Turn in your Bibles to John chapter 6 verses 60 to 71. We come to what is really the reaction to His great sermon. Brief background: Christ the day before had fed the multitude. The following day He had preached to them a great sermon in Capernaum in the synagogue, a sermon in which He claimed to come from heaven and to be the bread of life. He told them that they had soul hunger which was infinitely worse than physical hunger and there was only one thing that could satisfy their souls and that was He Himself. And thus He has claimed in this sermon to be the bread of life, the only soul food that can really satisfy.
He concluded His sermon in verse 58. Verse 59 tells us where He preached it. Now as we come to this section, verses 60 to 71 we find their reaction to His sermon on the bread of life. And the passage is really full of pathos because it brings us to the climax in our Lord's Galilean ministry. If not the final climax, at least the character of the final climax is indicated right here. From here it builds. It shows us right here the result of Christ's ministry of Galilee.
By charting the reaction of the people to this sermon we find the reaction they had to His ministry. He had performed miracles. He had taught graciously and they reacted. He had turned the water into wine in Galilee. He had healed the nobleman's son without even seeing him in Galilee. In Galilee He had fed the hungry multitude. In Galilee on that very same day He had performed many, many miracles. In Galilee He had taught and taught and taught and taught and each of His miracles singularly accredited Him as being the Son of God. Collectively they are beyond the possibility of question or refute. He had unquestionably given evidence of His deity and unbelief became inexcusable.
And in addition to all of His works had been His words. His works had been convincing but His words added to them were even more convincing. He had offered themself (should be Himself) freely to them as the bread from heaven to nourish their souls and then He had finally warned them in the climax of His sermon in these words. He said, "Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you," the climax. If you want life, it is in Me and nowhere else, there is no other resource.
And what had been their response to this sermon? One word will qualify their response and that word is unbelief. It was the same response that He had received in Judea, Jerusalem, exactly the same. And incidently, it is the very same response He gets today when He claims to be the only food that can satisfy a man's soul, when He claims to be all that a man needs, He gets the same response, one word, unbelief. You remember back in His Jerusalem ministry in Judea we found that He began His ministry there and for a while was accorded some success. Crowds began to follow Him. By human standards it began to look like everything was going well. But it soon became very obvious that the crowds were ill motivated, that they followed Him not because they sensed spiritual need and wanted spiritual food, they followed Him in Jerusalem/Judea because they were fleshly directed, because they were enamored by His miracles and attracted by the things that He did. They never discerned who He was. They never discerned why He came. They never discerned what He was doing. And finally the pressure got so great from these false followers that Jesus had to get out of Judea for His life and He moved to Galilee.
When He got into Galilee, what happened there? Same thing exactly that happened in Judea. First of all, a measure of success, following Him around, enamored by His miracles, attracted by the deeds that He did, never understanding who He was, why He came or what He was doing. And they're still following Him even in this sermon but when He starts talking to them about their spiritual need and He starts talking to them about the fact that they are...they are without the answer to life, they don't like it. They're offended. They're angry and they leave.
But that's always the way. That's the way today. People are enamored with the person of Christ. They're enamored with the things He did. But as soon as He opens His mouth and starts to make demands or commands, they walk away in anger and offense. It's amazing how that the Bible is a living Word, just like it says it does, and it mirrors the fickle heart two thousand years ago parallel to the same kind of fickle heart today as men today treat Him the same as they did then.
So Galilee was much like Judea. Jesus came...initial response, a few people followed Him, they liked what He did. As soon as He became definitive and says, "This is My demand, this is My standard, this is what I want, this is what you are..." Whoosh...they were gone and not just gone and indifferent, but gone in hostility. And so the great decoration of this chapter that He is the bread of life really brings to fore three different groups, each one giving a different reaction.
The three groups we see reacting to Jesus Christ in this passage...number one, the Jews and they already have reacted prior to verse 60, we've already seen that. The Jews reacted very hostile against Christ. They were antagonistic. They just threw up a wall of unbelief. Hostility was their reaction, the Jewish leaders.
