There is a word that describes an action that every parent, husband or wife would hate to hear or see! A word called “abandon” By definition this word means “to leave completely and finally; forsake utterly; desert: to abandon a child; to abandon a sinking ship. To give up; discontinue; withdraw from: to abandon a project; to abandon hope. We are about to see this word in action as the crowd begins to walk away because what Jesus said was too hard for them to understand or to demanding and not what they expected. Again they had misplaced affections that blinded them to the truth and to whom Jesus truly was and why he came in the first place. This is a sad part of the conversation that Jesus had with the multitudes! Why? The bible says they walked with Him no more from this point on. To me, this is very sad, maybe it because I’m a preacher. Not only are we about to see that they walked away from the truth, but they also walked away from the gift of salvation! Church family this is tragic and heart wrenching to witness. I remember a dear professor of mine, who told me of a story he went to see a friend who was dying in the hospital and to top it off he didn't have a relationship with Christ. So, the only thing he knew to do was to go to the hospital and share with him the gospel truth! Sadly just as we are about to see this man raised his hand and told him “to leave because he didn’t want to hear this Jesus stuff.” That man died that night! To turn your back on Christ is worse than turning your back on your spouse or child when they need you the most. To walk away from the only one who can save is sad and disturbing all at the same time! It amazes me all the time that people are so hostile towards the things of Christ! It amazes me that God is the punch line or topic to everyone’s joke. It amazes me that people will turn down a free gift of salvation and eternal life, but will spend hundreds of dollars for a chance to win a prize or a house. It amazes me that God would even bother to save us at all. We continue with the discussion between Jesus and the hostile crowd. A crowd, according to the scriptures walked with Him no more! This breaks my heart because this speaks of many if not millions of people today. Truth is lying in the streets through tracts and proclamation of words, on Facebook, Twitter, You Tube and Blogs. And most of all in our hearts, because we have been transformed by the power of God through the Gospel of truth by the Holy Spirit. Sadly people hate truth…….especially the truth of the bible “The fool says in his heart, "There is no God." Psalm 53:1. Sadly this is how people react when the truth of the scriptures are proclaimed. As Friedrich Nietzsche said “There are no facts, only interpretations.” See, when truth is revealed to us, there are only two possible reactions to it: It can be received, or it can be rejected. People receive the truth when they see it for what it is: Truth!
PEOPLE REJECT THE TRUTH FOR MANY REASONS. HERE ARE JUST A FEW:
SOME PEOPLE MISUNDERSTAND IT
The people misunderstand the truth and, as a result, they rejected it. (v61). Just as Nicodemus thought Jesus was talking about gynecology, when He was actually speaking of the new birth. The woman at the well thought Jesus was talking about plumbing, when He was actually talking about Himself, the Water of Life. The man at the pool of Bethesda thought Jesus was talking about a rescue mission, when He was actually talking placing faith in Him. Sadly though this trend continues today! That is why people join the church and are baptized without ever being saved and realize what they are committing too. That is why the Word of God is so offensive to so many people.
SOME PEOPLE ARE OPPOSED TO IT
As Jesus revealed Himself and His demands in this passage, the Jews were in constant and increasing opposition, back in (v41-42; 52) and here in (v60). The Jews were not able to accept His Deity, His impending Death or His claims of Lordship. They opposed Him at every turn and every opportunity! So it is today in and outside the church. Many are opposed to the truths of the Bible and the claims of the Lord Jesus Christ. His call to commitment goes against their desire to live for self, and as a result, they find themselves in opposition to the Lord. We need to remember the claims of the Gospel, the cross and the blood of Jesus are designed to be offensive! Jesus warned us about this! "Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.” Matt 10:34. In John 15:18-19 Jesus explains what’s going to happen if we continue to follow Him "If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.
