John 6:66 “From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.”
From what time is being discussed here? From the time He said they must eat of His flesh and drink of His blood.
In the natural, this does seem to be like being a cannibal, but Jesus had already told them that they must worship in spirit. This great number of followers of Jesus who had just wanted to make Him king and ruler of all Israel, now suddenly leave Him.
The language indicates that the abandonment was decisive and final.
They really did not have the love of God in their hearts. They wanted a great warrior to lead them against Rome. They followed them in His power. They wanted no part in His weakness.
They were like people in our churches today, who just look at the words and not at the meaning of the Word. It is impossible to follow Jesus in the flesh. We must follow Jesus Christ by our spirit.
John 6:67 “Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?”
Here is the first mention of the twelve in John’s gospel. Only five of them have been named thus far: John, Andrew, Peter, Philip and Nathanael. Perhaps this is John’s account of the confession of Simon Peter at Caesarea Philippi.
When things get really hard to do, many will give up and go home. This is just what these disciples did who was not of the twelve.
In the seventh chapter of Judges, we read of a man about to do battle with the enemy of God. Thirty-two thousand men came to take up arms, but God told Gideon to send all of the fearful and all who were not prepared for battle home. Only 300 out of the 32,000 men stayed to do God’s battle.
That is what happened above. The mass of disciples left and the twelve remained. God does not get the glory when it is possible for us to win a battle on our own. God gets the glory when an impossible (in the flesh), job is to be done and God brings the impossibility into being.
These twelve had seen the multitude fed, seen blind eyes opened, seen the lame to walk. Is all of this not proof enough that He is Messiah? Are they like the others, so void of understanding the spiritual meaning of what He had said?
He had taught these twelve to look beyond the physical, or literal, and see the hidden message. He had taught them how to interpret parables, and those lessons were a look into the spiritual.
Jesus says to them “Can you not trust me?” This one percent of true followers, seen in the Gideon lesson, is about the way in most Christians today. Only about one in one hundred are willing to face ridicule from their friends and family to live the kind of separated life Jesus our Lord requires of us, if we are to truly be His.