Summary: #22 in the series. This text details three Amazing Attitudes towards Jesus.
A Study of the Book of John
“That You May Believe”
Sermon # 22
“Will You Turn Away?”
It is amazing to consider that chapter six of John’s gospel began with the amazing reception to the teaching of Jesus. In verse two we read, “Then a great multitude followed Him, because they saw His signs which He performed…” And yet in verse sixty-six of that same chapter we read, “From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more.” What a difference. The problem was that there were those who wanted the blessing of following Jesus without the problems associated with making a real commitment. As long as it was convenient, as long as the blessings kept flowing, as long as everyday was a mountain top experience, as long as no real work was required, as long as no deep commitment was expected, these people are with you. But when a walk with Jesus requires more … then that is a different story.
Now a time of testing begins. Jesus tells them that it is now time to for them to begin thinking about spiritual things. In verse sixty we read, “Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this, said, “This is a hard saying; who can understand it?”
This verse tells us that many of the disciples found what Jesus had been saying in the previous verses about His being “the bread of life” a hard saying. The Greek word (skleros) translated “hard” means not hard to understand but hard to accept. The problem was not that they did not understand, the problem is that they did understand and because they did they came to a very important decision.
It has been proven down through the centuries that it is not intellectual difficulty that keeps people from believing as much as it is accepting the moral demands of Christ. Many refuse to follow Christ not because they are intellectually puzzled but because of its challenges their way of living.
In fact Jesus does want people to decide. With they follow Him or not! Will they commit themselves to Him without reservation or not. There is no such thing as half way committed.
Jesus was making demands that the crowd were not willing to grant. They had come to Jesus to get something from Him but when it came to suffering for Him or giving to Him they quit. They were unwilling to join the company of the committed! In verse sixty-one Jesus asks, “Does this offend you?” or literally “Does this cause you to stumble (skandalizo)?” It would seem that some stumbled over the whole issue that he was God incarnate. In the earlier presentation of Himself as the true bread that came down from heaven (vv. 33,38,51) He had certainly implied if not declared outright that He had existed before his physical birth. They were not ready to accept that He was God come in the flesh.
Also offensive to them was the idea that Jesus Christ had to earn salvation for them. Jesus was to go to the cross to pay for salvation and they would have to receive salvation as a free gift from Him or not receive it at all. They found it very objection-able that there was nothing they could do to earn salvation on their on merit.
Today from the text beginning in verse sixty-six I want you to see Three Amazing Attitudes towards Jesus.
First, There Is An Amazing Defection (vv. 66-67)
“From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more.”
The verse tells us “from that time” or “arising from this,” ”because of this” the number of those who followed Christ diminished.
•Jesus asks a Question (v. 67)
It no doubt shook the disciples to have so many turn from following Christ. And so in verse sixty-seven Jesus quietly turns to his disciples and asks them this question, “Do you also want to go away.” I like the way it is rendered in the King James Version, “Will you also go away?” When the Lord asks His question the “You” is emphatic and can be understood to say, “No matter whatever the case will be with others, you will not go away, will you?”
It is a simple question, but it is one that must have cut deeply into the hearts and minds of the disciples; for it was directed at all of them. Once again we need to under-stand that Jesus did not ask this question because he did not know the answer, he asked the question because the disciples needed to grapple with the answer.
Not Only Is There Is An Amazing Defection but…
Secondly, There Is An Amazing Declaration - Peter’s Answer (Peter’s Confession of Faith) (vv. 68-69)