Why Some Go Back

W. Terry Varner
June 19, 2016

In the ministry of Jesus, we are told that some of His disciples “went back and walked with Him no more” (John 6:66). This is very strange that someone would cease being a disciple of Jesus. Would you? Why did these go back and walk no more with Him? Earlier Jesus told His disciples that He would given His life for the world, and that they would to eat His flesh and drink His blood. Their response was: “This is a hard saying; who can understand?” (John 6:60). Christ had spoken figuratively of His flesh and blood. They never tried to learn what He meant.

Jesus asked His apostles if they also would go away. Peter said, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (John 6:68). Peter then took the opportunity to confess again his faith in Jesus (cf. John 6:69).

When we study the ministry of Jesus we discover many other hard or difficult sayings in the eyes or mind of those who had little or no faith in Jesus. They apply yet today.

Jesus Told Them He Would Die. “I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of 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” (John 6:51). His disciples thought He would continue to live among them and become their earthly king. At one point in His ministry Jesus understood the disciples were planning to come and take Him “by force to make Him king” (John 6:15). He quickly departed and went to be alone in the mountains. They murmured at what He had to say about being “the bread” from heaven (cf. John 6:41).

Some Lost Their Faith in Jesus. Those mentioned in the above introduction in reference to John 6:66-69 did exactly that. They lost their faith in Jesus and walked no more with Him. Does this, perhaps, describe the Christian who is no longer faithful to Jesus today? It is a normal response that if you lost faith in Jesus that you would no longer walk with Him. This has always been the practice of men. Paul describes many of the Israelites in the wilderness journey and then warns Christians: “Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God” (Heb. 3:12).

Some Go Back Because of Shallow Religion. In the Parable of the Sower, Jesus described those whose hearts are rocky as: “But the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, who believe for awhile and in the time of temptation fall away” (Luke 8:13). In conversion the word of God must be received continuously and deeply. Temptation or trials befall all of us and if the word of God is not deeply rooted in our hearts, when temptation comes, we will fall away. Our religion or our faith is weak and in our shallowness we cease walking with Jesus and may never come to our senses and return to Jesus.

Popular Pull of the World. The world is powerful. Often we allow it to erode our faith, throw in the towel, and reject the only One who is able to save us. John records the following: “Nevertheless even among the rulers [synagogues] many believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God” (John 12:42-43). This sad, but such continues with some today refusing to act on their belief and turn from obeying Jesus our Savior.