Many people claim to follow Jesus, but not all are truly following him. That is the case in John 6, when Jesus says some pretty hard things. He says things that are hard for the sinful, self-centered mind to swallow. He also says some things that were going to be misunderstood.
One thing he said that was hard to swallow was that no one can come to him unless the Father draws the person. In other words, if the Father does not draw a person, he will not and cannot come to Jesus.
John 6:44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.
Jesus puts that in the same context of the need for people to believe in him. Then Jesus (intentionally?) says something that would be misunderstood. He tells the people in the same message in his preaching at Capernaum:
John 6:48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50 This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”
52 The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” 53 So Jesus said to them, “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. 54 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. 55 For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. 56 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven, not as the fathers ate and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.”
That was very difficult for the people to understand. So many of those “disciples” who claimed to follow Jesus turned back and stopped following him (v. 66). They couldn’t believe, affirm, and support ALL that Jesus was saying. If you want to truly follow Jesus and be discipled by Jesus, then you need to listen to and trust what he says. This was the difference between the 12 disciples who stayed with Jesus and the others who left Jesus. Jesus asked the 12 if they wanted to leave too. Peter answered:
John 6:68 “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, 69 and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”
So Peter shows us what it means to truly follow Jesus. True discipleship means we believe the words of Christ and the identity of Christ. They believe that Jesus words (his words!!!) and his self-proclaimed identity were special. The words were words of eternal life. The identity of Jesus is that he is the Holy One of God.
Today many claim to follow Jesus but deny his words or identity. They follow Jesus, but they reject things he’s said or things his apostles have said by his commissioning. When you turn your back or intentionally ignore/reject the words of Jesus or his apostles, your claim to follow Jesus is sinful and inadequate at the point where you intentionally ignore or reject Christ’s words (or the words of his apostles, a.k.a. the New Testament) and your claim may be unreal. You may claim to follow Jesus, but if you don’t follow him the way he has revealed himself in the Bible, the whole Bible, then you are following a Jesus of your (or someone else’s) imagination.
So follow Jesus. Trust ALL of his words as eternal life and divinely given. And trust in who HE SAYS he is.