Another attribute of Jesus that stands out from His contemporary Rabbis was His boldness. Christ was fearless when it came to proclaiming the truth of God’s Word regardless of how it would be accepted by the hearers. The is seen in a variety of discussions our Lord had, but it may be most clear in John 6.
In John 6:22-32 Jesus confronts his followers for coming after Him not for spiritual words which lead to life, but only because He fed them miraculously. He uses the bread which they were fed as an illustration of the “bread” from heaven which he was. John 6:41 reads, “The Jews then complained about Him, because He said, “ I am the bread which came down from heaven.” Jesus knew those words were going to offend the Jews but was bold in proclaiming the truth which would lead to eternal life anyway. Jesus even went further and taught that they would have to “consume” his flesh and blood (meaning accept him fully). This saying was not accepted well either. “The Jews therefore quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this Man give us His flesh to eat?” Then Jesus said to them, “ Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you” (John 6:52-53). We also learn that Jesus taught these things in the synagogue in Capernaum where many would have been affected by these words.
It is sad to read the statement in John 6:60, “Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this, said, “This is a hard saying; who can understand it.” The reason why this is so sad is because the words may have been difficult in the moment to understand and apply, but that does not mean they were not true. A similar thing was said about the writings of Paul by the Apostle Peter, “and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation—as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures” (2 Peter 3:15-16, eph. mine).
What we see in our text next is the key. “From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. Then Jesus said to the twelve, “ Do you also want to go away?” But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (John 6:66-69). Peter does not often say the right thing at the right time, but when he does its a beautiful thing. Here Peter recognized that the boldness of Jesus, regardless of the acceptance of the crowds, was the important thing.
We too need to recognize that Jesus taught not that which was popular, but taught with boldness the truth. May we endeavor to follow Him in this example.