Calling It Quits?

Tuesday: Second Week of Lent
John 6:41-71

Have you ever considered abandoning Jesus and if so, what stopped you?

Jesus just fed five thousand people with only five loaves and two fish. He then walked on rough waters while a strong wind blew. Following these miraculous events, Jesus identified Himself as the Bread of Life sent by the Heavenly Father. He is the One who people must believe in for eternal life. As if those words weren’t eye opening enough, He told His listeners that unless they metaphorically ate His flesh and drank His blood they would forfeit this eternal life! Jesus used these images to make His claim and call—He was the Messiah, the Christ, the way to God the Father and they needed to believe in Him. It is then that we read: “From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him” (6:66).

Following Jesus is a challenging venture. Scripture reveals that it was “disciples,” not bystanders, who abandoned Jesus. I surmise that they left because of Jesus’ claims about Himself. His claims were provocative, revolutionary, and uncompromising. Jesus was at the same time charismatic and offensive. He revealed Himself to be more than a brilliant rabbi or powerful miracle worker; He was the source of eternal life, Lord over life and death! Unless that revelation becomes one’s core conviction, signalling that one is all in with Jesus, He seems easier to ignore or even abandon. I am mindful of the words of the thirteenth-century mystic Meister Eckhart, who said, “There are plenty of Christians to follow the Lord halfway, but not the other half” (Quoted in Thomas Kelly, Holy Obedience, 26).

As you reflect upon Jesus, what are your convictions about His identity? Will they strengthen your resolve to follow Him or leave you susceptible to calling it quits?

 

Philip A. Gunther is Director of Ministry at SKMB Conference and is a part of Parliament Community Church in Regina, SK.

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