“After this, many of the disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. So Jesus said to the 12, ‘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.'”
– John 6:66–69
Whoa, what a line in the sand moment in John 6:66–69, when all of these people who have been following Jesus, like crowds of people, he’s fed over 5,000 of them with just a little bit of food. They’re amazed by him. They’re following him wherever he goes, but then he teaches them. These crowds, what it means to follow him, how it means laying down their lives and living in a totally different way than they expected.
And many of his disciples, verse 66 says, “Turned back and no longer walked with him.” They were not going to follow Jesus according to Jesus. They wanted to follow Jesus according to their ideas about Jesus, but not according to who Jesus is like. Is that possible? Is it possible to follow a Jesus of our own making instead of who Jesus really is? I think it’s absolutely possible. Think it happens all the time. I think it’s possible for any one of us to create in our minds who we want Jesus to be.
Like I’ve written before, if we’re not careful, we’ll create a nice, comfortable middle-class American Jesus who looks like us, thinks like us, doesn’t mind materialism, is okay with being kind of a compartmentalized part of our life, doesn’t call us to anything extreme. Certainly wouldn’t call us to lay down our lives for the spread of the gospel to the nations. And we kind of create a domesticated Jesus, but that’s not who Jesus is.
We Need To Follow The Jesus Of The Bible
We desperately need to make sure that we’re following the Jesus of the Bible, which is according to his word, according to what he says, which is why Jesus turned to the 12 and he says, “Are you going to go away as well?” And Simon Peter’s answer is so awesome. There are times when Peter doesn’t say something that’s awesome, but this time he does. He says, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life and we’ve believed and have come to know that you are the holy one of God.” In other words, not that the disciples realized all that this meant, but based on all they knew, they were committed to following Jesus for who he is, according to his word, because they knew that he had the words of eternal life. They knew he was the holy one of God.
John 6:66–69 Prays That We Hear God’s Word
So we pray. Lord Jesus, help us to know this. Help us to hear your words. As we read through the gospels, Lord, we pray that you would give us a true understanding of who you are. Keep us, we pray, from domesticating you, from compartmentalizing you, from caricaturing you, from creating a version of you that’s not you. Keep us from following you according to our ideas about you.
Help us to follow you for who you are and what you were saying. Help us to lay down our lives saying you have the words of eternal life. Whatever you say, we’ll do. Whatever you say, wherever you lead us, we’ll go. Our lives belong to you. We believe that you are the holy one of God. We believe what hadn’t even happened in John chapter six, that you have died on the cross for our sins, that you’ve risen from the dead in victory over sin, that you have ascended to heaven.
You are Lord with all authority in heaven and on earth. You’ve commanded us to go and make disciples of all the nations. And so we say yes, this is life to us. We will make disciples of all the nations. We’ll make disciples right where we live. Make disciples wherever you lead. We’ll spend our lives here following you for who you are.
John 6:66–69 Prays To Keep Us From Fake Faith
God, please may that be true in our lives. May that be true in our families. May that be true in our churches. God, keep us we pray from a fake Christianity, from a fake faith that just is following you according to our comforts and our ideas. God help us to not be like the crowds in John 6. Keep us, we pray from being like the crowds in John 6. Help us to look at you in your word and say yes, we’re following you. We’re yours according to your word, according to your plans for our lives, because we know you are the holy one. We know you are worthy of all of our worship. You are worthy of the full trust in every facet of our lives. Oh, Jesus, help us to follow you truly. Completely we pray. In your name, we pray these things. Amen.