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WORD FROM THE CENTER: MONDAY, AUGUST 16, 2021 - WHY LEAVE WHEN YOUR SAVIOR ASKS YOU TO STAY?

WORD FROM THE CENTER: MONDAY, AUGUST 16, 2021

Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections on His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s Bible verses are John 6:67-69.   

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.”

WHY LEAVE WHEN YOUR SAVIOR ASKS YOU TO STAY?

I tried to come to grips with the depth of the questions and the issues that are at hand in our text for today. Think about it. There is Jesus in the flesh, the Savior of the world, teaching a group of followers and disciples. Just when Jesus starts to lay things on the line, calling people not just to some generic faith, but faith IN HIM, many who had followed began to leave. This prompts His question to His disciples, “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Wow! That’s almost too hard to imagine.

I’ve been in Washington, D.C., for four years now and there have been exciting times in the presence of some very powerful people. If one of them were to say to me, “Don’t you wish to stay a little longer? I very much want to talk with you, Greg,” I can’t even imagine the thought of leaving. Stay? Absolutely! Why would I go? Think of people who are important to you. Maybe they include a leader, politician, celebrity, world-class athlete, or successful entrepreneur. If one of them said, “Stay a while longer because I would really like to talk with you,” would you? Most of us would clamor for the opportunity. If Amazon’s Jeff Bezos wanted to take you to space with him, if Elon Musk want to confab with you about the next big idea in electric cars, if the CEO of Exxon wanted your help to bring energy technology to help lift the world out of poverty and despair, I think that you’d not only stay, you would be honored, wouldn’t you? Well, this text is amazing in that when Jesus, the Creator and the soon-to-be Redeemer of the world from sin, death, and damnation, wanted people to stay with Him, many turned and walked away. Amazingly they thought, “Let’s go someplace else; we’ve heard enough.”

Humanity’s biggest problem is Sin with a capital “S,” that is, our fractured relationship with God. It results in a lack of true wisdom, real wisdom, the kind of wisdom that comes from a faith relationship with the one who is “the Way, the Truth, and the Life” (John14:6). It causes indifference and even hostility to the words of the one who says, “If you abide in my word, then you are truly my disciples. You will know the truth and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31-32). Such indifference, or at least ignorance, was exhibited in the responses to a Gallup poll several years ago. It revealed that, in America, ninety-four percent believed God existed, seventy-seven percent thought their chances of going to heaven were good or excellent, fifty-eight percent believed in hell, but only six percent thought they had a chance of going there. Few who participated in that poll understood their real needs or their real predicament. Many could be categorized by that old Spiritual which says, “Everybody talking about Heaven ain't a going there.” Sadly, many of those polled were also missing the power of living in the eternal promises of God right now.

The question, “Will you go away too?” is an evocative one because so many other questions are properly answered in your life if you get this one right. Jesus teaches us in Matthew 6:63 to “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you as well.” In so doing, He is telling us to prioritize the kingdom of God ALONE, first and foremost. Then He goes further, explaining to us that the Kingdom of God is to be found and received IN HIM ALONE by grace through faith. Everything else will find its proper place in our lives when our faith is firmly rooted in Jesus as our Savior so that nothing can turn away from Him.

Today, then, take up the challenge with me to look deeply in the Scriptures to discern all that Jesus Christ has done for you. As Peter declared to Jesus in response to His question, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (John 6:68). You will never find anyone who is more just and merciful, who loves you more deeply, guides you more surely, sacrifices for you more diligently, and comforts you more sincerely. Remember also how easy it is to miss all that God has done for us. Instead, let’s faithfully mimic the confession of Peter as we probe the depths of that amazing love of Christ for us in all we say and do. “We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God” (John 6:69). Don’t leave when the Savior asks you to stay. You can also be assured that He will never leave or forsake you (see Matthew 28:20; Hebrews 13:5). Count on it!

PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, we know that You experienced abandonment on the cross because of our sin so that we might be saved. Give us faith to trust You as the one who cares for us even more than we can care for ourselves. AMEN.

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