Gatekeeper for Jesus: John 6:60-71

Focus Passage: John 6:60-71 (NIV)

60 On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?”

61 Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you? 62 Then what if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! 63 The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life. 64 Yet there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. 65 He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them.”

66 From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.

67 “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve.

68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.”

70 Then Jesus replied, “Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!” 71 (He meant Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, who, though one of the Twelve, was later to betray him.)

Read John 6:60-71 in context and/or in other translations on!

When the crowds became too large for Jesus’ liking, or perhaps when too many people were simply following Him only because it was the popular thing to do, Jesus seemed to do something that would challenge the crowd and thin the number of people following Him to only those who were really serious.

Perhaps this was the first time Jesus had done this, or perhaps this was one of the more significant times, but here at the end of John chapter 6, Jesus says some very challenging words to those following Him, and it prompts almost everyone to abandon Him.

Immediately before the crowd packs up and leaves, Jesus makes a very interesting statement. He says, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them.” (v. 65)

In an almost backwards train of thought, we must have the approval of the Father in order to even get to Jesus. This runs opposite to the belief that Jesus came to point us to the Father.

Actually both ideas are equally correct, and they work together.

God the Father sends the Holy Spirit to point people to Jesus. Without the Holy Spirit’s guidance, there is no way for us to even be able to identify Jesus, and without the Holy Spirit’s moving through history, there wouldn’t even be a Christian church today. A locally known carpenter’s Son would have made a local impact, but the movement would have fizzled out less than a century later.

But with the Holy Spirit enabling (and drawing) people to Jesus, the Christian movement has lasted for thousands of years, and it has a present in almost every part of the world today.

Jesus points us to God the Father, and God the Father sends the Holy Spirit to help enable us to find Jesus. Perhaps this was too challenging of an idea for those in the crowd at that time, or maybe those in the crowd were simply following Jesus because they liked seeing His miracles and because it was the popular thing to do. While the crowd had found Jesus-the-celebrity, they had missed seeing Jesus-the-Savior. Only the Holy Spirit can draw someone to seeing Jesus the Savior, and that involves asking for help from the Father.

This thought was inspired by studying the Walking With Jesus “Reflective Bible Study” package. To discover insights like this in your own study time, click here and give Reflective Bible Study a try today!

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