Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Discussing Destiny: Many of His Disciples Withdrew

It's been a while since I wrote an article in this series, but recent conversations here at my blog have prompted me to add to it. If you haven't read "Unless the Father Draws Him" and "All the Father Gives Me Will Come" I recommend you do so. As I explained in those posts, Jesus said no man can come to Him unless the Father "draws" Him, using a word that cannot mean simply woos or invites, in a context that cannot mean that all men are "drawn" equally. The Father has chosen some; none of those whom the Father has not chosen will come to the Son; and all those whom He's chosen will come to the Son.

In recent discussions here at my blog, friends and visitors have called me insane. It is unfortunate for me that I wear my heart on my sleeve, as insults like these pierce my heart deeply. I should bear this in mind and be careful about the words I speak, as I often fail to deliver them in gentleness and respect. In other words, I can't judge others for what I do myself.

But as far as the hurt I've experienced is concerned, I look to, among others, one passage in particular that simultaneously helps to comfort me in my pain and further convince me that I've understood Scripture correctly.


"60 Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this said, 'This is a difficult statement; who can listen to it?' 61 But Jesus, conscious that His disciples grumbled at this, said to them, 'Does this cause you to stumble? 62 What then if you see the Son of Man ascending to where He was before? 63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life. 64 But there are some of you who do not believe.' For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who it was that would betray Him. 65 And He was saying, 'For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father.' 66 As a result of this many of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore." (John 6:60-66)

After teaching the message we looked at in previous entries in this series, Jesus' disciples grumble among themselves. Jesus says the Spirit gives life, and the flesh profit nothing, and John records that Jesus knew from the beginning those who did not believe. Why did Jesus have this foreknowledge? Some might argue that simply by virtue of being omniscient did He know who would believe Him and who would not. But look what Jesus reiterates: "no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father." Jesus knew who would not believe because He knew whom the Father had given Him.

Now, look what John records immediately following this Jesus' statement: "As a result of this many of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore." This is why I take solace in the midst of the pain I experience when called insane by those whom I love. Jesus preached the message I've been preaching, and many of His own disciples stopped following Him. Why should I, a fallen son of Adam, expect that when I preach Jesus' words they will be received any better than when He originally spoke them?

But beyond mere comfort in the midst of my emotional pain, this passage strengthens my resolve, encourages me that I'm correctly understanding God's Word. If I were preaching something other than what Jesus said in this passage, I might expect a different reaction. But the fact that I see a similar reaction on the part of those to whom I share these Jesus' words tells me I've understood them correctly. In an upcoming entry in this series we'll see the same thing. Stay tuned.


  1. I have not called you insane, and I caution you when you compare yourself to Jesus.

  2. I would never dare compare myself to Jesus, except to acknowledge that unlike Him, I am a fallen son of Adam, and thus should not expect better treatment than He received.