Walking With Jesus

“After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him.” John 6:66

The Bible says that “Enoch walked with God”, it says Noah and Levi did too. That phrase, “walked with God”, has intrigued me for a long time. As far as I know those are the only  individuals that scripture singles out as having “walked with God”. Many “walked before” Him, “walked in” His ways,  but only those three “walked with” Him. It implies, at least to me, a certain intimacy between them.

It’s the same in our relationships with others. Walking with someone is an intimate thing. Young couples walking hand in hand, in quiet conversation, oblivious to everything and everyone else around them. Older couples in the park, still holding hands, but now each quietly comfortable in knowing, and being known to the other. Little boys following along after their Fathers, watching and then imitating every move. Or tragedy striking, and someone you love facing hard times. You can’t do much, just be there and “walk with” them.

Jesus starts his earthly ministry asking John and Andrew, “What are you looking for?” They respond, “Where are you staying?”  “Come and see.” he says, “Walk with me”. Later the call is the same to the others, “Come and follow me” and they do. Many others do, as well, over the next few months and years. Each with their own expectations, hopes and agendas.

Then a “hard saying” from Jesus, “Truly, truly I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.” Most of those who were following him couldn’t accept it. And so, “After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him.”

Hard. In the Greek (skelos) the word means harsh, stern, rough. Literally “dried up and rough to the touch”. From it we get our word skeleton.

Interesting, Jesus speaks of flesh and blood, food and drink, Life. All they can hear is dried up bones, death.

Skelos, “dried up bones”,  reminds me of Ezekiel.

Ezekiel was brought in the Spirit to a valley full of “very dry” bones. God asked him, “Son of man, can these bones live?” His answer is a model of wisdom and humility, “Oh Lord, you know”. He doesn’t say “I don’t know”. He puts the focus, not on himself and what he does or doesn’t know, but on God and what He knows.

God then shows him what He knows.

What seems to be death comes to life, and flesh grows on dry bones, and “breath” (Spirit) fills those new creations.

“Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. Behold they say, ‘Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are clean cut off.’….Thus says the Lord God: I will open your graves, and raise you from your graves, O my people….. And I will put my Spirit (breath) within you, and you shall live…. Then you will know that I am the Lord; I have spoken, and I shall do it, declares the Lord.”

Jesus, after almost all of his disciples had turned back, turns to the Twelve and asks them, “Do you want to go away as well?” Peter, in the wisdom of Ezekiel, answers, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed and come to know that you are the Holy One of God.”

“Come to know”, it’s a phrase that means, “We’ve walked with you long enough to know.” 

Have we walked with Him long enough to know that what He asks of us, even though it looks and sounds like death, is really Life?

What “hard” thing is he saying to us now?

Do we turn back and no longer walk with Him, or turn to Him and say, “Where else can I go? You have the words of eternal life, and I have believed and come to know that you are the Holy One of God.”

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