John 6:67-71  A TIME OF TESTING




    The tune if testing involved in this text us for the

twelve apostles.  In our previous text many of the disciples

of Jesus became dissatisfied with Him and stopped following

after Him.  This included some who had only made a

profession of faith but had never actually been saved.  It

also included some who had been saved, but who were just

weak in the faith.

    In our text today the twelve apostles were put to the

test.  They had to make a choice whether or not they would

also quit following Jesus or whether they would continue to

follow Him.


I.  The question which Jesus put to His apostles


    V. 67, "Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go

away?"  This question put the twelve apostles to the test.

I think that even if Jesus had not directed this question to

them the very circumstances which they faced would put them

to the test.  When great numbers of other disciples openly

broke with Jesus and walked away never to follow Him any

more, their action put the apostles to the test.  They would

have to decide whether they would continue to follow Jesus

or whether they would also quit.  They would eventually have

to either take a positive stand for Jesus or else drop out

like so many others had done.

    But when Jesus turned to them and put this question

directly at them the test was greatly intensified.  They had

to give Jesus an answer.  They had to either take a stand

now or walk away now.

    I think that when these twelve saw so many of the Lord's

disciples turn away from Jesus in open rebellion against Him

it must have left them somewhat disheartened and dismayed.

They knew that the scribes and Pharisees had long been

opposed to Jesus.  They probably would not have been

surprised if a few disciples now and then would become

disgruntled and drop out.  But it must have caught them

totally off guard when such a large number of disciples quit

and walked away.  It must have had a shocking effect upon

them.  It it must have really devastated them!  They must

have thought that the disciples, for the most part, were

whole heartedly in support of Jesus and His ministry.  It

must have come as complete surprise when such a large number

of walked away and left a relatively small number to walk

with the Lord.  It became obvious that a full-fledged mutiny

was taking place.

    They must have at least momentarily felt, "What is the

use?  We had might as well quit, too."  To be frank with

you, I strongly suspect that if any one of them had spoken

up and said, "I'm just going to quit, too" that several

others would have followed suit.  In my own mind I am quite

certain that Judas would have quit and I suspect that others

would have also.


II.  The answer which Simon Peter gave


    But instead of giving a voice of opposition a strong

voice of support came forth.  V.  68, "Then Simon Peter

answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go?"  Simon Peter,

Bless his heart!  The Apostle Peter spoke up for Jesus.  I

know this man had his faults and failures, Simon Petaer hada

genuine love for Jesus.  I have never met the man, but I

cannot help but love him.  He spoke up several times when

maybe he should have kept quiet and said the wrong thing at

times.  But, bless his heart, he spoke up at the right time

this time and he said just the right thing.  He spoke up

right when somebody needed to speak up and speak out for


    Simon Peter was not actually speaking to the other

apostles.  He was speaking to Jesus.  But what he said made

a great impact upon the other apostles and had an influence

for good.

    Jesus had asked the apostles a question.  Simon had a

question of his own for Jesus.  He said, "Lord, to whom

shall we go?"  Indeed, to whom could they go?  They could

not go to the present religious leaders of Israel.  They

could not go to the scribes and Pharisees.  Not that the

scribes and Pharisees would refuse to have them as

followers.  That was not the case.  The scribes and

Pharisees would have been tickled pink to have the very

apostles of Jesus to desert Him and turn back to them for

leadership.  But the apostles could not turn back to the

scribes and Pharisees because their eyes had been awakened

by Jesus to the error of their teachings.  They were blind

leaders of the blind.  If the blind lead the blind they both

fall in the ditch.  They could not turn back and follow

these men.

    Neither could they go back to Moses.  God used Moses to

give the law and, to be sure Simon Peter had great respect

for Moses and the law, but Moses was no longer around.  He

was dead.  They could not go back to Moses nor the law.

    They could not turn back even to John the Baptist.  John

the Baptist was a great man of God, but John had been

beheaded.  Furthermore, John, himself, had pointed to Jesus

and said, "Behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin

of the world."  They had been saved and baptized under the

ministry of John.  But John had been beheaded.  They could

not go back to John.  Even if John had still been arould,

they could not go back to John.  John had pointed them to

Jesus and had said that Jesus is the Lamb of God that takes

away the sin of the world.

    Further Simon Peter said to Jesus, "...thou hast the

words of eternal life, (V. 68)."  Jesus is the one who

saves.  The scribes and the Pharisees could not save.

Neither Moses nor the law which he gave could save.  John

the Baptist could not save.  Only Jesus could save.  He had

saved them and He is the only One who could save anybody


    V. 69, "And we believe and are sure that thou art that

Christ, the Son of the living God."  Simon Peter not only

said, "We believe thou art the Son of the living God," but

he said, "We believe and are sure...!"  That is, "We know

for a certainty that thou art the Christ."  Regardless of

what others might do, Simon Peter -- in no way -- wanted to

turn away from Jesus.  In no way did he want to stop

following Jesus.  In no way did he want to stop coming to

hear Jesus teach and preach.  In no way did he want to stop

serving Jesus.

