Can’t Or Won’t? – I

June 29, 2016

John 6:60, 66-69

(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)

John 6:60, 66-69:

      Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this, said, “This is an
      hard saying; who can understand it?”…From that time many of His dis-
      ciples went back and walked with Him no more.  Then Jesus said to the
      twelve, “Do you also want to go away?”  Then Simon Peter answered
      Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go?  You have the words of eternal life. 
      Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son
      of the living God.”

Jesus had just laid down some controversial teaching.  He had a lot of the common people following Him to Capernaum, on the northwest end of the Sea of Galilee.  In the first 14 verses of John 6, the Lord had just fed 5,000 men, plus women and children – with just…five barley loaves and two small fishes.” (John 6:9).  According to what Jesus told them in John 6:26:  “Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me…because you ate of the loaves and were filled.”  “Free eats!  Yea!  We will follow you anywhere!”  So He laid down the famous discourse of His body and blood as food and drink in John 6:32 through 58, summing it up in verses 51 and 54:

      I am the living bread which came down from heaven.  If anyone eats of
      this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh,
      which I shall give for the life of the world….Whoever eats My flesh and
      drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.

That’s when the vast majority of the crowd left – all but the twelve disciples!  It was not that the majority could not follow Jesus all the way, it was that they would not!

There is a big difference between Can’t Or Won’t!  For instance, there are basic things we are called to do once we have accepted Jesus Christ as our personal Savior:

•      The Bible – we are directed in Colossians 3:16 to “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly….”  Here are several ways to accomplish this (emphasis by underlining, mine):

      ✞      Isaiah 34:16 (KJV) – “Seek ye out of the book of the LORD, and read….

      ✞      II Timothy 2:15 (1899 Douay-Rheims Bible) – “Carefully study to present thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.

      ✞      Psalm 1:1, 2 (International Standard Version) – “How blessed is the person, who does not take the advice of the wicked, who does not stand on the path with sinners, and who does not sit in the seat of mockers.  But he delights in the LORD’s instruction, and meditates in His instruction day and night.

      ✞      Deuteronomy 11:18 (Contemporary English Version) – “Memorize these laws and think about them.  Write down copies and tie them to your wrists and your foreheads to help you obey them.

      ✞      Deuteronomy 11:19, 20 (Lexham English Bible) – “And you shall teach them to your children by talking about them when you sit in your house and when you travel on the road and when you lie down and when you get up.  And you shall write them on the doorframes of your house and on your gates….

Last Wednesday, in our home Bible study, some folks were having a difficult time finding where in the Bible I wanted them to turn.  So I told them:

      Early on in my Christian experience, I memorized the names of the books of
      the Bible – all 66 of them!  I reviewed them again and again, going over them
      in proper sequence in my mind.  This has helped me so much to find my place
      when I need to turn to a specific passage.

The looks I received for such a recommendation?  “Are you nuts?!!

It is not that most folks can’t memorize!  It is that they won’t!  It may be a hard saying to obey what God expects of us, but if God presents a valid condition for us to fulfill, He has already given us the resources to do it!  Can’t Or Won’t?  It all comes down to a matter of obedience or disobedience!

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