But then you have a second group, and that's the group of false disciples. They kind of followed around a little while for more or less a period of time, they were enamored by Christ. They actually hung around long enough to ask Him a few questions. They moved around with Him and there were probably hundreds of them, maybe even thousands of them. And they followed Him around but they were hypocritical hundreds, to be sure. They didn't really want what He had to give and they weren't really willing to hear what He had to say, they only wanted free food and to see miracles.
Now the reaction of the Jews we've already seen. The reaction of these false disciples we'll see in our passage right here. There's one other group and that's the true disciples, the small group of real followers. After the hostile Jews left and the false followers finally left, that only left a little nucleus of true disciples and we'll meet them as well and they were small.
Now we've already seen the hostile Jews leave and they were really hostile. And it was uncalled for hostility because Christ had given them enough revelation to make them responsible. In fact, Christ said such rebuking, scathing, indignant words against Capernaum for that reaction that it's hardly imaginable. Over in Matthew chapter 11, here's a footnote, Matthew chapter 11 and verse 20, it says this, and Christ is talking in great seriousness, listen to this, "And then began He to upbraid the cities in which most of His mighty works were done because they repented not." He did enough works that they should have repented. "Woe unto thee, Chorazin, woe unto thee, Bethsaida, for if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say unto you, it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than for you." Now watch this next verse, "And thou, Capernaum," that's the city where He had given this discourse on the bread of life, that's the area where He had performed miracle after miracle, "Thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven shall be brought down to hell for if the mighty works which have been done in thee had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say unto you that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment than for thee." God said, "Because of what Capernaum had done in reacting to Christ, that it would be more tolerable for that wretched, rotten, vile city of Sodom in the day of judgment than it would be for Capernaum." The hostility that Jesus received in Capernaum was not grounded in anything but open, willful unbelief and ignorance. And Jesus rebuked that city because they had had enough revelation, enough miracles and enough teaching to be responsible. And so the hostile Jews have already been accounted for. They had mumbled, they had belittled Jesus Christ, they had wrangled to each other about Him. And that reaction is the reaction of hostility and God deals very, very seriously with hostility to Jesus Christ.
But now in our passage we want to see the other two reactions. Verse 60 to 71, 60 to 71 tell us the reaction of the false disciples and the true disciples. And you're going to see a good analogy of the difference between a false follower of Jesus and a true one.
First of all, notice the character of a false disciple. You've got two groups left here, the Jews the hostile open religious leaders they've gone, two groups are left, a group of sort of more or less followers and a group of solid true disciples. Now we want to meet them. And incidently, first of all, we'll meet the false disciples.
Now they were a large number who had been attracted, as I said, by His miracles and by the free food and enamored by His personality. They didn't believe in the real Christ. They didn't believe He was the Messiah. They didn't believe He was God in human flesh. They weren't yet convinced He was the Son of the living God. They didn't even go along with the idea of the Samaritans that He was the Savior of the world. They're just hanging around trying to find out what's happening. They're simply attracted by the physical phenomena. But now, now as Jesus moves from deeds, watch it, from deeds to words, all of a sudden the rift comes. It was all right when He fed them and it was all right when He healed them, but as soon as He started to talk about this stuff about being the bread of life that came from heaven and you've got to eat His flesh and drink His blood, He turned them off fast because they could take His person and His works but not His words. Now file that in your brain, that's a very important truth.
Verse 60, "Many therefore of His disciples," and that is a reference to the false ones, "when they had heard this said, 'This is an hard saying, who can hear it, or who can hear Him?'" Either one. Now notice, these are actually called disciples. The word "disciple" doesn't mean anything particular, it just means follower. It doesn't qualify the type of following. It doesn't qualify the motive. It doesn't give the reason at all. Just these were followers of Jesus. They had been following Him around Galilee. When you see the word "disciple" in the Bible, it doesn't have to mean the Twelve disciples. It doesn't have to mean that they were honest disciples. It only means they followed Him around. And so here He's got this crowd of sort of more or less interested folks, they're not hostile enough to blow the scene when He starts talking, they hung around a little while and they've listened to Him to give His sermon here on the bread of life. But now they're reacting. They could take His person, they could take His works, but His words they can't tolerate. And so immediately upon Christ's sermon they have joined themselves with the hostile Jews. They say, "Whoa, wait a minute, that's all, we want out." They don't like what He said.
