Jesus never hesitated to speak the truth. After one such time, a sad verse appears: From this time many of His disciples turned back and no longer followed Him. (John 6:66)
The words of Jesus are so countercultural, so counterintuitive, that they might be shocking to our human ears. We get used to thinking along certain lines, and then Jesus says, “That’s not the way. I AM the only way.”
Why do these statements ruffle us so much? I think they remind us that He is Lord, and there is no other. We like to think that we have options … we think, “Surely He means this” … we convince ourselves that there is some wiggle room. But we are wrong.
Jesus says: I AM. His way is the only way.
Some people turn back when they hear this. That’s to say, they don’t deny Jesus is Savior, but they no longer want to do the hard work of being His disciple. “Turn back” means to separate; it’s the opposite of coming alongside or following Jesus.
“No longer followed” in this verse is translated “walked no more” in the King James Version. They stood still. If we choose to stand still or to turn back, we miss out. Those who turned back missed out on the miracles, on the personal conversations, on the deeper intimacy with Jesus.
Those who turn back say believing in Jesus is enough, but they think discipleship is just too hard. Can they still have salvation that leads to eternal life? Yes, but it becomes harder and harder because they want to try to pursue it on their own.
I’d rather keep on walking, keep on learning, keep on maturing, keep on following.