What's Your Choice?
“Jesus then left that place and went into the region of Judea and across the Jordan. Again crowds of people came to him, and as was his custom, he taught them.” (Mark 10:1)
He taught them. They came to Him, knowing He was going to teach them, and they came by the multitudes. They came to listen and learn.
Jesus didn’t always say what they wanted to hear either. One such instance is recorded in John 6, where Jesus talks about requiring a commitment from His followers, (vs 53-58) and we read in vs-60 that "when they heard this, [they] said, “This is a hard saying; who can understand it?" In teaching a bit more, Jesus says, "It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. But there are some of you who do not believe.”
Jesus knew many did not believe, and even knew who would betray Him, yet His message continued, "Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father.” (6:65)
You know, today we don't get much of a following when we preach the cost of being a disciple of Jesus either. People often prefer to turn to doctrines that are less restrictive and less demanding. We read in vs-66, what happened to Jesus after He said what He did, "From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more."
The message that turned so many disciples away on that day in John 6, was simply this, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me. This is the bread which came down from heaven—not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever.”
Some have tried to make that literal, but we can't eat the literal flesh of Jesus or drink His literal blood, He's not here, nor is that what He was saying. He was teaching that commitment of the heart was necessary to follow Him, that He alone was to be followed, and that it was necessary to follow Him completely. It was sad that day, just like it is now, when people turn away because they are not willing to do that. We don't know a percentage of the crowd that left or stayed, but it must have been heart-breaking to see people leave, perhaps not all at once, but the gathering dwindled down to less and less people.
But like many of the best stories in the Bible, don't stop reading there! Jesus looked at His chosen twelve disciples and said, “Do you also want to go away?” As you would expect from what we have come to know from Peter, he was the first to speak up, but uttered these very thought provoking words, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” These men had come to know Jesus, and they were fully aware that eternal life was through Him and Him alone. When Peter asked "Lord, to whom shall we go", his rhetorical question needed no answer. He had already made the statement that Jesus had the words of eternal life!
It would be nice if people today understood the words of Peter, when he asked Jesus where else there was to go if they stopped following the One with the directions. More often than not, we witness people in our world, either by their words or their actions, say give me Jesus, just without any rules. Give me Jesus without any do's and don't's. Give me Jesus but on my terms, let me live the way I want to. Give me Jesus but only in name, not in obedience. Give me Jesus, but without His church. Give me Jesus to lay claim to, but don't demand anything else from me. Unfortunately, asking for that is not asking for Jesus!
So in a very real sense, we're either all in with Jesus, the One who has the words of eternal life, or we're outside of Him with no place to go. We're either feeding off Jesus, or we're not being fed food for eternity. What do you choose?