And, boy, is this a common thing. Isn't it amazing how much the world is attracted and enamored by the work of Christ and the person of Christ, such a popular thing. But on the same token, how much they hate the words of Christ. I think that's one reason why Christmas is such a big thing, because the world knows nothing better than to get Christ back in a manger where He can't say anything. Make Him a little baby, keep Him there, see. They love the person and the character of Christ and His work, but they hate His words. It's all right to have a sweet, lovable nice Christ who does nice things and heals sick people, and has got a wonderful social orientation. This is the garbage the liberals pump out ninety miles an hour. But as soon as He stands up and said, "You're a sinner on your way to hell and I'm the only answer," whoa...you know, can't buy that stuff.
And so you have this characteristic of the false followers. They say, "Oh, this is a hard thing." And the word "hard" is skleros, it means withered, dried, stiff, dried out and the context here is not the idea that this is too hard to understand, we can't get this, it's not registering on our brain, not that at all. Here's what they're saying. "Listen, this is objectionable, offensive, impossible to believe." They're not saying we don't understand, they're saying we don't want this stuff. We don't want to believe this stuff.
You say, "Well what's so hard to believe? What didn't they accept about what Jesus said?" They didn't accept any of it. Number one, they didn't like the idea that He said He came from heaven. "What do you mean He came from heaven? We know Your father, Joseph and Mary, they live over there in Nazareth." Secondly, they didn't like the idea that He said He was the only answer to a man's spiritual need. That's apparent egotism to them. That wasn't bad enough, the idea that He came from heaven, the idea that He claimed to be the only answer, the third thing that really capped off their attitude was that He said you had to eat My flesh and drink My blood and they said, "Whoa..." and they were thinking literally about chewing on His body. If you can imagine that. They objected to the whole thing. They didn't like anything He said. They found it intolerable and they cried out and said, "Who can hear this stuff? Who can stand here and listen to that stuff?" And immediately they disqualified Jesus from being their Messiah cause He didn't fit their messianic mold.
Here's the key. Now hang on to this, I'm reemphasizing the same thing, I want you to get it, listen. The key to false discipleship is this, to accept the person of Christ but reject His...what?...His words. To hear and receive His person and to refuse His words. This is what they do all...every false disciple...not every, I shouldn't be that exclusive, or inclusive, almost every false disciple falls at this point. For example, in John 8 verse 31, just to show you how important this is, "Then said Jesus to those Jews who believed on Him," they had an initial faith, you see, that's not talking about saving faith cause I'll show you why in a minute, they just believed, they were just there and they sort of were concerned about finding out more about Him, they were hanging on. He says this, "The real proof of your true belief...watch it...if you continue in...what?...My word," see. Not that you're hung up on My person, but if you can take My word then are ye My disciples indeed, and that means in truth or in reality. True discipleship, folks, watch it, is that discipleship that accepts and believes the words of Christ. It's not a preoccupation with His person, like so much of this cult that's around Jesus. It's His words.
I went up to a great big hippie commune up at Morning Star Ranch in northern California. And I just kind of looked grubby, you know, and shaggy, just kind of wandered in and there was a black hippie that I met. I took him to town to buy some Campbell's Pork and Beans in the big things to feed the whole community, they didn't have a car. So I took him into town. We were talking while I was driving in the car and I said, "Hey, man, what do you think of Jesus?"
"Ah, man, Jesus is a groove."
I said, "Yeah."
He says, "Yeah."
I said, "Well, who was He?"
"Man, Jesus was the Son of God."
I said, "You really believe in Jesus?"
