The Company You Keep#5 “Not walking with Him anymore.”

The Company You Keep#5 “Not walking with Him anymore.”

A lot of stock is put in the sizes of congregations. Jesus saw his crowd of followers multiply after The Feeding of the 5000 (Jn.6). Many followed him to Capernaum hoping that he would be their new Moses. Being fed their daily bread from heaven for the rest of their lives was worth lining up for.

Jesus had no time for these hangers-on. Even those who had identified as disciples were told that the only food and drink they could expect was his body and blood. That’s not what they signed up for. Their dreams of physical prosperity under King Jesus were shattered by this talk of cannibalism. John says: “As a result of this many of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore” (Jn.6:66).The hard-earned fruit of months of ministry was melting away before his disciples’ eyes. The excitement of the crowds, the persecution of the Pharisees, the many miles walked, the comforts happily sacrificed, and hours of teaching imbibed; how could Jesus let all of this go to waste?How many preachers would let that happen? Our first instinct is panic. We rush to halt the exodus. Leaders force themselves to placate the unhappy. Truth is watered down to stop the haemorrhaging. Jesus was having none of that. Instead he fixed his gaze upon the last people you would have expected him to—His 12 disciples. He asks, “You do not want to go away also, do you?” (Jn.6:67). We know exactly what came into Peter’s mind when confronted with this jarring question, because his convictions automatically spilled forth in technicolour: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life (Jn.6:68).

What of our convictions when our faith is jammed into a corner of testing?

The church is founded upon the body and blood of Jesus—Christ and him crucified!

We want everyone to enjoy the many blessings brought by the work and faith of the congregation. But too often the pleasant blessings like friendship, generosity, help and comfort insulate people from the harsh realities of discipleship. Unrepentant brethren, persecution, privation and discouragement are also part and parcel of church life – Satan wants to destroy us! Thus, it should come as no surprise to us when brethren, either exhibiting these, or being confronted by them, leave and are “not walking with Him anymore.”

John Staiger

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