In John 6, we read where several disciples turned back and no longer followed Jesus Christ. His teachings were to difficult for these disciples to accept. Their example helps us focus upon this question “Could you deny Jesus Christ?” as we think about the Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread.
[Darris McNeely] With Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread upon us, we are doing a series of BT Dailys on the question, “Could you deny Jesus Christ?”. In Part 2 here, I’d like to go a little deeper into a story that helps us focus upon this concept of denying Jesus Christ. Remember in the first one we talked about how Peter had denied Christ three times the night that He was arrested? That was in fulfillment of Christ’s warning to Peter that he would do so three times – deny Him before the cock would crow, the rooster – which is exactly what happened. And in that night, when Jesus looked across the courtyard at Peter after that third denial, it was a shattering moment for the apostle.
There was an earlier story in John chapter 6, where Jesus had performed one of His miracles – He had fed 5000 people – and then He began to talk about not just the miracle that He had performed, the feeding 5000 people with a small amount of food, but what that meant with the bread that had been accumulated and actually given miraculously, delivered to the people that day as Christ gave them – it was more than just a meal that He was wanting to do. What Jesus was telling them as we read the account in John chapter 6, He said, “I am the bread of life.” And then, a few excerpts from the statements that Jesus made, He said, “I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world. Unless,” He went on, “you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. He who eats this bread will live forever.” These are excerpts here from verse 36 to 54 of the sixth chapter of John (John 6:36-59 John 6:36-59 36 But I said to you, That you also have seen me, and believe not.
37 All that the Father gives me shall come to me; and him that comes to me I will in no wise cast out.
38 For I came down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him that sent me.
39 And this is the Father’s will which has sent me, that of all which he has given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.
40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which sees the Son, and believes on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.
41 The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven.
42 And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how is it then that he said, I came down from heaven?
43 Jesus therefore answered and said to them, Murmur not among yourselves.
44 No man can come to me, except the Father which has sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
45 It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that has heard, and has learned of the Father, comes to me.
46 Not that any man has seen the Father, save he which is of God, he has seen the Father.
47 Truly, truly, I say to you, He that believes on me has everlasting life.
48 I am that bread of life.
49 Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead.
50 This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die.
51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.
52 The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat?
53 Then Jesus said to them, Truly, truly, I say to you, Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you have no life in you.
54 Whoever eats my flesh, and drinks my blood, has eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.
55 For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.
56 He that eats my flesh, and drinks my blood, dwells in me, and I in him.
57 As the living Father has sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eats me, even he shall live by me.
58 This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eats of this bread shall live for ever.
59 These things said he in the synagogue, as he taught in Capernaum.
American King James Version×).
It was a very difficult teaching for many of the general disciples to take, and what happened is some of them actually denied Christ by turning away from Him and no longer following Him. It was a hard teaching, all of this about His body being the bread, and eating His flesh, and eternal life.
And so, what we find beginning in John6:60, is Christ then turning to His immediate disciples, and after people are not able to take this, He says in John 6:61 John 6:61When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said to them, Does this offend you?
American King James Version×, “Does this offend you? What then if you should see the Son of Man ascend where He was before? It is the Spirit that gives life; the flesh,” He said, “profits nothing. The words I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.”
Christ again was doing more than just feeding people physically – He was giving them spiritual teaching that was the most profound regarding His body, His life, and eternal life.
And He said, “There are some of you here who do not believe,” because Christ knew that that would be a part of that. “’Therefore,’” in John 6:65 John 6:65And he said, Therefore said I to you, that no man can come to me, except it were given to him of my Father.
American King James Version×He said, “’I have said to you that no one can come to me unless it has been granted to him by My Father.’ And so, many of the disciples,” it says, “went back and walked with Him no more.” And then in John 6:67 John 6:67Then said Jesus to the twelve, Will you also go away?
American King James Version×He said to the twelve – His most immediate core disciples – “Do you also want to go away?” Or, to deny Me? And then it’s Peter who answers, John 6:68 John 6:68Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? you have the words of eternal life.
American King James Version×. “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.”
In this case, several disciples, multitudes it appears here, could not take this hard teaching and they turned from Christ. Peter, as well as the immediate grouping of the core disciples, understood that He was the Christ, the living God, the Son of God. That is a very important story for us to understand as we think about the Passover, the Days of Unleavened Bread.
On the Passover we take the bread and the wine to symbolize the broken body of Christ, His shed blood for our sins. We go into the Days Unleavened Bread, where we put out the leavened bread, we only eat only unleavened bread during that seven-day period, and we picture taking in the life of the resurrected Jesus Christ within us. And by doing so, we affirm the truths that Jesus here has spoken about. That’s very important teaching for us, because it will help us then to understand who Jesus is, and the role that He plays in our lives today, and to keep us from denying Jesus Christ.
Next time, we’ll talk about another story that takes us into the home of some of the closest of Jesus’ friends, and look at another story that can help us understand how it is that we can take the proper steps not to deny Jesus Christ.
That’s BT Daily . Join us next time.