What makes you stay?
When you are part of a group and public opinion shifts, what makes you stay? How much attention do you pay to the way people are talking? If lots of people are talking positively about your group, does that make you feel more attached? If lots of people start to raise questions, does that cause you to ask questions? If people in the group start to grumble about what they are hearing, about the demands that are being made on the group members, do you start to join in the grumbling?
Why? What drives our attachment?
John 6 captures a few days of teaching by Jesus. It starts with the amazing feeding of a huge crowd. It ends with the odd teaching about eating Jesus. During this narrative, we first see the Twelve. We then see a huge crowd. We then see this crowd sorted into eaters and disciples. The eaters start to leave. Then disciples start to leave. By the end of the chapter, it seems that we are back down to the Twelve.
And Jesus turns to them and says, “You don’t want to leave too, do you?”
[I don’t know his tone of voice as he says this. We could suggest that he’s pretty defeated. But John says that “Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him.” There is the sense that this isn’t a test of Jesus’ will, it’s a test of the hearts of the Twelve.]
Peter says, “Lord, to whom shall we go?”
As difficult as Jesus’ words were, he was the only one with words that mattered. As challenging as it is was to be around him, it was even harder to be anywhere else.
I don’t think things have changed.
First published 2010. Still true.