Thursday, October 30, 2014
To some it may be simple irony but one of the saddest verses in the Bible is John 6:66 which reads: “From that time many of his disciples went back , and walked no more with him.” Reading the rest of the chapter, it is clear to see that these who had followed Him previously had done so primarily for their own benefit. Jesus pointed out to them, even before they defected, that they had followed Him only because He had often fed them, just like He had miraculously fed a multitude the day before. On this occasion there would be no more physical bread but instead they would hear Him say that He was the spiritual Bread of Life. When they left Him, their excuse was that they did not understand what He was talking about.
This is also true with life in general and is prevalent in marriage and in friendships, even in church. Except for those in mega-churches, most pastors are familiar with the pain and grief that arises when some members of their flock leave to go to “greener pastures.” When someone who has been with you for some time finds a reason to leave and go somewhere else, that’s when you know that they did not really love you in the first place. Let me repeat that in case you didn’t get it: If someone you love has left you, it is proof that they did not really love you in return, so in essence they have done you a big favor. John, in his first epistle to the church, basically pointed out the same truth. Referring to those who walked away from their fellowship with other believers, he wrote: “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us.” That is the premise behind the phrase in the marriage vows, “till death do us part.” When you truly love somebody, you stay with him or her until the very end.
Jesus, since He knows the hearts of men, knew from the beginning those who truly loved Him from those who did not. However, this is one thing He did not do: He did not plead with the deserters not to leave Him. That should remind us also that if people in our lives want to leave us, it is best not to try to stop them. In 1 Corinthians7:15 Paul advised married couples that if one or the other has made the decision to depart, they should not try to stop it. Christ will never stop anyone who chooses to leave Him, neither should we. In fact, on the day when the deserters left Him, He turned to His Disciples and asked, “Will you also go away?” By this, he implied that if they also wanted to leave, He would not stand in their way. One thing those who left Jesus that day did not consider was that they were leaving the One who truly loved them to go to someone who could never love them as much. Sadly, that happens so often in life as well. I trust you will never walk away from those who truly love you.
Memory verse for the week: (Romans 12:2) “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, fervent in prayer.”