I said, "You know Jesus said you shouldn't mess around with sex sin?"
"Yeah. I don't believe that."
I said, "You don't believe that?" I said, "How about this?..." and I gave him about five statements of Jesus.
"Nah, I don't believe those either."
I said, "In other words, you believe His person but you don't want anything to do with His words."
He says, "Yeah, maybe that's it."
I said, "No maybe about it, fella, that's it."
The character of false discipleship is, "Yeah, Jesus is a groove, but just don't let Him open His mouth and make any demands of me." Preoccupation with His person. That's why Jesus said, I think it's Matthew 11:6 where He says, "And blessed is he who shall not be offended in Me," see. Jesus' words offend some people. And listen to me, to refuse His word is to refuse salvation. It doesn't do anybody any good to just think who Christ is and reject what He said because it's undefined. Boy, Peter really...really hit that hard in 2 Peter 3:15. He says this, "On account of that long suffering of our Lord is salvation." In other words, he's explaining why God waits to destroy the world. God's waiting, long suffering so that men can be saved. Then he says this, "And Paul, our brother, told you this." Verse 16, "As also in all his epistles speaking in them of these things in which are some things hard to be understood...listen...which they that are unlearned and unstable can't hold on to...watch it...as they do also the other Scriptures...are you ready for this?...unto their own destruction." To accept the person of Jesus Christ and deny His words is destruction. The words of Christ are the key to true discipleship. That's what He said, John 5:24, backing up, He says, "Verily, verily I say unto you, he that heareth...what?...My word and believeth on Him that sent Me hath everlasting life."
You call yourself a disciple? You call yourself a follower of Jesus? Do you without exception believe His Word? That's the mark of reality of discipleship. Oh, many people are captivated by the person of Christ, we've got a whole series of people captivated by that. But when it comes down to the nitty-gritty, can you hear Christ's condemnation of sin, can you hear His perfect moral demands and say I believe...I believe...I believe? You see, men's refusal of Christ doesn't always come because they can't understand, because it's not an intellectual problem. It comes because they're challenged, confronted and condemned by the words of Christ and they walk away.
Well Jesus knows this is their attitude. Verse 61, He knows they're thinking this, verse 61 He says, "When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples murmured at it, He said unto them, 'Does this offend you?'" Nobody needs to tell Him what's in the heart of man, right? John 2:23 and 24, He knows. He stood there and read their minds. "Is this bothering you, men? Does this offend you?" The word "offend" is a fascinating word. It's the verb skandalizo, it means...well, I'll describe what it means, in those days when they wanted to catch an animal they built a trap, in the middle of the trap they put some kind of a crooked stick. They stuck some bait on the crooked stick, when the animal hit the bait, the crooked stick fell, the trap went dead...boom. Jesus says, "Do My words trap you and kill you?" That's what He says. What does He mean by this? Just this, "You feign an interest in Me, has My message killed your attraction? Has My message destroyed your belief? Is this the end of your interest in Me? You could take Me when I did this and did that and fed your stomachs and foddered you all up, but do My words kill your attraction and your interest?"
Oh, they didn't want to know anything. They were there for what they can get. If they really wanted to know they would have fallen on their knees and said, "Lord, I believe, help my unbelief. Lord, explain to me, I don't understand."
So Jesus says, "Have I killed all your hopes by My sermon? Is it too hard to swallow? Impossible to believe?" And He leaves it like that and they never reply. Then He gives this absolutely fabulous statement in verse 62, and you've got to read this over and over before it all of a sudden dawns on your brain what He's saying here. Verse 62, "What if you shall see the Son of Man ascend up where He was before?"
