Jesus had a great following for a time. John 6:2 says, “A great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles which he did on them that were diseased.” The purpose of Jesus’ miracles was to produce faith. (John 20:30, 31; 2:23). The Lord was having success at this point in time. John 6:5 describes a “great company” coming to Jesus. At one point Jesus said, “Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest for a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat.” (Mark 6:31). The book of Matthew speaks of “multitudes” coming to Jesus some twenty (20) times. The book of Acts has nearly twenty (20) references to multitudes assembling to hear the message of Jesus as spoken through His apostles and others. They were preaching His message to the whole world as Jesus had commanded. (Mark 16:15, 16; Matthew 28:19, 20). The multitude of Matthew 14; Mark 6; and John 6, was made up of five thousand (5,000) men, beside women and children (Matthew 14:21; Mark 6:31, 36). This number could have been well over ten thousand (10,000+). Jesus fed (“filled”) “all” the hungry (Mark 6:42), and “healed their sick.” (Matthew 14:14). They started with “five loaves, and two fishes” (Matthew 14:17), but “took up of the fragments that remained twelve (12) baskets.” (Matthew 14:20). They ended up with more than they had when they started. (Luke 9:13, 15-17).
All went well until Jesus began to preach and teach some things Jesus’ disciples described as “an hard saying”, asking “who can hear it?” (John 6:60). “From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.” (John 6:66). Jesus asked the twelve (12) apostles, “Will ye also go away?” (John 6:67). Peter correctly responded, “Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (John 6:68, 69). Those words must have been bitter/sweet, because Jesus replied, “Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil? He spake of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon: for he it was that should betray him, being one of the twelve.” (John 6:70, 71). “Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him.” (John 6:64).
In spite of all that Jesus saw and what He knew, He refused to change His message. Jesus came to do His Father’s will (John 6:34), and He declared on the cross, “It is finished.” (John 17:4; 19:30). This tells us that God’s work is about souls, not numbers. One can fill the largest of church building to no avail. Numbers are great, but only if the masses are saved.
It is good to know and believe the foregoing. However, the question now comes to each reader: “Will ye also go away?” For far too many the question is not, “Will ye also go away?” The question is: Will you come to Jesus? He calls, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30; Revelation 3:20; 22:18, 19). In spite of these loving, tender calls, most will turn a deaf ear and be lost. (Matthew 7:13, 14).
Some do accept the gracious call of the Lord, and they follow Jesus faithfully “unto death.” (Mark 13:13; Revelation 2:10). Some heed the words of Paul, “My beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 15:58). These people put off the old man, and put on the new man. (Ephesians 4:22, 24; Colossians 3). They mortify (put to death) the evil deeds which they were doing. (Colossians 3:1-5; Titus 2:11, 12). These people have heard the word of God (Mark 12:29), believed (Hebrews 11:6) in Jesus as God’s only begotten Son (John 3:14-17), repented of sins (Acts 17:30, 31), confessed the Deity of Jesus (John 8:24; Acts 8:36, 37), and were buried (Romans 6:1-5; Colossians 2:12) in water baptism (Acts 8:38, 39) for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38; 22:16), entering Christ (Galatians 3:26, 27) and being added to His church. (1 Corinthians 12:13; Acts 2:41, 47).
Some do accept the tender call of Jesus, and they live for Him for a while, but they, like the dog and sow of 2 Peter 2:20-22, go back to their sinful ways. They “were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance, seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.” (Hebrews 6:4-6). Clearly, these people were saved, and they had the possibility of falling away, with the result of possibly going so far that it might be impossible to renew them again unto repentance.
“Judas by transgression fell” (Acts 1:25), went out and “hanged himself” (Matthew 27:5), and went “to his own place.” (Acts 1:25). Does anyone believe that this one chosen by Jesus to serve Him as an apostle was not saved? Does anyone believe that he genuinely repented (Matthew 27:3), and will be saved in heaven? Good friend, the “saints” at Philippi (Philippians 1:1) were told, “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” (Philippians 2:12). Did they have to do what Paul told them to do in the book of Philippians to go to heaven? These were works God ordained for them to do. (Verse 13; Cf. Ephesians 2:8-10). Twenty-three thousand (23,000) of God’s people (Israelites) fell (died) in one day! (1 Corinthians 10:8). They were God’s people, fell (died), and did not live to repent. Even angels who sinned were not spared, but were cast down to hell, and were delivered into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment. (2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6). Branches (people, “a man”) not bearing fruit were detached from the vine and burned in a fire. (John 15:1-6).
Good person, do not be like others unless they are doing right. Do not allow anyone to lead you down a wrong path. Search the scriptures daily to determine whether or not this writer, or any other teacher is leading you in the right way. Reject any who are not, and follow those who are. “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17), Base your faith upon God’s word, not man’s ideas.
Do not leave this world without becoming a Christian. Do not allow anyone to lead you away from the Lord.