Grace Perseveres

August 11, 2022

Many of his followers heard this and said, “This teaching is too hard. Who can listen to it?” Without being told, Jesus knew that they were grumbling about this, so he said to them, “Does this make you want to give up?” John 6:60-61 GNT

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. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.” John 6:66-69 NIV

Deconstruction is a buzz word in our circles today and it is real. It refers to people who have grown up in the church or converted some time ago who now have many doubts about their faith and see many things they no longer feel they can believe or accept. They believe God and the church (if God exists) has let them down, and that they have believed a falsehood. These Christians rethink their faith and jettison previously held beliefs, sometimes to the point of no longer identifying as Christians. I have conversed with many of these people, and I feel their angst.

But that’s not where most of us are. Most of us are right here with these honest followers. We fall in the group of old-fashioned “backsliders,” or people who simply stood on the fringes of commitment. For us it’s not that we don’t understand or have been misled. We have great clarity on what Jesus said. We know what needs to come next. We are crystal clear on what commitment is being asked of us. We just don’t want to make it. We can and do make many excuses— “Well, the church is (or isn’t) _________.” “What about them?” “I don’t believe that is necessary.” If we are totally honest, we would need to admit we are easily like these followers. We mumble and grumble about what God has said to us. It’s a hard saying. No one can truly expect us to listen to it and take it to heart, can they?

When we struggle like that with what God has said, we are likely to leave our first love. We walk away from our first and foremost commitment and priority to Jesus and His kingdom. Slowly but surely we drift away because it seemed too hard.

Don’t you just love Peter? When Jesus asked, “Are you going to leave me too?” Peter owned where his heart was. He knew it was hard. He knew that God’s call to him was certainly not without cost. But he considered following to be worth far more than what it cost. Jesus had the words of life. So he was sticking with Jesus and persevering.

  • Jesus still has the words of life. Consider what grace and following faithfully is worth, not what it costs.