Jesus asked the twelve, “Do you also wish to go away?” (John 6:67)
In today’s reading (John 6: 51-69) Jesus’ followers are beginning to turn away. Opposition is mounting. Eric Burtness writes,
The people following Jesus don’t know if they want to go where he is now leading them. So they say, “This teaching is difficult; who can accept it?” (John 6:60). Something they don’t like is beginning to happen. Jesus is starting down a path they are pretty sure they don’t want to tae. The Gospel reports that many people decided to turn back at this point.
“Do you also wish to go away?” Jesus asks the twelve. And Peter replies, “Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.”
In my younger years I had the joy of backpacking a half dozen mountain ranges with different people at different times. Each mountain range had its own beauty. What they held in common was the rugged beauty of unspoiled nature. Which also translates into, “No road signs here, honey!” We followed rock cairns (pronounced ‘karens’) that marked the direction we were to hike over barren rock ‘trails’. Rock cairns are simply rocks stacked atop one another. They are not wildly obvious. You have to be alert to recognize them. Rocks amidst rocks.
One year on a trip, one of the women was only a few miles from our starting point when she decided she couldn’t manage the weight of the backpack, the thin air of the high altitude, and the seemingly endless trail before us. Try as we might, we couldn’t convince her that the journey was worth the effort. Another hiker volunteered to hike back down with her.
It wasn’t an easy week in the mountains. But it was indescribably beautiful. Truly. At one point we got lost. At another point we were very aware of the fresh grizzly tracks that we seemed to be following. We kept putting one tired foot in front of the other, mile after mile. And it was worth every blister and every aching muscle.
Have you ever been lost? What were the circumstances, and how did you finally find your way? Have you ever been tempted not to continue on the path where you thought you were headed?
The questions for today from Beyond Question: Many people decided to turn back rather than continue on with Jesus. What holds you back from following Jesus, no matter where the path leads? What helps you stay on this path?
Holy God, our strength and our redeemer, by your Spirit hold us forever, that through your grace we may worship you and faithfully serve you, follow you and joyfully find you, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen* (ELW p. 22)