Rejection by Many Followers

In 1858 the Illinois legislature–using an obscure statute–sent Stephen A. Douglas to the U.S. Senate instead of Abraham Lincoln, although Lincoln had won the popular vote. When a sympathetic friend asked Lincoln how he felt, he said, “Like the boy who stubbed his toe: I am … More

Rejection

As the people began to understand His teaching, they found it to be totally unacceptable. Besides the hostile Jewish leaders, many of the Galilean disciples turned away from Him. The popular enthusiasm for Jesus as a political Messiah (v. 15) was then over. They saw that He was not going to deliver them from Rome. He might be a great Healer, but His words were a hard teaching. Many rejected Him because they could not accept His teaching (v. 60)?

Christ asks them if they would accept the fact that He came from heaven when they see Him return to heaven (vv. 61-62). Christ now explains. He did not intend for them to eat physically of His flesh; that would profit nothing. Rather, it is His spirit (person) which gives life (v. 63). They did not accept His words and, consequently, they would not be drawn to Him (vv 64-65). Many of those who were impressed by the signs, now left Christ because of their unbelief (v. 66). His rejecting their desire to make Him their political king; His demand for personal faith; His teaching on atonement; His stress on total human inability and on salvation as a work of God; all these proved to be unacceptable for many people.

This is a turning point in our Lord’s ministry, where He confronts the twelve with the question, “Will you also go away” (v. 67)? Many people start out the Christian life and seem to do very well for awhile, but then they drop out of sight and nobody seems to know what happened. Peter had understood the teaching of his Master (v. 68). The message of Christ was not dead words to Peter, but they were full of spirit and life, and were the words of eternal life if we believe and are sure (v. 69). The Twelve affirm their confidence through Peter, but even one of them is a devil and will eventually betray the Bread of Life (vv. 70-71).

Application

Christ was rejected by many in His day and if I proclaim His Word I can expect to be rejected. I need to be bold in my witness for Him no matter what the consequences may be.

John 6:60-71 (English Standard Version)

When many of his disciples heard it, they said, "This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?" 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.) And he said, "This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father." 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." Jesus answered them, "Did I not choose you, the Twelve? And yet one of you is a devil." He spoke of Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the Twelve, was going to betray him.

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