Where is Alicante?
I’ll wait here while you Google it.
Did you find it?
It’s in Spain. Why do I care if you know where it is? I actually don’t. But it does help you understand about not knowing where a destination is. Imagine if you tried to get to Alicante. How would you get to Spain? How would you get around? Where would you stay in Alicante?
In John 6:60-71, we find living, breathing examples of the difficulties of getting somewhere when you don’t really know where you’re going. Jesus had just told them in the preceding verses they needed to eat His flesh and drink His blood if they wanted eternal life.
On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?”
Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you? Then what if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life. Yet there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them.”
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.”
Then Jesus replied, “Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!” (He meant Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, who, though one of the Twelve, was later to betray him.)John 6:60-71
New International Version
When obedience was difficult, the crowd debated. And the more they debated, the quicker Jesus’ popularity declined. Not only did the Jewish leaders reject Jesus, but “many of His disciples” (verse 60) began to debate obedience as well.
They said it was “hard”. They didn’t mean it was difficult to understand; they meant it was offensive. They were shocked. Not only were their sensibilities shocked, they were offended by Jesus obliterating their expectations regarding the Messiah. Truth has a habit of doing that.
After all, “the crowd” would rather debate the subject than discard the sin.
Jesus doesn’t call us to agree with Him. He calls us to obey Him. The people of Jesus’ day wanted a political revolutionary. Instead, they got the Son of God enrobed in flesh.
As Jesus made clear, the kingdom He was establishing was not an earthly one and the key to this kingdom was denial of one’s own freedom and life. So, the impressed crowds began to drift away. They melted away under the heat of their own delusions about the Messiah. Their self-sufficiency was deemed to be inappropriate for this Kingdom. Therefore, in their minds, this Kingdom wasn’t worth their attention—it was too much work with not enough return.
They were lost and unwilling to follow the Way.
E. Stanley Jones tells of a missionary who got lost in an African jungle, nothing around him but bush and a few cleared places. He found a native hut and asked the native if he could get him out. The native said he could. “All right,” said the missionary, “show me the way.” The native said, “Walk” so they walked and hacked their way through unmarked jungle for more than an hour. The missionary got worried. “Are you quite sure this is the way? Where is the path?” The native said, “In this place there is no path. I am the path.”
This is how Jesus leads us. We follow Him because He is the path. He is the way.
We can follow the crowd, but they are lost. The crowd will lead us away from the Jesus.
Instead, we can follow the crown on the Head of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. But the risk is we won’t always see the path and have to trust Him.
Are you following the crowd or are you following the Crown?