I. Assessment of Jesus Christ (John 6:67)

From John 7:16-17, we learn that a very essential part of theological learning is submission to the will of God, the Father. Many of the Jews were surprised that Jesus possessed higher knowledge even if He did not have a formal education in the rabbinical schools. The reason is stated in v. 16: Jesus answered them, “My doctrine is not mine, but from him who sent me.” His knowledge came from the Father who sent Him. Further, He says in v. 17, “If any one desires to do his will, he will know concerning the doctrine, whether it is of God, or I speak from myself.” Spirituality, not the intellectual capacity of a person, is really the issue here. According to G. Isidro, we, too, can obtain higher theological learning if we do the will of the Father. This means we must surrender our lives to Him.[1]

There are many nominal Christians in the world today. They can be found in any number of churches amidst a vast selection of denominations. The term, “nominal,” means, “in name only.” This indicates a position without attributes or power that should go along with that position.[2] The nominal Christian calls himself a Christian. He may even be religious. But he does what he wants rather than the will of God.[3]

As Christians, sometimes we wonder at the apostasy of many who profess to be followers of Christ. It is a sad reality that many people are induced to become His professed followers because of some temporal benefit or just carried away by public excitement. But when the temporal benefit is not obtained or the excitement is over, they fall away.

In John 6:66, we see that many of the followers of Jesus turned away from Him and left Him. The reason is that they can’t accept the words He spoke regarding His flesh and blood. This is due to their lack of willingness to surrender their lives to the Him. After this occasion, the Lord asked His twelve disciples a very affectionate, yet, very convicting question. “Do you not also want to go away?” Here, the Lord is giving them a chance to leave if they want to leave. He does not want anyone to be detained with Him against their own will. The Greek word for “want” is thelete, from the root, thelō. The basic meaning of this word is, “to will,” “to wish,” or “to desire.”[4] This implies active volition and purpose.[5] We see a very important lesson: Genuine obedience is not stipulated or forced. The Lord does not want followers who are just “pressed on” to serve but disciples who are willing to serve out of genuine love for Him. The first big step into genuine obedience to the Lord is to surrender our lives to Him first.

The question now is this: When we hear some teachings of the Lord which are hard for us to accept or obey, do we feel a disconcerting feeling or inclination to leave Him also? God forbid.

[1] Isidro, Annotated, 148.

[2] An example would be a king who is considered a ruler, but who obviously does not have authority to make or enforce laws over his own people thus proving himself to be only a nominal ruler after all.

[3] “The Nominal Christian.” Cited Sept. 6, 2011. Online: http://www.comprehensivechristian.com/The-Nominal-Christian-comprehensivechristian.com.asp.

[4] Spiros Zodhiates, ed., The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament (Chattanooga: AMG, 1992), 727.

[5] Zodhiates, Complete, 727.

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