ATP Blog 42
Have you ever held on to something as fact, only to find that most people around you reject it as fiction? That is what it is like being a follower of Jesus Christ—a Christian. Why is this? Today’s verses demonstrate the reason.
Strange Teaching The first reason Jesus Christ was rejected by some (many) was that the people did not understand His teaching. Christ had just finished teaching about the sustenance that only He could provide as the ‘Bread of Life’ in a very visual way, then explained it further on the other side of the lake. Yet, the people “complained about Him” (v41). Their complaint because of His comment, ‘I am the bread which came down from heaven.’ They knew and understood that this was a statement that made Jesus equal with God the Father!
Known Background The second reason Jesus Christ was rejected was His background … at least what they understood about His background. It seems that they believed Jesus to be the son of Joseph, and brother to James, Simon, Joses, Judas, and others (v42). This was true, but it seems that the miracles surrounding Jesus’ birth were not as widely known. Remember, Joseph and Mary only returned to Nazareth after one year in Bethlehem, followed by several months in Egypt, so they were already a little family, possibly with more children than just Jesus. He then spent 28ish years in quiet service to His family and community as a son and a carpenter. Nothing is spoken of His destiny as Messiah during those years, except one small incident in the Temple, when Jesus was twelve.
Election Do you remember our discussion last week about election (God’s choice) and free will (man’s choice)? Jesus seems to make this into a reason for His rejection too! ‘No one comes to Me unless the Father … draws him.’ (v44) In other words, these people are in a fog that prevents clarity of understanding; they will never understand unless God the Father ‘draws’ them through the power of the Holy Spirit. Take note that not all who are drawn by the Father accept the gift of salvation from Him. A prime example of this is the Pharaoh in Egypt at the time of Moses. God hardened his heart against the nation of Israel, basically condemning the ruler to death, but Pharaoh had already chosen to go against God (Exodus).
Laziness A fourth reason I put forth for the people’s rejection of Jesus is common today too. It is an unwillingness to learn! ‘They will be taught by God’ when they believe. ‘Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me.’ (v45) Notice that it is not enough to hear, one must be willing to learn, that is to put into the heart what the head knows to be true. If you are not willing, you cannot know God, since the only way to know God, and develop a relationship with Him, is through Jesus Christ (v46).
Make it personal So, how about you? There are two important points that you need to take from this as lessons: first, is that you need to make a decision to learn about the Father through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. Secondly, you must realize that there are many people who will reject you … but really they are not rejecting you, they are rejecting the One who sent you, Jesus Christ. Do not take it personally, but pray for all. No one deserves the grace and mercy of God in the form of salvation through Jesus Christ, but all need it. Never reject praying for someone because you think they do not deserve it.