John 6: 60-71
When many of his disciples heard it, they said, ‘This teaching is difficult; who can accept it?’ But Jesus, being aware that his disciples were complaining about it, said to them, ‘Does this offend you? Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But among you there are some who do not believe.’ For Jesus knew from the first who were the ones that did not believe, and who was the one that would betray him. And he said, ‘For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted by the Father.’
Because of this many of his disciples turned back and no longer went about with him. So Jesus asked the twelve, ‘Do you also wish to go away?’ Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.’ Jesus answered them, ‘Did I not choose you, the twelve? Yet one of you is a devil.’ He was speaking of Judas son of Simon Iscariot, for he, though one of the twelve, was going to betray him.
I have met a lot of people in the past thirty years of serving the church. I have found some who connect fully and become wonderful disciples. I have met others who hold Jesus at arm’s length because they have questions about faith. Then there are those who were once followers who discovered that the teachings of Jesus are really quite difficult to live out. They were troubled by the challenge and discovered that it would be easier to simply walk away from their faith.
It happens. It happened in our passage of Scripture for today. Some followers were simply not able to take the next step of faith so they turned back and no longer identified themselves as disciples of Jesus.
It is always sad to see this process unfold in the lives of people we love. It would be a great joy to see them continue to grow in their faith. But instead they choose the path of a secular life. They fall away and lose their footing like the seed that fell on the rocks. They are not able to germinate their faith and root. Sometimes they fade away and other times they are hurt by the church and live in a spirit of frustration and disappointment.
Do you know someone like this? Is there a way that you could share your faith or provide a spirit of encouragement? Perhaps you can think of someone today…perhaps you could give them a call and invite them to join you at church. Let them know that you are with them and that you want their lives to be full to overflowing. See what happens. Without you and your positive spirit, they may remain isolated in their frustration. Make the call today and worship tomorrow will be a double blessing!