“‘But there are some of you who do not believe.’ (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) And he said, ‘This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.’ After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. So Jesus said to the twelve, ‘Do you want to go away as well?’ Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.’” – John 6: 64-69
If I could choose a superpower, premonition would be near the top of the list. I tend to get tangled up in the what-ifs of life, thereby making myself and my poor husband crazy. It just seems like decision-making would be so much easier if I knew what was coming. I have, on multiple occasions, cried out to God that I would happily obey his will, if only he’d show me the blueprint. (Of course, what I usually mean is I want approval rights, but that’s a topic for another day.) In any case, as we reach the end of John 6, I’m not so sure I want to know the future.
At the beginning of the chapter, Jesus was at the height of his fame and popularity. Stories about his teachings and mighty works spread like wildfire. Massive throngs gathered wherever he went. People left their homes and businesses, travelled great distances, and sometimes camped out for days to experience his presence. John tells us that the crowd was “about to take him by force and make him king” after he fed the multitude (v. 15). When he slipped away, they followed him across the sea to Capernaum and packed the synagogue. He was like a rockstar!
By the end of the chapter, however, most of those same followers turned away from Jesus, not in dribs and drabs, but in droves. Jesus could have prolonged his time in the spotlight, and perhaps his life, by performing a few more miracles or watering down his message, but personal glory and safety were never even on his radar. He devoted his life to one purpose: fulfilling the will of the Father who sent him. He did so, even knowing that his path would lead to rejection, humiliation, torture, and a cruel death.
It’s a common theme, but take a moment to reflect on the gravity of that foresight. Every time Jesus made a decision, he did so with the knowledge that he would ultimately end up on the cross. He knew that many in the crowd would fall away as soon as he stopped performing and started preaching, but he preached anyway. He knew that proclaiming the truth would lead others to reject him as both man and Messiah, but he proclaimed it anyway. He knew that one of his disciples would betray him and another would deny him, and yet he continued to share his life, love, and ministry with them. He knew that much of the world would repudiate his sacrifice, but he nevertheless offered them (and us) salvation and eternal life.
A few weeks ago, we looked at Jesus as the perfect role model. In today’s reading, we see him in action. And, while we cannot predict our future here on earth, we can place our hope and our expectations in the perfect future and eternal life he promises.
May we live in anticipation of the perfect future that awaits, no matter what the present holds. We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Why is trust so difficult? Unlike all the broken promises of this world, God’s redeeming promises are absolute, trustworthy, and true. The covenants of God afford us with abundant reasons to trust God with his plan for our lives. Trusting God: Redeeming Promises of the Word small group Bible study explores the six major redeeming promises of God found in his Word. Learn more about God’s commitment to his people, the nature of a covenant, and how you can find your security in being a child of God’s redeeming promises. Learn more about God’s promises today.
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