Because of their curiosity about who Jesus was, large crowds followed him.
When he challenged them to make a commitment, their curiosity wasn’t enough to keep them around. John pointed this out in Chapter 6: “From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve. Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.” (John 6:66-69 NIV)
Jesus had just fed five thousand people with five loaves of bread and two fish, and many took it as a sign that he was the Messiah. Curiosity-seekers hung around hoping for another free meal, so Jesus challenged all of them by teaching about the bread come down from heaven, and compared himself to manna—God’s miraculous provision for Israel in the wilderness. Each time they questioned him, he turned the conversation up a notch. He wasn’t there to satisfy their curiosity, He was on a mission. If you read through John 6, you can see the progression; when they asked Jesus how he got there, he challenged their motives for seeking him. When they asked him to show them a sign, Jesus claimed to be the bread come down from heaven.
When they murmured among themselves, He said that he had come to be a sacrifice, and that salvation was only possible by partaking of his body and blood. To the Hebrew mind and sensibilities, this concept was forbidden and revolting, akin to cannibalism at best and heresy at worst. As Jesus began to teach more explicitly about who he was, many of his followers took offense. This wasn’t the kind of bread they were looking for! The curiosity seekers left, which was perhaps to be expected, but so did a number of disciples, people who were more familiar with Jesus and closer to his inner circle.
After they left, he turned to the twelve and offered them a chance to leave as well. At that point, they had a choice; they could move on, or they could move beyond curiosity to commitment. Peter’s somewhat bold personal testimony about Jesus is important: first, it indicated his belief that this man, who he saw and heard every day, and with whom he ate and lived, was indeed not just a carpenter from Galilee. Peter called him “the Holy One of God.” To me, that’s very explicit evidence from an eyewitness about who Jesus was.
Second, it is the statement that shows why a group of fishermen, some ordinary citizens and a tax collector left all they had to become transformed into men whose dogged faith would one day spread like wildfire, toppling the existing world order and replacing it with mere Christianity.
You can ignore the evidence and forget all about Jesus, if you want to. But to whom shall you go?
Sometimes curiosity can lead us all astray,
While sometimes its attractions simply lead us all away.
Be careful that your constant search for instant gratification
Does not preclude your taking part in your beatification…
If you look hard at what he did, I’m sure that you will see
That Jesus was much greater than a curiosity…
To buy my latest book, Real People, Real Christmas: Thirty-one Days Discovering the Hidden Treasures of the Christmas Story, go here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1729034918/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
For Slaying Giants: Thirty Days with David, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Slaying-Giants-Thirty-Devotions-Ordinary/dp/172568327X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1535814431&sr=8-1&keywords=Slaying+Giants%3A+Thirty+Days+With+David
To buy my book, Beggar’s Bread, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Beggars-Bread-Devotions-Ordinary-Guy/dp/1535457392/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1473336800&sr=8-1&keywords=Beggar%27s+Bread
For the Kindle Edition, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Beggars-Bread-Bo-Jackson-ebook/dp/B01K5Z0NLA/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1473336800&sr=8-2&keywords=Beggar%27s