Summary: One of the most vital characteristics of a true Christian is loyalty. Even in the secular realm, loyalty is a highly valued trait of character, yet one that is often abused. How loyal are you to God? To your husband or wife? To your nation? To your employ
“Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? Then Simon Peter answered Him, Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the Words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.
Branch Rickey, whose name was recently placed back into our memories in the wonderful movie ‘42’ a story about the baseball great Jackie Robinson, was a devout Christian. Once while head of the old Brooklyn Dodgers, he attended negotiations involving a certain ballplayer’s contract. But in the middle of the meeting, to everyone’s surprise, Ricky threw down his pencil, pushed back his chair, and growled, “The deal’s off.” “Why?” asked the astonished men. “We’re coming along well with these negotiations.” “Because,” said Rickey, “you’ve been talking about a friend of mine, and I don’t like it.”
“But what friend do you mean? We haven’t been talking about anyone, let alone a friend of yours.” “Oh, yes, you have,” replied Rickey. “You’ve mentioned Him in almost every sentence.” And he referred them to their constant profane use of the name of Jesus Christ. The men quickly apologized, and the negotiations continued, minus the cursing. Mr. Rickey showed his loyalty to Jesus Christ by letting these men know that using the name of Jesus in vain just won’t do. I can relate because it sincerely irks me to hear someone refer to the God of the universe as “The Man Upstairs.”
One of the most vital characteristics of a true Christian is loyalty. Even in the secular realm, loyalty is a highly valued trait of character, yet one that is often abused. How loyal are you to God? To your husband or wife? To your nation? To your employer or boss? Obviously, God tells us that if there is a direct conflict, “we ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). I know that men are loyal to themselves, because they say so,” I’ve got to look out for number one” and you’ve guess it—number one is another name for “me, myself, and I.”
At the close of the 6th chapter of John, we find that men were offended by Christ and allow me to add that here in they year 2013 there are men and women who are still offended by Christ. It was in the synagogue while Jesus delivered a message that these men found very offensive. In order to grasp a better understanding of what led to this mass withdrawal we need to identify just who these “many…disciples” were, and what it was that initially drew them to follow Jesus in the first place.
Experimenting With Jesus
Or better yet, why did these men who initially called themselves “disciples” all of a sudden decide to abandon their faith in the end? Well, it was because they approached the faith in the beginning for all of the wrong reasons. Even today, there are those of us who simply come to Jesus as an experiment. They are interested in Him to a certain degree, there were a few who were “almost persuaded” to continue to follow Him—but unfortunately they chose to make Jesus as the equivalent to any common commodity item on the market. You see, they chose to pursue Him on a sort of “trial basis”; curious of what He might or could do for them.
All through the Gospels Jesus is revealed as a wonder worker and a miracle maker, and so to that respect, great crowds followed Him wherever He went, hoping to see one of His signs and wonders. As a result, they were simply putting Jesus to the test. In verse 66, they were first drawn to Him out of a curiosity about His power. They walked away because in their minds—He simply flunked their test. Jesus addressed this type of testing of Him in Luke 11: 29, “And when the people were gathered thick together, he began to say, This is an evil generation: they seek a sign; and there shall no sign be given it, but the sign of Jonas the prophet.” Also in Luke 4: 12 we read, “Jesus answered, "It is said: 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’
They tested Jesus, and the deal-breaker for them is when Jesus said something that was hard and difficult for them to accept. His Words were clearly understood because Jesus is not one to ramble and mumble, they heard what He said! The problem was not in their understanding; the actual problem was in their heart. What did He say that was so offensive to them? He said, “Whosoever eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and will raise him up at the last day” (v.54) this was a deal-breaker for them and they began to argue among themselves as to what He meant by this.