It had been two long days for the Son of God. In the span of less than forty-eight hours, He had fed a crowd of five thousand, walked on water, and tried to explain to the people in Capernaum that He was the bread of life from heaven (John 6:1-40). In response, some complained. Others rejected Him outright. Many of His own followers left Him “and walked with Him no more” (John 6:41-66, NKJV).
Despite being the Messiah, Jesus must have had great sorrow in His voice when He then turned to the twelve men who were His closest disciples and asked them, “Do you also want to go away?” (John 6:67, NKJV)
It was not a rhetorical question. Each of the twelve could have returned to his former life and been done with the Carpenter from Nazareth.
But they did not. Instead, Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” (John 6:68, NKJV)
Soon they would witness His arrest. Then, except for Judas Iscariot, they would witness His crucifixion – and His resurrection.
Eventually, through the power of the Holy Spirit, they would change the world forever.
For a moment in human time, however, it all came down to a single question: “Do you want to leave Me?”
It is the same question that Jesus asks each of us during the hardest and darkest days of our lives.
“Do you want to leave Me?”
When temptation confronts us or sin overtakes us: “Do you want to leave Me?”
When our bodies begin to waste away or our loved ones pass from this earth: “Do you want to leave Me?”
When we think we are helpless or our lives are hopeless: “Do you want to leave Me?”
How will you respond?
Make no mistake, God is not questioning your loyalty or your devotion. He just wants you to stop and consider how things would be without Him.
“Do you want to leave Me?”
Recently, several events have occurred in my life that caused me to ask a related, but very different, question: how do atheists respond to the vagaries of life? Whether it is their own impending death or something tragic that happens to one of their loved ones, how do they cope? How can they cope?
If they see their lives as having meaning for only a finite number of years in this very finite world, how do they avoid feeling hopeless or, in the end, helpless?
Our God is not just an awesome God, He is also a loving God. Nothing is beyond His control or His care. Yes, bad things still happen to good people, but, for those who believe in Him, there is victory despite the suffering and triumph despite the pain.
Today, reaffirm your trust in the One who is totally trustworthy. No matter what is happening in you or around you, put your hope – your eternal, undying hope – in the One who conquered death and took away your sins.
And when the world challenges everything you believe, remember that only Jesus has the words of eternal life.
-- Dr. John Morris