It’s so easy — and dangerous — to get consumed with the hopes and desires of the present.
Following Jesus’ bread of life speech, and a realization by many in the crowd that Jesus was not merely around to serve their daily needs or meet their earthly goals, many of those who had been Jesus’ disciples began to turn back and stop following him.
They failed to see that to follow Jesus is to get on Jesus’ page. They just were not willing to go there. It’s important to know that Jesus doesn’t want us on his page because he’s on some sort of power trip. He wants us on his page because that’s what’s truly best for us.
The other day I was in an airport, and I saw a family — a Dad and a Mom with two little girls about 3 or 4 years old. The girls had matching rolling bags that they brought with them. The younger of the two little girls kept wanting to stop to get things out of her bag. This happened several times, with her parents patiently trying to explain that they needed to move their way more quickly through the airport.
The little girl was having none of that, and she was persistent about what she wanted for herself (and apparently her entire family as well) — frequent stops so she could dig around in her bag.
At last, her father simply took hold of the bag, and gently relieved her of it. The response of the little girl was not pretty, as I’m sure you can imagine. She pouted quite loudly for a really, really long time.
Sometimes we behave like that little girl. We want God to hold everything up — including his own gracious plans — for us. After all, in our minds, who’s more important than we are?
Jesus had just made it clear that he had come for his own purpose and glory. This involves the eternal salvation of mankind. So wasting a lot of time baking bread for people (or even just miraculously making it!) wasn’t on the agenda. Instead, he was going to be busy helping people see him as the bread of life. His concerns were far more of an eternal nature.
The people — like the little girl — didn’t like being told someone else’s agenda took precedence. So they turned away. It was just too tough to swallow.
Jesus watches them go, and then turns to his inner circle, the twelve, and ask them, “Do you also want to leave?”
Their answer shows that the disciples — by the Spirit’s power — had gotten on Jesus’ (eternal) page with him.
“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 6:68-69, NIV).
Our Bible reading for Monday, May 11, is Judges 12:1 – 13:25, John 6:60 – 7:13 and Psalm 59:9-17.
Lord, I repent for the times when I want to be on my own page, rather than on yours. My mind and heart want to dwell on the present, and on my own worldly needs, rather than on eternity, and your eternal desires for me and for the world around me. Please forgive me! Jesus, I want to be on your page with you. Send me the Spirit, who gives life, through your words. You have the words of eternal life, because you are the Holy One of God.
Header image based on "Studied Godspel" by Daniel Paixao Fontes, CC By 2.0