SOME PEOPLE ARE BLIND TO IT
All the way through this passage, the Jews had this approach to Jesus: "Show us and we will believe." They had already seen Him feed five thousand with five loaves of bread and 2 fish previously. They had already assumed that He had somehow, miraculously, crossed the lake, (v22-25) yet they were still blind to Who He was and what He was doing. When Jesus made His claims and issued His call to commitment as the Bread of Life, they were unable to see the truth because they were blind! The sad fact of the matter is this: All men are blind to the truth until their eyes are supernaturally opened by the intervention of God. (v44) “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.” Again we read “And he said “therefore I have said to you that no can come to me unless it has been granted to him by my Father.” (v66). Paul penned these words! “In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” 2 Cor 4:4. That is why so many people reject the truth and embrace the lie then and more so today, they are simply blinded to the truth! Why? The gospel is an offence to the natural man and without the prompting of Holy Spirit man will remained blind. (v63)
SOME PEOPLE WANT THE EXPERIENCE BUT NOT THE EXPECTATION
These people were following Jesus because He had satisfied their fleshly appetites, v. 1-15. They wanted more of this blessing (v34). In fact, they wanted Jesus to prove that He was greater than Moses, (v22-31). They were looking for something that satisfied their flesh and that made them feel good about themselves. They wanted an experience! They wanted to be following the next king. They wanted the miracles and the sensational. But, when Jesus began to talk about His expectations and issued a call for commitment, they turned away from Him and walked away. Why? They wanted to be carried away in the excitement of the moment with no commitment. The same mentality has developed within the church! There are many today who want a religious experience, but without and expectations. They want to serve God for what they can get out it, without any concern for His glory of His will. They want entertainment and excitement without the commitment that comes along with the proclamation of the truth. As one preacher said “The churches that are growing the fastest today are those who minimize biblical doctrine the requirements of the faith and emphasize entertainment and experience. All you need to succeed today as a church is a contemporary band, a message that challenges no one's life, a youth program that will babysit the children while the parents are lulled to sleep by a "touchy feely" religion that is devoid of the truth!” Ouch, but true! Something to take note of in this passage is that most people who walk away from the things of God…….are selfish! One writer put it this way “We use relationships for what they can do for us and what they can get us, but not for what we give to others and receive from them. We keep our distance from intimacy and trust through our cynicism and calloused hearts.”
They are only concerned about themselves and how they feel. Can you imagine how the disciples felt when the multitude walked away? The same thing happens in the church when you see people walk away and never come back. Heartbreaking and tragic not just for the soul but for the whole body…..the church! The lives of others always affect those who are close by to those who choose to walk away. Can you imagine how the Lord of Heaven felt to see people turn away from the truth and the living hope found in Christ alone? The bible says Jesus wept and had compassion for lost sinners! “And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation.” Luke 19:41-44. God’s heart is grieved when people make a superficial commitment to Him but then bail out. So, what lessons can we learn from this passage? Not everyone can handle the truth! Sometimes, the truth is tough! Sometimes the truth makes demands upon our lives. Sometimes the truth is brutal and seems unfeeling. But, the truth is always true! Remember God’s word is always right and it is always perfect.
One first lesson that we learned is that there will be temporary disciples in the Christian church. We will see a decline in the things of God in the church and in our homes. The revolving door will continue to open and close as people will be either receptive or hostile towards the truth. They walked with Him no more! (v66)
A second lesson that we learned was that true disciples will be tested as to their loyalty to Jesus. Again hard truths call for drastic measures and drastic changes! Are you up for the change? As Jesus asked His disciples if they would also leave Him. (v67). Are you committed to Christ as Him being you’re Saviour or as ATM machine and you only need Him when you’re desperate?
A third lesson from this incident is that true disciples often cannot discern the presence of a false disciple. As Judas walked and ministered with then during the 3 years with Jesus (v70). He mentions Judas as a “devil” which means here in the text “slander of false accuser” This passage could be better rendered “one of you is the devil” Again we see an opportunity to respond to the truth! An opportunity for Judas to come clean and say “help me Lord, I’m the one. I’ve lost confidence in you and seeds of resentment have settled into my heart, and I’m afraid where this will this will lead me. Save me Lord.” But like the others that walked away his silence was evidence to his own misplaced affections.
The fourth lesson is that this incident would have taught the disciples that Jesus does not need a large crowd in order to fulfil his intentions. The only ones, who remained after the thousands upon thousands left, were 12 and one of them was of the devil. (v67-v69). Just as it was for Sodom, only 3 remained. Just as it was when the Ark was built, only 8 entered in. Just as it is here in this passage! Jesus doesn’t need a large crowd in order to fulfil his intentions. Again remember what Jesus said “narrow is the way and few find it” There is a world of people that do not know what the church has, for the church has the Word and the means by which God gives forgiveness and eternal life to poor miserable sinners.......Through the gospel that saves!
SO THE SUNDAY QUESTION IS THIS: Does God truth draw you closer to Him or does it anger you to the point of walking away from Him? You truly need to answer that question this morning before you leave! Why? Your soul depends on it…..this is serious business. We’re talking about your eternal soul and where you will spend eternity! SO I LEAVE YOU WITH THE QUESTION JESUS ASKED HIS DISCIPLES!“Do you want to go away as well?” Are you prepared this weekend, this week for what lies ahead no matter how you might be tested, to say to Christ,"Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life."