    I think that we can be sure, that for the most part,

Simon spoke the sentiments of all the apostles.  If there

had been a strong voice of opposition from one of the

apostles, Judas almost surely would have joined him and a

few of the others would have probably done the same thing.

But now that Simon Peter has so strongly spoken out in favor

of Jesus, all but Judas Iscariot must have been fully in

agreement with him and even Judas was silent in his



III.  Some challenging new information from Jesus


    V. 70, "Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you

twelve, and one of you is a devil?"  In these words Jesus

brought a new challenge to the test.  Jesus informedthem

that one of the twelve is not a true disciple.  Just as many

of the others, who had turned away, were not true believers

in Jesus, even so one of the twelve was not a true believer.

One of the twelve had merely made a profession of faith but

had never actually believed in Jesus at all.  One of the

twelve was more like Satan than he was like the Lord Jesus

Christ.  V.  71, "He spake of Judas Iscariot the son of

Simon: for he it was that should betray him, being one of

the twelve."

    Jesus was talking about Judas Iscariot who would later

betray Him, but He did not tell those apostles that He was

talking about Judas.  He just said that one of the twelve

was not a genuine believer.  One of the twelve was not

saved.  He had never been saved.

    This man, Judas Iscariot, would lataer turn back from

following Jesus.  He would not do so now, but the time would

soon come when he would turn back.  He would not only turn

away from following the Lord, but he would actually betray

Jesus into the hands of the enemy.  Jesus did not tell the

twelve at that time that Judas would betray Him nor even

desert Him, but He did tell them that one of the twelve was

not a true believer.  This implied that one of them would

sooner or later desert Him.

    This is what put them to an additional test.  They now

knew that one of the group would turn away from the Lord,

but they did not know which one would do it.  They had to

ask themselves the question, "Is it I?"  They did not know

which one was still unsaved and, therefore, did not know

which one would desert Jesus.  But they did not at all

suspect Judas and each man was inclined to ask, "Is it I?"

Each man had to ask himself the question, "Will I also go


    The fact of the matter is that at that time nobody knew

for sure whether or not he would turn out to be a desertor.

Not even the Apostle Peter knew for sure that he would not

be the one.  What he did know was that there was no one else

to turn to.  He knew that Jesus is the Savior.  He is the

one who has the words of eternal life.  Furthermore, he knew

that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God.   He

also knew that in his heart He loved the Lord and in his

heart desired to remain faithful to the Lord until death.


IV.  The test that every Christian faces


    Listen, every Christian sooner or later faces this same

test in his life.  The question is, "Will you also go away?"

Will you be one of the many who desert the Lord and turn

back from following Him?  Will you be one like the many in

the text that we read last Sunday?  Will you be one who will

betray the Lord in some way by deserting His cause and

quitting His church?  Will you or will you not also go away?

    The truth of the matter is that we have no real way of

knowing.  We do not really know what we will do at some

laater time.  We, too, might become offended at something

and we might will let that stop us from serving the Lord.

    Now we might have a tendency to say, "Lord, I will never

let you down.  I will never be counted among the unfaithful.

But the truth of the matter is that we just don't know.  On

the very night of our Lord's arrest, that same Apostle Peter

spoke out boldly and said, "Lord, I'll never desert you" and

Jesus said, "This night you will deny me three times."  No,

Simon Peter, never did really quit serving the Lord, but he

did have a temporary set back.  But his weakness shows us

our own weakness and and shows that in the realm of

possibilities any one of us could be among the deserters.

    No, we do not know if we will also go away, but I will

tell you what we can know.  Like the Apostle Peter, we can

know that there is nobody else to whom we can go?  There is

nobody else who has the words of eternal life.  There is

nobody else who can save lost sinners.  There is nobody else

who is worthy of our worship and our service.

    Also, like the Apostle Peter, we can know that Jesus is

indeed the Christ, the very Son of the Living God.  We can

know that Jesus is the Savior of men.

    No we cannot know what emotional pressures may bear upon

us in the future and make us feel like quitting.  We see

others quit and sometimes we, ourselves, may actually feel

like quitting.  But we know that down underneath is a

burning desire to be faithful to the Lord to the last


    At least I know that.  Don't you?  I know that my

heart's desire and prayer to God is that if everybody else

in this whole world were to quit serving the Lord, I hope

that God will give me the grace to keep on keeping on until

the last breath.  Don't you?




    In closing, let me point out that when I was sixteen

years of age I turned to Jesus Christ and asked Him to save

my soul.  If you have never had that experience won't you

come this morning and place your faith in Jesus Christ as

your Savior?  I know that when I trusted Jesus as my Savior

He saved my soul and I know that when you trust Him to be

your Savior He will save your soul.  "For whosoever will

call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved," Rom.  10:13.

Won't you comle now and trust in Jesus Christ?

    If you are saved, let me appeal to you to come and, as

best you can, commit your life to serve the Lord who has

saved you.  Won't you come while we sing?