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August 26 – Should I Stay or Should I Leave

Evacuation was an important word in the days leading up to the day this post should have been written. A Category 4 Hurricane was approaching. Anyone with common sense was trying to find a way to leave town. Needless to say, I stayed in town. We were blessed in that Harvey hit us with a glancing blow in Corpus Christi. People in nearby towns, though, saw the full force and fury of Harvey. Even with that glancing blow, though, there were times as the wind was howling around the house and the trees were hitting the boards over our windows I wished that I had left. Trouble came that no one could change. Evacuation, leaving, was the only thing for some people to do.

As Jesus spoke, many became offended by His words. They realized that following Jesus was going to be hard. So they evacuated, they left. The difference here is that while people had no say in whether or not Harvey was coming, these who had followed Jesus could have decided to believe Him and follow. That wouldn’t have made life easy, but it would have given them amazing guidance for life. In short, all but a few of those who had followed Him left. The twelve. The disciples stayed. Jesus put the question to them: “’You do not want to leave too, do you?’ Jesus asked the Twelve. Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.’” (John 6:67-68)

Jesus had fed the 5000 people. They decided they wanted to follow Him and they got across or around the lake so they could. Then Jesus talked to them about their relationship with God. And then He mentioned His relationship to God. He was the bread of life. He was the Son of God. That made them back away. Everybody will come for the food and the fellowship, but when people have to make a commitment that could be life changing, we hesitate. We back off. Those people who had come all the way across the lake, hoping for another free meal, got instead, a word from God about Jesus. They were made to understand who He was. And, in understanding who Jesus was, they learned about themselves. They knew that their self-righteousness wasn’t enough. They looked aghast as Jesus called out the Pharisees and they knew they were never as righteous as those holy guys. So they bugged out. They went back home not realizing that they key to righteousness that they needed, whether they were looking for it or not, was found in Jesus. We all remember the rich young ruler who couldn’t give up his riches to follow Jesus; here were 5000 people who couldn’t give up their riches or their poverty to follow Him, perhaps because His message was so strange.

Peter and the other eleven got it, or at least ten of them, since Judas would later betray Jesus. In an amazing declaration of faith Peter noted that because they knew Jesus, they knew that there was no other way to go. He had the words of eternal life. He was the Holy One of God. Over 5000 followed Jesus, and by the time people were finished leaving, only twelve were left. Same kind of thing happens today. When troubles come, people keep seeking God to find an answer. Maybe there’s an answer to why Harvey happened. There’s no good explanation. The message that God’s people has isn’t pleasing to the ears, even if it is salvation for the whole being: we don’t know why Harvey happened. We do know that Jesus loves you and wants to be your Lord and Savior. You may not see the answers to your individual questions, but you’ll see the most important part of the picture – that God loves you. Today, let me ask the question Jesus asked of the disciples: You don’t want to leave too, do you?

O Lord, first, I pray for all those affected by Harvey. Keep them safe. Help all of us learn our need to follow You and walk in Your ways.


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