From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. Then Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also want to go away?” But Simon Peter answered Him, “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.” – John 6: 66-69
The day before, Jesus drew a multitude with His miracles. It was this crowd that He fed by transforming a little boy’s lunch of two fish and five barley loaves into a banquet for five thousand. The next day, when they noticed that Jesus had crossed the sea, the crowd followed Him for more. Jesus challenged them and said to them: “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.”
Immediately after these words we read: “From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more.” From this, it was clear why they were following in the first place. It was for the food and not the faith. It was because of the miracles and not the Master. It was the hope of political revolution and not the hunger for divine revelation. So, His own disciples went back and walked with Him no more.
As Jesus watches this mass exodus, He turns to His twelve and asks them: “Do you also want to go away?” To this Peter, the spokesman, said in essence: “We are not going anywhere. We have decided to stay!” If we asked them why they chose to stay when everyone else was leaving, they might have said: “We decided to stay because…”
1. We signed up for the long haul. We are committed to staying with the Lord when the thick becomes thin and even if the bad becomes worse. We were never promised a flowery bed of ease and, therefore, we did not expect it. We are in it with the Lord until it’s over.
2. We have no better alternative. They must have reasoned: “If we do leave the Lord, where are we going to go? Who is better? Who has more to offer? Who will put up with us the way He does? Wherever we go if we leave will end up being worse than where we were before we left. We’re staying.”
3. We enjoy being in His company. It is interesting to note that we pray all day every day that the Lord will never leave us and, then, in the time of crisis, we leave Him. These disciples chose to stay because it was fair and because they enjoyed His fellowship.
4. We are looking for eternal life. The bread Jesus gave them filled them for only a moment. But, the words that He spoke to them are words of life which no one else had. These disciples were not just committed for their physical life, they were in it for the eternal life.