“From that time many of His disciples went back and walked no more with Him.”
His refining fires are quite hot at times and reveal what’s there—or what’s not.
“What did you go out to see?”
That’s what Jesus asked the crowd that day when word came to Him that His beloved cousin and forerunner, John the Baptizer, was in prison (Mt. 11:2-9). Interestingly, even John himself sent two of his disciples to Jesus to ask Him, “Are you the One that should come or should we look for another?” (v.3).
It could be that John’s query arose from “prison pensiveness.” Being locked up in a tiny little cell has a way of playing on your mind and trying your soul. So, we should not be too harsh on this one who’d come out of the wilderness, with locusts and wild honey dripping from his beard, for even Jesus did not rebuke him or his disciples; instead, He said “Go back and tell Jesus those things which you hear and see: The blind are receiving their sight. . .the lame are beginning to walk. . .lepers are being cleansed. . .the dead are being raised up… and the poor are receiving the Good News of the Kingdom. And, blessed is he who is not offended (Grk. ‘skandalizo’—‘to be entrapped, tripped up, to stumble, be enticed into sin, etc.’) in Me” (Mt. 11:4-6).
Yet, such was not the case with the unbelieving “disciples” in today’s Manna.
No doubt some of them had been following Jesus from the get-go. They’d seen Him heal the nobleman’s son in Capernaum (Jn. 4:46-54). They’d witnessed the healing of the 38-year-long infirmed man beside the Pool of Bethesda (Jn. 5:1-9).
Others among the deserters had only followed Him since His miraculous feeding of the 5,000 on the mountainside that day (Jn. 6:1-14). But, now they’d grown disappointed or disillusioned with Him and “murmured (Grk. ‘gogguzo’—‘to complain, bicker, be critical of, etc.’) against Him and His sayings” (vv.28, 30-31, 34, 41-42, 60-61) and concluded their following Him was a waste of their time.
So, they left. Hit the road. Didn’t look back as they searched for someone to fill their hungry bellies instead of their starving souls.
No wonder Jesus asked the twelve, “Will you also go away?” (v.67).
He still asks that question to us today: “Will you also go away? Will you allow your disappointment with Me or your disillusionment over things not adding up (to your estimation) to cause you to throw in the towel or let a bitter root rise up within you?”
May our answer be that of Peter’s: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (v.68). Yes, dear Pilgrim, to whom shall we go? Woe to those who’ve “been enlightened, tasted of the Heavenly Gift, been made partakers of the Holy Ghost and tasted of the good Word of God and the powers of the world to come who willingly fall away” (Heb. 6:4-6)—for only barrenness and a sense of forsakenness await them because of their “crucifying the Son of God afresh and putting Him to an open shame” (vv.7-8). Much better to say “God is good” even when we’re perplexed (Ps. 73:1)—for soon that will give way to praise as we realize anew Who He is and what He’s done for us (Ps. 73:17-28).
By Tom Smith Morning Manna Dated June 11, 2010