“On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?”  61 Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you? 62 Then what if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! 63 The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life. 64 Yet there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. 65 He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them.”  66 From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.  67 “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve.  68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.”  70 Then Jesus replied, “Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!” 71 (He meant Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, who, though one of the Twelve, was later to betray him.)” (John 6:60—71 NIV)


            Jesus has many disciples.  However, not all disciples can easily accept Jesus’s teaching.  This is evidenced by this scenario.  On hearing Jesus about him being the bread of life and eating his flesh, the disciples had this to say.  “This is hard teaching.  Who can accept it?”  This is an interesting line of thought from Jesus’ disciples.  This is hard teaching.  The statement was true.  Jesus’ teachings are not easy; they are hard because they dig deep into my true intention of why I am a disciple. 

            Do I follow Jesus for what I can get or receive from him, or do I follow him because of who He is, the bread of life?  Do I follow Jesus because he says nice things and is always kind, and I can benefit from it, or because I believe he is the Son of God?  Do I believe that he is the bread of life whose body has broken for me on the cross for my salvation? 

            What made me think was not the statement as much as was the follow up question that the disciples made; “WHO CAN ACCEPT IT?”  In other words, they have a choice about what they hear.  They can learn and accept Jesus’ teachings, or they can say it’s hard and reject his teachings.  Jesus’ teaching is not to make me happy and have a collection of good feelings about it.  Jesus’ teaching is about truth and good faith, intending to make me a child of God. 

            Jesus said the words I have spoken to you, they are FULL OF SPIRIT and LIFE.  The word of Jesus is not to entertain my curiosity and tickle my ears.  It is for a life change.  This is the test for true disciples, and that is, Do I ACCEPT Jesus’ teaching or not?  My answer to this question will determine whether I am a true disciple or follower of Christ.  Sadly, too, Jesus knows who TRULY BELIEVE AND WHO does not.  Jesus has many followers and very few real disciples.  Many followers are not truly disciples of Christ. 

            Many, when they heard Jesus’ HARD TEACHINGS, did NOT ACCEPT IT, and they all went away.  Followers are only going after what they want from Jesus, but a disciple is one who is DRAWN BY THE FATHER, thus is willing to listen even to the hard teachings of Jesus and ACCEPT IT.  There are many so-called Christians today who are at odds with Jesus’ teachings and would not accept his hard teachings.    I have to remind myself not to fool myself that I am a disciple of Jesus if I do not accept his hard teachings, because Jesus knows who his true disciples are. 

            Many followers and so called disciples WENT AWAY AND STOP FOLLOWING JESUS.  Jesus turned to the 12 that he chose, and said, “YOU DO NOT WANT TO LEAVE TOO, DO YOU?  The difference between the twelve disciples and many followers, was Peter’s answer to Jesus question.

            “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.  This should be my response to my calling as a disciple.  Lord, where do I go when you are the source of everything?  I am encouraged by Peter’s response to Jesus.  This is a big difference to those who are true disciples of Christ and to those who are mere followers.  The difference is my choice, choosing to accept the words of Christ.     Jesus said to Peter, I have chosen twelve of you, yet one of you is a devil.  Jesus knew well that even within his chosen disciples, one would still make a decision that would be against him.  Jesus knew Judas the Iscariot would still try to play the part of an honest disciple but yet willingly walked away from the truth. 


            I am been challenged today by this thought that I can follow Christ only for what I want from him.  However, I am deeply convinced by the thought that I must be a disciple who truly knows that I am called and, with a made-up mind, ACCEPT all of Jesus’ teachings in my life.  For Jesus’ words are Spirit and Life.  Today, I submit myself to Jesus’ words and say that I fully accept all his teachings, even if it is hard to understand. 


            Jesus, teach me how to be a true disciple of yours that understands and accept all the teachings that you have because they are Spirit and Life.  Please help me be teachable and be a true follower of your word.  I desire to accept your words because they are Spirit and Life.  I commit all my days to you to be a disciple that you will be pleased with.  Amen!