Jesus was at the apex of his popularity and made the following statement to the multitude that was now following him.
35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. 36 But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe.
66 From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.
WHY? That is what I intend to answer. To find that answer, we need to look at the rest of the chapter and find out what kind of people TURNED BACK and no longer followed him. The Word gives us some answers:
1. The MATERIALIST
Believe it or not, but there were people that were following Jesus around because of what He could and would give to them! Go figure that!
Look at what Jesus said to this group:
26 Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill.
2. The LEGALIST
Now, if these people couldn't get by with this kind of following of Jesus, they would try another age old trick: FOLLOWING RULES!
Look at what they asked Jesus:
28 Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?”
The rationale that legalist have is this: If I can't follow Christ for what I can receive then I will follow the rules as closely as possible and maybe this will make an impression!
I personally have seen this over and over in my years of ministry.
Rules are not wrong in itself but Jesus didn't come to make a new list of rules to follow. He came to build relationships.
If we are more interested in people keeping the rules, we cease to build relationships with those that need Christ the most.
3. The SENSATIONALIST
They are in every crowd-those that are on a mountain top because of a miracle or something sensational but leave Christ when things get tough and the "big" miracles are not evident.
Look at what these "followers" asked Jesus:
30 So they asked him, “What sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do?
SERIOUSLY?????-Jesus just fed over 5,000 people with a little bit of fish and bread!!! What kind of sign are you needing? Talk about a miracle!
Miracle seekers-entertainment seekers-pep rally believers are everywhere! There is nothing at all wrong with celebratory worship but the question is this:
Where do you stand when the miracles and sensations are not evident?
The greatest thing we can have in our lives is the daily presence of Jesus Christ that is sustained by faith, prayer, fellowship and study of His Word!
Jesus loves you and so do I!!