Hunkered Down Devotion

John 6:60-69 (Voice)
60 Many disciples heard what He said, and they had questions of their own.
Disciples: How are we supposed to understand all of this? It is a hard teaching.
61 Jesus was aware that even His disciples were murmuring about this.
Jesus: Has My teaching offended you? 62 What if you were to see the Son of Man ascend to return to where He came from? 63 The Spirit brings life. The flesh has nothing to offer. The words I have been teaching you are spirit and life, 64 but some of you do not believe.
From the first day Jesus began to call disciples, He knew those who did not have genuine faith. He knew, too, who would betray Him.
Jesus: 65 This is why I have been telling you that no one comes to Me without the Father’s blessing and guidance.
66 After hearing these teachings, many of His disciples walked away and no longer followed Jesus.
Jesus (to the twelve): 67 Do you want to walk away too?
Simon Peter: 68 Lord, if we were to go, whom would we follow? You speak the words that give everlasting life. 69 We believe and recognize that You are the Holy One sent by God.

If anyone ever told you that following Jesus and being a Christian was easy, I hope by now you have figured out that they were lying.  The passage above allows us to see some of the first followers of Jesus coming to this recognition.

Picture this: Jesus is teaching, and you are nodding along – you like what you hear, it feels right, like you always knew these things to be true.  Then all of a sudden, Jesus says something, and your head stops nodding.  At first, you think you must have misheard, but then just a moment later, he repeats himself and you don’t like what you heard anymore the second time around.  

Who knows what it is that will trigger this reaction for you: maybe Jesus told you to love someone that you don’t even like; maybe Jesus said that you are to forgive, no matter how many times you have been wronged; maybe you heard him say that there is enough room in God’s family for everyone, and you don’t want to be there if they will be; or was it when he talked about giving up some of your stuff and giving it away.  

The reality is, if you are paying attention, if you have been reading or listening long enough, then you will have come across at least one thing that is a ‘hard teaching’ for you.  If you think about it, this is really obvious – our ways are not God’s ways, so if we seek to follow God, there are going to be points of tension and conflict.

The question isn’t if this will happen or not, but rather, how will you respond when it does?  Here Jesus’ challenge you and your presuppositions and turn and walk away or will you take a different route.  Or will you respond like Simon Peter: Where would we go, Jesus?  

The subtext of Simon Peter’s comment is something like: Jesus, following you is hard, that is for sure.  But, it is also sure that following you is worth it.  Why is following Jesus worth it?  Because, as Simon Peter says: Jesus has the words of life.  Or to put it even more simply: Jesus is life.  To walk away from him is to walk away from life itself.  

Sharing God’s Love,

Prayer: Lord, help us to accept, believe, and follow all that you have to teach us.  Even the hard parts.  Lead us into your light and life.  Amen.

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