Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.
The Chicago Cubs baseball team has one of the largest and most loyal fan bases of any sports teams in the country. This is particularly noteworthy because the team has not won a World Series since 1908 nor even played in a Series since 1945—the longest drought of any baseball team. In a Spring 2011 article in Baseball Research Journal, Bill Savage tried to explain the durable popularity of the team and also wondered whether changes to the iconic Wrigley Field stadium where the team plays and to the Cubs’ television schedule would dent the fan base.
Jesus had had large crowds following Him, but in our passage today we see that His popularity was waning. As their reasons for following Jesus were exposed and stripped away, fewer and fewer people wanted to associate with Him. First, Jesus confronted those who only wanted another free meal (v. 26). They had witnessed the miracle of the feeding of five thousand, and were eager to have more bread and fish.
Second, Jesus disappointed those who only wanted to see a succession of miracles on demand (v. 30). Even though Jesus had just performed an astounding work of feeding thousands of people, they demanded more. Third, people grumbled about Jesus’ claims to be the Son of God. “Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know?” (v. 42). They wanted to keep Jesus in box of relationships that they understood, and His claim to be from heaven couldn’t be tolerated.
Finally, others deserted Jesus because His teaching was too hard to understand and too challenging to believe (v. 60). Jesus turned to His twelve disciples and asked whether they too would leave. Peter gave the reason for remaining with Jesus: “You have the words of eternal life” (v. 68).
Apply the Word
Why are we following Jesus? Do we want an easy, predictable Savior, or do we want the words of life? Do we want to put Jesus in a box that suits our preferences, or do we believe that He is the “Holy One of God” (v. 69)? Even if everyone else around us deserts the Savior, may we not be fair-weather fans but rather faithful disciples.
Pray with Us
The importance of media in God’s work on earth is constantly increasing in our digital age. Greg Thornton, senior vice president of Media, requests your prayers today for all the challenging tasks facing the media ministry at Moody.