Would You Turn Away?
Yet though he slay me. John 6.60-69
This is a scene that makes my heart ache for Jesus. The people have seen his heart—they have heard his teaching, been fed by him, and seen him heal . . . but now, once something is required of them, they turn away from Jesus. What’s required? To be a follower of Jesus, they must submit, and choose holiness. Jesus watches, as they turn away, in open rejection of him.
It follows that he would ask his twelve men if they too would leave him. John writes:
“Therefore, when many of His disciples heard this, they said, “This teaching is hard! Who can accept it?”
Jesus, knowing in Himself that His disciples were complaining about this, asked them, “Does this offend you? Then what if you were to observe the Son of Man ascending to where He was before? The Spirit is the One who gives life. The flesh doesn’t help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life. But there are some among you who don’t believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning those who would not believe and the one who would betray Him.) He said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to Me unless it is granted to him by the Father.”
From that moment many of His disciples turned back and no longer accompanied Him. Therefore Jesus said to the Twelve, “You don’t want to go away too, do you?”
Simon Peter answered, “Lord, who will we go to? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that You are the Holy One of God!”
what would cause you to turn away from jesus?
Would you leave Jesus if the way grew too rough? If trials came into your life in waves, so that they knocked you down, would you leave him? Seriously, I am sure you have wondered why Job did not leave God … He suffered tremendously as he lost all his material wealth, his children, and then his health—being covered with painful boils. His wife even told him to curse God, yet his response was, 'though he slay me, yet I will hope in him.' Job 13.15
Don't misunderstand--Job questioned and he wrestled with God, but nonetheless, he held the course. Yes, he stayed at his post, and said, "but he knows the way that I take, when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold . . .” Job 23.9-11 “I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth." Job 19.25 Oh God, give us the strength of your servant, Job!
what would cause you to turn away from jesus? ‘Unanswered prayer, or the perception of it? You have prayed and prayed and prayed that your unbelieving spouse would bow her knee to Jesus Christ, and yet, every Sunday, you go to church alone, and you never see a change in her cold demeanor when the things of God are mentioned. ‘Where are you, God?’ you cry. ‘Don’t you want us to share you, before I pass from this earth? I am a gray-haired man, don’t you see me here?!’ (So says a friend I have from the gym.) Mom, you have prayed and prayed for your wayward son to turn around and come home to the teaching he learned at your knee, to the things he learned in Sunday School and Youth Group, and Christian school, and still he sows to the wind, and reaps accordingly. ‘God, save my boy, or have you given him over? O God, don’t give him over, I pray thee!’
How many prayers have been prayed that seem to go unanswered, believing one? Take heart. John 16.33 He who watches over Israel never slumbers or sleeps. Psalm 121.4 Nothing that happens in your life catches your Father by surprise. There is not a single prayer you have prayed that Jesus has not heard. Do not turn away from him because Jesus himself said his Father is always at work, and so is he – John 5.17.
what would cause you to turn away from jesus? I pray that your answer is ‘absolutely nothing and no one.’ Peter had it right, ‘Lord, to who will we go to?’ or ‘where else will we go? You are the only one who has the answers we need; You alone are life and truth. You alone are good.’ When he got the news that his ten children had just been killed and all his possessions and riches destroyed, Job "fell to the ground and worshipped saying 'Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return there. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord" Job 1.20-21 And like Job, may we say, ‘yet though he slay me, still I will trust him.
Something to think about. I'm in for the long haul . . . 'hope you are too.