John 6:60-71 (HCSB): Therefore, when many of His disciples heard this, they said, “This teaching is hard! Who can accept it?” Jesus, knowing in Himself that His disciples were complaining about this, asked them, “Does this offend you? Then what if you were to observe the Son of Man ascending to where He was before? The Spirit is the One who gives life. The flesh doesn’t help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life. But there are some among you who don’t believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning those who would not believe and the one who would betray Him.) He said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to Me unless it is granted to him by the Father.” From that moment many of His disciples turned back and no longer accompanied Him. Therefore Jesus said to the Twelve, “You don’t want to go away too, do you?” Simon Peter answered, “Lord, who will we go to? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that You are the Holy One of God!” Jesus replied to them, “Didn’t I choose you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is the Devil!” He was referring to Judas, Simon Iscariot’s son, one of the Twelve, because he was going to betray Him.
This confrontation is coming to a head now. Jesus acknowledges clearly that the main problem with the people being able to receive His words is that they are spiritual words that the people are trying to comprehend with their physical brains. But the physical can comprehend the spiritual about as well as the human eye can perceive light in the ultraviolet range – it can’t.
Jesus knew that those His Father had called to follow Him had been spiritually awakened, and even though many spiritual things were still only dim outlines to them, they could at least see the outlines. Those who were following Jesus for purely physical or emotional motives (including Judas Iscariot) were blind to who He truly was and to what He was trying to teach them.
It broke Jesus’ heart when so many turned away, not because He was emotionally invested in them, but because these were God’s people, the ones who had been given the very word of God, had had it for centuries, and yet they were blind. They were so completely out of touch with the Lord, their God, that they couldn’t even understand what Jesus was trying to tell them. Real spiritual bread was being laid out before them, but they couldn’t see it, and were going home with their deepest spiritual hunger unmet.
Peter’s confession of Jesus here, as the One who has the words of eternal life, and the Holy One of God, are just as significant as his confession of Jesus as Messiah and Son of God at Caesarea Philippi (Matthew 16:15-16). Peter could see, although not with perfect clarity, as could the rest who had thrown in their lot with Jesus. The sole exception was Judas, who was following Jesus for entirely different reasons.
Father, help keep our hearts open to all that You want to say to us, because You are still speaking. Shake us awake so that we will never turn away from You or against You. Make us truly alive so that we can understand Your words of life that You speak to us constantly. Amen.