But Jesus, knowing in Himself that His disciples were grumbling about this, said to them, "Do you take offense at this? Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where He was before? It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. 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. 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." (from John 6:35-71)
* * *Jesus was not surprised that some many of His disciples left Him, and that so many leave Him still. He knew good and well how offensive He was, and is. He warned His disciples that not everyone would believe the Word of God. And let's face it: it's a hard thing to believe. God created the world in 6 days. The whole world in six 24hr periods of time. Then He flooded it. He killed everything that couldn't swim or fit on Noah's ark because Adam and Eve ate the one thing they were told not to eat. As the result of that offense, God condemned the whole world and everyone in it so that now everybody gets sick and everybody dies.
|by Francisco de Zurbaran 1650|
And this is the hardest saying of all: God wanted the mess to be made right even though we hate(d) Him, and so the Holy One of God, the King of kings, the Son of God and the Son of Man, chose to die for our sins, for the sins of the very people who turned against Him, out of love.
The King of kings was born in a trough? The Son of God lived as the son of a carpenter? The Messiah saved us by dying like a common thief to make up for my sins and the sin of the world? THIS is God? Who can listen to it?? How ridiculous! How preposterous! How unreasonable! How... absolutely breathtakingly wonderful.
Regardless of who listens and who doesn't, Jesus will come again to judge the living and the dead, and on that day, He will raise all of us from the dead, some to eternal life and some to eternal death because some will have believed and some won't have. For the some that won't, there will be nothing more that we can do. God knows who they are; He's always known. But you and I don't know who they are, and so we have to try. We have to keep spreading the Word of God to all nations, no matter how difficult it is for some to believe because it is the truth, and their life depends on it.
Yeah sure, it'd be a whole lot easier to stop following Jesus and turn around like many of His disciples. But we're called to trust God, and by the power of the Holy Spirit, we do. Not perfectly—I know that I still wonder about a lot of things—but we believe enough to eat of Jesus' flesh, and we have heard His Word, and we have been Baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
From what Scripture tells us, because of that thing Jesus did that's so hard to believe, that's enough.
Suggested verse to repeat is from Psalm 39:12b
PRC buddies, remember to breathe!
"I am a sojourner with You; ------> 5 count inhale
"I am a sojourner with You." -------> 5 count exhale