As his ministry expanded, Jesus did some things that made folks curious. Because of their curiosity about who Jesus was, large crowds began to follow him. They were probably hoping to see a sign, or perhaps to get a free meal…
When he challenged them to make a commitment, their curiosity wasn’t enough to keep them around. John described this reaction from the large crowds that were following Jesus. “From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. [John then brought the narrative closer to home.] “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)
Adoring Crowds or Accountable Commitment?
Jesus had just fed five thousand people with five loaves of bread and two fish. Many took it as a sign that he was the Messiah. And lots of curiosity-seekers hung around hoping for another free meal. Jesus then challenged all of them by teaching about the bread come down from heaven, and compared himself to manna.
Now, manna was God’s miraculous provision for Israel in the wilderness. They could connect the dots, and this would have been a claim that disturbed many of them. 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.
Hard Sayings Create Hard Choices
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. It was 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, Jesus turned to the twelve and offered them a chance to leave as well. At that point, they all had a choice. They could simply 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 was not just a carpenter from Galilee. Peter saw and heard Jesus every day. He ate and lived with him. And yet, Peter called Jesus “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 left everything behind to follow Jesus. These ordinary citizens and even a tax collector became transformed men. Their dogged faith would one day spread like wildfire. They gave their testimonies and even their lives to follow Jesus. The disciples couldn’t have possibly foreseen that one day their actions would topple the existing world order and replace it with mere Christianity.
You can ignore the evidence and forget all about Jesus, if you want to. But to whom shall you go?
Are You Curious About Evidence?
It calls us with temptation, and it killed the cat, they say. But sometimes curiosity can lead us all astray. As far as selfish seeking, it can be a tempting witch Who casts a spell that makes us hunger just to scratch that itch! Be careful that your constant search for instant gratification Does not preclude your taking part in your beatification... Jesus told the twelve they had to make a choice because Commitment to his mission showed them more of who he was. If you look hard at what he did, I'm sure that you will see That Jesus was much greater than a curiosity...
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