone to stop following Jesus?
- What has kept you from turning away from Jesus?