What does that have to do with anything? He's talking about His ascension. He says, "What if you saw Me ascend up into heaven?" My first reaction was, "Yeah? What if I did? What are You talking about?" Then I began to think this thing through and this is it, it's fantastic. You know what He's saying to them? Just listen to this. They had two problems, basically, with what He said. Number one, they were really, really pressed to believe that He came from heaven, right? They couldn't buy that at all. Their number one problem was they couldn't believe He came down from heaven. Their number two problem was they didn't get this deal about eating His body and drinking His blood. They were thinking literally of cannibalism, see. And He was talking of spiritually taking Him in, see. When Jesus said, "Eat My flesh," He meant "receive Me." When He said, "Drink My blood," that meant you've got to be willing to appropriate My sacrificial death, see. Spiritual things. "Christ in you the hope of glory" doesn't mean you eat His body literally. That means you accept His person and work on the cross sacrificially receiving it into your life. They were thinking He was talking about eating.
So they had two problems. They didn't believe He came from heaven. They didn't like this idea of eating Him. You know that this verse is so profound it answers both those questions and you hardly even know it? He says to them, listen to this, "You don't believe I came from heaven," now look at verse 62, "What if you see Me go back there, would that maybe indicate to you that I also came from there?" Pretty good argument. You're hung up on the fact that I came from heaven, in My ascension I'm going back there. The ascension was the proof of where He came from. Remember that in Acts chapter 1? He was standing there and a cloud received Him out of their sight, just straight up. He says that's not so hard to believe that I came from there, I'm going back the same way I came.
The second thing He says, "You don't...you believe that I'm talking about physically eating My body? Physically drinking My blood? Whoa...one of these days you're going to see Me going back to heaven intact with all My limbs right where they were when I got here. If I came down here to be eaten up, folks, I won't be going back intact."
So He answers both their questions. They didn't buy the idea that He came from heaven so He says when I ascend you'll know I came from where...I'm going where I came from. And also they didn't buy the idea that you had to eat Him and drink Him, they're thinking literally, He says how could I be thinking literally if I'm going to go back into heaven in My physical body when My whole work is done, right? When I finish My work and I go back, I won't have all parts of My body nibbled. I'll be going back in total what I was when I came.
So, verse 62 is profound, isn't it? He not only predicts His ascension, but He uses His ascension to answer the problems of their unbelief. Boy, that's a tremendous answer. Just to show you that's the correct interpretation, look at verse 63. I know you trust me anyway. But look at verse 63, "It is the Spirit that gives life, the flesh profits nothing." I'm not talking about eating My literal body, folks, it's My Spirit that is the life-giving thing, right? See, that's what He's talking about. He's saying to them, "You...My whole body will go back...back intact in total when it goes back to heaven because I haven't come to be eaten alive, I've come that you might partake of My spirit for...verse 63...it is the spirit that gives life." And He's not talking about the Holy Spirit. He's not all of a sudden teaching the new birth. He's contrasting spirit with what other word? Flesh. He's saying it's not my physical body that needs to be in you, it's My spirit.
What do you mean My spirit? All of His person and being. The flesh is the outside of a man, the spirit is the inside. Christ's saying, "It's not My body that I'm so concerned with, it's the real Me that I want to have in you," see. And isn't that what Paul meant when he said, "Christ in you,"? It doesn't mean we devour His body. It means the person of Christ received into us. So He says, "It is the spirit that gives life." My life coming into your life. Paul says, "Nevertheless I live, yet not I but the life which I live I live by the faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me," see. My life is Christ in me.
Well He's trying to get the message to them...I don't want you to take My body, I want you to take the Me, the real Me, My being, My person, My character, receive Me into you by faith. Oh the spiritual is what matters, not the physical. So Jesus says I came from heaven, I'm going to return to heaven. Also, My physical body is going to return intact. I have been teaching you spiritual truth, not physical.
Then Jesus hits the crux of the issue again. Verse 63 in the middle, "The words..." there they are again, folks, you see them there? "The words that I speak unto you they are spirit..." What do You mean by that? They reveal My real self and they are...what?...life. What is the dividing line then? It is the words of Jesus Christ, for they and they alone reveal who He really is. And so He says it is My word that is the key. Words reflect the spirit...that is My words reflect what I am, "Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks." I am what I am and will reveal what I am by what I say. You accept the words of Christ and in fact you have received Him. Paul says in Romans 10:17, "Faith comes by hearing a speech about Christ," Romans 10:17. Faith comes by hearing a speech about Christ. It is the words themselves, empowered by the Spirit of God that give life.
