So Long

Can real disciples ever turn back from Jesus?

The Gospel of John: John 6.60-71

Read and meditate on John 6.66.
Many of those who had been following Jesus, and thought of themselves as disciples, now turned back. If He wasn’t going to feed them, or explain to their satisfaction every hard saying, then so long.

                                                    66As
of that time, therefore, many who had been
with Him turned back, and would not walk again
with Him.

- John 6.66

Reflect
1.  Why did these people turn from Jesus? How can you guard against this ever becoming true of you? Complete the following prayer: Keep my heart loyal to You, O Lord! Do not let me…

2.  John uses the phrase “walked with Him no more”to describe those who went back from following Jesus. He’d been referring to these people as disciples. Were they really disciples? Why or why not? Is it possible today that some people who think of themselves as disciples aren’t in fact walking with Jesus? Explain. Father, keep me close to Jesus. Guard my heart against turning away from Him, even when…

3.  Why is “walk with Him”an apt way of describing what it means to be a disciple? How does this idea apply to your daily life in the Lord? I want to walk with You, Lord, and today that will involve…

4.  To keep from turning back from Jesus when push comes to shove, what must we have as our focus in life? What understanding of life must be our understanding? How can believers encourage one another in this matter? Today, Lord, let me encourage another believer to…

5.  How would you counsel a new believer against turning back from Jesus and walking with Him no more? Bring together your prayers from questions 1-4 into one prayer.

Summary
“The medical men called surgeons pass for being cruel but really deserve pity. For is it not pitiful to cut away the dead flesh of another person with merciless knives without being moved by his pain? Is it not pitiful that the one who is curing the patient is callous to his sufferings and has to appear as his enemy? Yet this is the order of nature. While truth is always bitter, a pleasant disposition waits upon evildoing. Isaiah goes naked without blushing as a type of the captivity to come. Jeremiah is sent from Jerusalem to the Euphrates (a river in Mesopotamia) and leaves his girdle to be marred in the Chaldean camp among the Assyrians hostile to his people. Ezekiel is told to eat bread made of mingled seeds and sprinkled with the dung of people and cattle. He has to see his wife die without shedding a tear. Amos is driven from Samaria. Why is he driven from it? Surely in this case, as in the others, because he was a spiritual surgeon who cut away the parts diseased by sin and urged people to repentance. The apostle Paul says, ‘Have I therefore become your enemy because I tell you the truth?’ The Savior himself found it no different. Many of the disciples left him because his sayings seemed hard.” Jerome (347-420 AD)

Jesus is neither cold nor indifferent to the fact that people turned away from Him in large numbers. But He will not cater to their whims or demands. He has come with a message of grace and salvation, but that can only be received on God’s terms, not man’s. Meditate on John 20.21. What are the implications of this for you?

Closing Prayer
You are my hope, O Lord GOD;
You aremy trust from my youth.
By You I have been upheld from birth;
You are He who took me out of my mother’s womb.
My praise shall be continually of You.
I have become as a wonder to many,
But You are my strong refuge.
Let my mouth be filled with Your praise
And withYour glory all the day.

Psalm 71.5-8

Psalm 71.4-8, 3 (Solid Rock: My Hope is Built on Nothing Less)
From wicked hands redeem me, Lord, from all who wrest and break Your Word;
My hope, my confidence from youth, my praise forever reaches You.
    A Rock of habitation be; command Your Word to rescue Me;
    My Rock and Fortress ever be!

While many see in me a sign, I shelter in Your strength will find.
Lord, fill my mouth with endless praise and with Your glory all my days.
    A Rock of habitation be; command Your Word to rescue Me;
    My Rock and Fortress ever be!

T. M. Moore

Jesus is the Centerpiece of all Scripture, as He Himself explained (Jn. 5.39). But how can we learn to see Him there? How do the primary themes of Scripture revolve around Jesus? Our online course, Introduction to Biblical Theology, shows you how best to get at, get into, and get with the Word of God, so that you can grow more consistently in the Lord. It’s free, and you can study at your own pace. For more information or to register, click here.

We are happy to offer each week’s Scriptorium studies in a free weekly PDF, suitable for personal or group use. You can download all the studies in our series on the Gospel of John by clicking here. Please prayerfully consider sharing with The Fellowship of Ailbe through your giving. You can contribute to The Fellowship by clicking the Contribute button at the website or by sending your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 19 Tyler Drive, Essex Junction, VT 05452.

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series IV a and b: John, edited by Joel C. Elowsky, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006. Verse translation of John by T. M. Moore.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT. 

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