“…Will ye also go away?” – Jn. 6:67 KJV
The reference scripture for today is a question that Jesus asked his disciples after he saw a substantial number of his followers desert him for two major reasons: firstly, he did not meet with their expectation of him with regards to food and secondly he made statements with regards to his mission that they were not ready to accept. This was despite the fact that he had fed them freely on a very recent occasion. As far as they were concerned, it was going to be about what they could get now and not what they got yesterday just as it was always going to be about getting what they want and rather the reason why he gave them
It suddenly became a game of who was smarter as they were not ready to spend time listening to sermons that will not meet their immediate needs. Jesus however had a mission to accomplish which was to take people back to God. The dilemma was now how to balance the physical expectations of his followers with what should be their spiritual goals. He did not come to the world to meet material expectations but to lead people back to God. He will be failing seriously if all these throng of people will eat a meal that will finish only to miss a meal that will not finish – Jn. 6:27.
In what is possibly a shock reaction to the departure of most of the followers, he asked his disciples the question in the reference scripture today. Of course they answered in the negative affirming that they were going to be with him as they gave the impression of having no other option – Jn. 6:68-69. For as long as they remained with him they lacked nothing and their faith in him seemed as strong as ever until it seemed he was no longer going to be able to provide for them as usual again and they quickly followed the path of those who left earlier – Jn. 21:3. This was after Peter had sworn that he will never deny him on two occasions – Jn.6:68; Matt. 26:33-35.
Christians today need to answer the same question above. This is because there will always be difficult times when it seems God is no longer in a position to provide that material thing that you have been enjoying because of your association with Christ. What will be your decision at such moments? Just as Jesus knew the thought of his apostles then, at least he knew that of Peter (Matt. 26:31-35) and Judas ( Jn. 6:71; Jn. 13:18-30), do you realise that he also knows your thoughts today. How much of your open declaration of allegiance to Jesus Christ is genuine and sincere and not premised on what you are getting or what he has promised you? If today there is a clear evidence that whatever he has promised will not be realised, will you still be willing to follow him?
Although it is possible to have the best of the two worlds which will mean being financially comfortable in this world and still having assurance of eternal life, the only assured promise for Christians is salvation from eternal damnation on the day of judgement (Jn. 3:16) and avoidance of shame (Rom. 10:11; Is. 54:4) in this world. Having over flowing stores (Bank accounts) is a Grace given to Christians at the discretion of the Almighty God as the promise is to be like a tree bringing forth fruit in due season – Ps. 1:3. Love for God should be genuine and not conditional. Whether in or out of season we should not love Him like the world will love but love him with all our thoughts – Mk. 12:30.
Peter was lucky as Jesus still found him at the place of his betrayal despite his promise on at least two previous occasions not to pull back (Jn. 21:15-17). You may not be that lucky and consequently end your life as a disappointment and a betrayer of trust and confidence.
No matter the situation remember you promised to worship him till the end through your baptism and that nothing can separate you from his love. Let that promise be the first consideration in whatever situation you may find yourself. Life may be difficult in the world that we live in but if you ask him to help you, he will as he helped Peter by praying for him – Lk. 22:31. Remember that your financial status in this temporary realm is not relevant to what your position will be in the permanent place ahead (Lk. 16:19-31). What does it profit you if you gain the whole world and lose your soul – Mk. 8:36.
Let us continue to aspire for good standard of living In this life but aspire more for a better reception when we go back home after all this world is not our home – 1Chr. 29:15. May God grant us Grace to remain faithful to the end in Jesus name. Amen.