Now mark that. Mark that in your minds. That is a biblical principle. Jeremiah said, "Thy words were found and...what?...I did eat them." "They became the joy and rejoicing of My heart." Take in the word of God is to receive God for the only expression God ever gave definitively is His words. And that's where true and false discipleship separate company. The false disciple can take everything up to the word but that does it. That's why you can categorize most of liberalism and modernism under that category of false discipleship. Whenever they start explaining away the words of Christ and denying the inspiration of the Word of God, you can file them in the false follower category.
There's an important note I want to make here. Jesus is giving a rather detailed explanation to these false followers, you know it? And it's an interesting thought because He gave absolutely no explanation to the Jews. He didn't even give them as much as the time of day. They didn't believe and so He just turned away and made it more complicated, more profound and they didn't know what was going on. To these followers even though they're false followers, Christ at least condescends to give them some more information.
There's a great principle there and we've already gone over it in the past weeks, let me just remind you. Just this, here it is, Jesus never committed Himself to unbelief. Did you get that? He never committed Himself to unbelief. Where there is the slightest opening of possibility of faith, Christ commits Himself. To the hostile Jew...nothing. To the would-be more-or-less follower...Christ will commit Himself and take the time to give a detailed answer. I'll say it another way, Jesus never caters to unbelief but to the would-be disciple He gives Himself. He always honors the seeker.
Now we get to verse 64, even in spite of His honoring them and giving them this information, they still don't believe. Verse 64, "But there are some of you that believe not..." That's a tragic statement. The most horrible word in the Bible is unbelief...unbelief. They wouldn't believe. Some of you don't believe. He doesn't say, "Well, I'm sorry that some of you don't have the intellectual capacity to understand. Some of you just haven't quite got the argument yet." It doesn't say that. It says, "You just don't believe...you just don't believe."
You see, salvation is not a question of intelligence, folks, it's a question of faith. You know something? I don't understand all of it. I believe it. Isaiah 35:8, Isaiah said, "A stranger though a fool need not err." Little children believe. The simplest child can understand the simple message of Jesus Christ and believe. It's not a question of intelligence. It's a question of faith. So He doesn't say to them, "You don't understand," He says, "You don't believe, that's your problem." If you don't believe you can't understand it. Now notice that that's serious personal responsibility. He says, "You don't believe," boom! You don't. Putting the responsibility on them.
Then there's a comment by John in a remark by Jesus that adds something to that. Verse 64, "For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not." He knows everything. He knows everything. He knew from eternity past who...who would be His own and who would not believe. That was all in the ancient decree of God, before time ever began. "So He knew from the beginning who they were that believed not and who should betray Him." Here's a new person introduced into our study. He knew the very one who that would betray Him. He not only knew the multitude, watch it...He not only knew the multitude of false disciples who wouldn't believe, but He knew that singular one Judas who sticks out above all others. He knew and He said, "Therefore said I unto you that no man can come unto Me except it were given unto him by My Father." He knows. He knows who the Father gives to Him. He knows who the Father calls. He knows who the Father calls who will come and who won't come. He knows that. That's in the decree of God in eternity past. And so, again He explains their unbelief by the fact that God has not drawn them. But He also holds them personally responsible by saying, "Some of you don't believe."
Then He adds this thought and I just want to entertain it for a minute. He knows who should betray Him. Now jump down to verse 70. "Jesus answered them, 'Have not I chosen you Twelve and one of you is a devil?' He spoke of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, for it was...for he it was that should betray Him being one of the Twelve."
Now here he tells us who it is, Judas Iscariot. Iscariot means he's from the village of Kerioth. Judas was the one who was going to betray Him. He was a devil. Some people have tried to give Judas a pure motive in what he did. There's no pure motive. If Christ called him a devil, how could he have a pure motive? Devils don't have pure motives. Judas had rotten motives from the time he got into the little band till he got out of it. He always had the wrong motives. But he begins to describe this betrayer.
