Last week, we saw how Jesus was constantly persecuted, but there is something even more hurtful: Rejection from those you’re trying to reach. “’This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will live for ever.’ He said this while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.
“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’” (John 6:58-68). Jesus isn’t someone on a power trip. He’s gentle and humble in heart (Matthew 11:29). He allows people to walk away if they don’t like what He has to say, but there are two types of people here – the ones who walk, and the ones who stand by Him.
Jeremiah observed the wicked of his day who were distant from God. “You are always on their lips but far from their hearts” (Jeremiah 12:2). Job had that feeling of alienation too. He even cried: “God is not human like me, so I cannot answer Him. We cannot meet each other in court. I wish there were someone to make peace between us” (Job 9:32-33) – well, now there is. Jesus has come! His words reconcile us to God and give us everything we need for everlasting life with Him, so what will happen when you’re confronted with the truth of Jesus? Will you walk away, or do you feel drawn to Him – as if there’s nowhere else you can go?
Jesus gave up equality with God; almightiness; His very self. He suffered temptation, enmity, and rejection. In case you hadn’t worked it out, that spells Easter, so have a happy Easter as you celebrate all that Jesus has overcome.