Lesson 38


The Gospel of John

World English Bible translation

 Today's Scripture

6:67 Jesus said therefore to the twelve, "You don't also want to go away, do you?"

6:68 Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words of eternal life. 6:69 We have come to believe and know that you are the Christ, the Son of the living God."

6:70 Jesus answered them, "Didn't I choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil?" 6:71 Now he spoke of Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, for it was he who would betray him, being one of the twelve.


 Today's Lesson

In yesterday's lesson we spoke of the disciples of Jesus that turned away because of His teaching. The specific teaching that led to this desertion was Jesus speaking about eating the flesh of the Son of Man and drinking His blood. We spoke about this being the language of sacrifice and communion with the Risen Christ. Even so, many of those who might be called "hangers-on" (those who followed Jesus and believed for a time, but whose faith would not stand the test of adversity and trial) left and walked no more with Him.

 

Jesus knew what was in men. He did not alter His message to please men. Even so, He knew disappointment. He was saddened by the departure of those who had chose to follow for a time.

 

So, He turns to the twelve. He asks them if they too will leave because of His message. Here we are given a glimpse of the human side of Jesus of Nazareth. Rejected by men, Jesus turns to His core believers for solace.

 

And, some solace can be found in these twelve. Simon Peter is the one that most normal speaks during times of stress and tension. Some scholars see this statement of Simon Peters as being the Johnian equivalent of Peter's confession at Caesaria Philippi that is recorded in the Synoptic Gospels (i.e. Matt. 16:13-20).

 

Peter confesses that Jesus is the awaited Messiah. He is the Christ, the Son of the living God. Peter knows that there is no turning away at this point. He has heard enough to know that Jesus has "the words of eternal life." Of course, these words are all the more poignant when we know that even Peter will deny Jesus three times in His hour of need.

 

And, though Jesus finds some comfort in Peter's confession, He too knows that His little flock will scatter when the shepherd is struck. "Didn't I choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil?"

 

God had chosen for the life of Jesus of Nazareth to be as it was. Jesus accomplished the will of the Father. Jesus was to teach and minister to the people of Galilee and Jerusalem. In Jerusalem, He would be betrayed by one of His closest followers. He would be tried and executed as a heretic and a rebel. After a shameful death by capital punishment, He would be buried just outside of Jerusalem. On the third day, He would rise to a resurrected life.

 

These are the milestones of the life of Jesus of Nazareth. He was a willing participant to these events. But, that does not mean that He did not feel anguish and disappointment, fear and grief. He was human, just as you and I. He overcame these feelings by relying on His relationship with God to strengthen Him and see Him through the difficult moments. He held fast to the end to the purpose for which God had chosen Him.

 

God chooses us for a purpose too. There are times when we must endure disappointments and trials. We are called to hold fast to the end, just as Jesus Himself did. Hold fast to Christ, for He is holding fast to you. "This is the will of the one who sent me, that everyone who sees the Son, and believes in him, should have eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day."

 

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