You say, "Well why does He take the time to be..to describe this betrayer right here?" I think because of this, if He's talking about false disciples and showing you the character of false disciples, who is the greatest example of the history of the ages of a false disciple? Judas. And so Judas becomes the illustration. Jesus says, "I knew Judas would betray Me from the beginning." And in John 17:12 it says that he was the son of perdition and he was lost to the cause that the Scripture might be fulfilled. Listen, you go back, if you want to study it, to Psalm 41:9 and Zechariah 11:12 and 13 and you read those and they'll give you a detailed description of the betrayal of Christ. God knew in eternity past, before this world was ever created that Judas would betray Him. That's not outside the knowledge of God.
But Judas is a perfect example, absolutely perfect of a false disciple. Let me show you why. When Jesus first arrived, Judas jumped on the bandwagon. He was enamored by the person of Christ, attracted by Christ, thinking, "This might be the Messiah, I better get in on this deal. I mean, if this guy really knocks off the Romans and brings in the Kingdom, I want to be in on it. I want to be there." And so he hung around Jesus for three years. Eventually he was so well respected he got to be elected treasurer of the group and he carried the money. But then things began to go sour. All of a sudden Jesus started talking about having to die and Jesus started talking about the fact that there wasn't going to be any Kingdom unless there was faith in Israel. And Jesus started saying I'm going to leave you. And Judas got to thinking, "Wow, man, this thing is exploding." That popular opinion started turning against Jesus and He became persecuted and Judas got panicky and he figured, "Listen, three years hanging around this little group deserves some compensation. I'm not just getting out of here with nothing." So he tried to pull off a little deal at Bethany, you know, when they were anointing Jesus Christ, he said, "Don't waste that stuff, sell it and we'll give the money to the poor." And John says, "Uhuh,"parenthesis, (he only said that cause he held the bag). He wanted to get as much as he could and beat it. He was frustrated at Bethany. He couldn't get his money. So he in panic and frustration ran out and sold Jesus for $25.00, grabbed his money and thought he could run away with it. No way. The money burned a hole in his hand.
Judas, the perfect example of the false disciple and so said Jesus of him, "Better for that man if he had never been born." What a tragic person he was. You know, he existed in the finest surroundings you could imagine. He actually walked and talked with Jesus every day for three years. Oh was he a terrifying illustration of what sin does. And having been such a false disciple, Peter said something of him that nobody ever said of anybody else in all the Bible, when he died Peter said, "He went to his own...what?...place." Boy, that's serious. Tragically...tragically, Judas is no solitary monster. It would have been bad enough if there was only one Judas but there have been a million. There may be Judases here this morning. Judases who have sat at Christ's table and eaten His bread. Judases who have feigned discipleship and love and then decided to lift up the heal against Him. These kind of disciples usually go quietly through the world and then they hit some experiment of cruces??, a test that only sincerity will stand and at that point they collapse because there is no sincerity. It would have been bad enough if Jesus had endured one Judas kiss, He has been kissed a million times with Judas lips.
Listen...you say, "What do you mean by that?" Just this, listen, to hypocritically confess Christ with your mouth while your life denies Him, to exalt His virtues while your life robs Him of His place, to sing enthusiastic hymns and songs and oratories or whatever while you trample His gospel by Your word and deed, what is that but another Judas kiss.
So we see the false disciple and the greatest example of the false disciple was among the Twelve, and rightly so. You want to know something? The worst can only become the worst in contrast to the best, right? A Judas could only exist in the brilliant light of the presence of Jesus Christ. Anywhere else he wouldn't look so black. You put a black object in a black room with no lights, you can't see it. You take a black object and hold up into the blazing sun and you'll see it. Judas is all the blacker because he was in the presence of the Son and only a Judas could exist in the sphere of the brilliant light of Jesus Christ. That's why there is nothing as black as pitch black, as hellish black, as the hypocrite who feigns love to Jesus Christ and is in fact a false follower. And so he is and so he lived in the brilliant sunlight of the light of the world, and so black was his blackness. The great example of a false disciple. Everything's okay as long as it's the person and the work but when the words of Christ become demanding and change and just aren't what you thought they should be, you leave.
