The Messiah

When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This teaching is difficult; who can accept it?” But Jesus, being aware that his disciples were complaining about it, said to them, “Does this offend you? Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But among you there are some who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the first who were the ones that did not believe, and who was the one that would betray him. And he said, “For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted by the Father.”

Because of this many of his disciples turned back and no longer went about with him. So Jesus asked the twelve, “Do you also wish to go away?”

Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.”

Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the twelve? Yet one of you is a devil.” He was speaking of Judas son of Simon Iscariot, for he, though one of the twelve, was going to betray him. (John 6:60–71)

Some people followed Jesus for reasons that made it possible for them to later turn away from him. When what Jesus taught them became hard, when he didn’t seem to be taking them where they wanted to go, they abandoned him.

But Peter followed Jesus because he knew that he was the Messiah. Peter followed Jesus because he knew that he was going to bring in God’s kingdom. Peter followed Jesus because he knew that with Jesus, he would have eternal life.

But Judas—the one of the twelve who was “a devil”—would be like the crowd who had abandoned him here. Judas would hang in for awhile yet, but the day would come, just as it had come for some of the crowd, for him to decide that what Jesus was about, that where Jesus was going, was simply not a place that Judas wanted to be.

We may not fully comprehend all the implications of what Jesus is and what he wants of us, but we know enough that like Peter, we can’t imagine being without Jesus. Jesus is the only one who can give us what we can otherwise never have: eternal life.

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About R.P. Nettelhorst

I'm married with three daughters. I live in southern California and I'm the interim pastor at Quartz Hill Community Church. I have written several books. I spent a couple of summers while I was in college working on a kibbutz in Israel. In 2004, I was a volunteer with the Ansari X-Prize at the winning launches of SpaceShipOne. Member of Society of Biblical Literature, American Academy of Religion, and The Authors Guild
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