Summary: Discipleship might be difficult, but, in the end, it will be worth it.
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THE BIG IDEA: Discipleship might be difficult, but, in the end, it will be worth it.
TRUE & FALSE DISCIPLES
“This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?” (v. 60). Jesus’ teaching was not hard to understand, but hard to tolerate. “This is more than we can stomach!” Jesus was talking about giving up His life. The people didn’t want to follow him to a violent death. They wanted Him to lead them to victory over the Romans.
They didn’t really want Jesus as their king (cf. vv. 14-15); they wanted Him as their pawn.
“Does this offend you?” (v. 61).
“From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him” (v. 66). The term “disciples” here refers to all who traveled with Jesus and listened to His teaching. Most of the multitude were temporary disciples, not committed disciples.
Three times in John’s Gospel Jesus declares what a true disciple really is:
1. A true disciple holds to His TEACHING
“To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, ‘If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples’” (John 8:31).
2. A true disciple LOVES others
“By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35).
3. A true disciple bears much FRUIT
“This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples” (John 15:8).
A PROBING QUESTION
“‘You do not want to leave too, do you?’ Jesus asked the Twelve” (v. 67).
Why did Jesus ask this question to His most loyal followers?
1. Some will BETRAY Christ
a. Example: JUDAS
“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.)” (vv. 70-71).
b. His motivation: SELFISHNESS
“But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, ‘Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.’ He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it” (John 12:4-6).
“Then one of the Twelve—the one called Judas Iscariot—went to the chief priests and asked, ‘What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?’ So they counted out for him thirty silver coins. From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over” (Matthew 26:14-16).
c. His response: REGRET and DESPAIR
“When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty silver coins to the chief priests and the elders. ‘I have sinned,’ he said, ‘for I have betrayed innocent blood.’ ‘What is that to us?’ they replied. ‘That’s your responsibility.’ So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself” (Matthew 27:3-5).
2. Some will DENY Christ
a. Example: PETER
“Peter asked, ‘Lord, why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.’ Then Jesus answered, ‘Will you really lay down your life for me? I tell you the truth, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times!’ (John 13:37-38).
b. His motivation: FEAR
“‘You are not one of his disciples, are you?’ the girl at the door asked Peter. He replied, ‘I am not.’ It was cold, and the servants and officials stood around a fire they had made to keep warm. Peter also was standing with them, warming himsef. As Simon Peter stood warming himself, he was asked, ‘You are not one of his disciples, are you?’ He denied it, saying, ‘I am not.’ One of the high priest’s servants, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, challenged him, ‘Didn’t I see you with him in the olive grove?’ Again Peter denied it, and at that moment a rooster began to crow” (John 18:17-18, 25-27).
c. His response: REGRET and REPENTANCE
“Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: ‘Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.’ And he went outside and wept bitterly” (Luke 22:60b-62).
AN EXCELLENT ANSWER
“Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God’” (vv. 68-69).
1. “There is NOWHERE else to go.”
2. “I have found SATISFACTION in You, Jesus.”
“Then Jesus declared, ‘I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty’” (John 6:35).