And you know what happens to false disciples? They always leave. They always move out. Verse 66, "From that time many of His disciples went back and walked no more with Him." False disciples can't take it when it gets to the crucial. They can't hack it. Demas, Paul said, hath done...what?...forsaken us. Why? Because he loved the present world. They went out from us because...what?...they weren't of us. The false disciple hits the experiment of cruces[?] and he can't stand it because only sincerity can stand the test and he leaves. And so we meet the false followers and Jesus finds them coming and going all through His ministry.
Then and we have desired only to spend a moment on this because it's brief in the text, I want you to see the character of a true disciple. The false we've seen. The true is in verses 67 to 69, just three verses. And this is the beautiful side. God always has His remnant. God always has His faithful. God always has some who believe. There are always some who hold on to Jesus Christ, always some who trust, always that quote "little flock," that few. Verse 67 is a broken-hearted plea. "Then said Jesus unto the Twelve, 'Will ye also go away?'" That's a brokenhearted statement. Sad, grieved, Jesus had just stood there, He had fed them, He had healed them, He had presented Himself as free bread for their souls, they didn't want it, they refused it. They rejected it. They hated Him and they left.
The Greek indication of this question is much different than what you have in your Bible. There are four kinds of questions in the Greek called four-class conditionals. Let me read this question as it appears in the Greek structure. Listen to it, "You won't also go away, will you?" That's the question. They've all left, but almost melancholy Jesus says, "You won't also go away, will you?" A broken heart. Thank the Lord for Peter, sweet ole Peter. He jumps up in verse 68, "Then Simon Peter answered Him, 'Lord, to whom shall we go?'" Don't you like that? "No, Lord, where would we go?" Is that the character of true discipleship? Oh. Then he says this, "Thou hast the words of eternal life and we believe and are sure that Thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God."
Boy, that is a statement, folks. There is the key to discipleship. Listen to me, two things, did you see them there? You know what two things make a true disciple? Here they are, are you ready? Faith...get it...faith, "Lord, we believe." You see it there? "We are sure who You are, we believe.' You know what the other one is? Faithfulness. "Lord, where would we go." See. "Not only do I believe You, I stay where You are."
"If you continue in My Word then are you disciples truly." In other words, faith is the birth of the true disciple. Faithfulness is the character of the true disciple. And so Peter says in that little statement the whole of the Christian life in one thought. You know, the whole Christian life can be boiled down to two things? Faith and faithfulness. I believe, I'm staying where You are. This is just living conscious of Christ's presence, isn't it? You know, Peter couldn't stand to be away from Jesus. We've shared this thought. He hated it. He couldn't stand to be anywhere that Jesus wasn't. He wanted always be where Christ was. This is illustrated so many times. He says, "Lord, I'm not going anywhere, You couldn't get rid of me." That's the kind of Christian life that's the real life of the disciples, just constantly practicing the presence of Jesus Christ knowing He's right there beside you. "Lord, share my life, share my trials, share my joys, share my decisions, share my temptations." Constant involvement with Jesus Christ. That's discipleship. Lord, I have faith. Lord, I have faithfulness. That's what you want. I believe in You and I'm staying where You are. There's the whole Christian life right there.
Well I'm glad there were at least eleven, aren't you? I'm glad there were at least eleven. You say, "That's not very many." That's all right, two of them...two of them, not two of these eleven but two other ones in Acts 17 were said to have turned the world...what?...upside down. God doesn't need very many. It's not how many, it's what kind. He had His eleven. You and I who know Christ are here this morning in great measure because that eleven two thousand years ago had faith and...what?...faithfulness.
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