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).