“’Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life. We have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God.’ Jesus answered them, ‘Did I Myself not choose you, the twelve, and yet one of you is a devil?’” (John 6:68-70, NASB).
This declaration by Jesus spoken at the end of a lengthy John Chapter 6 may, at first, seem ambiguous. But, given the events of this chapter, Jesus’ response to Peter’s question is quite revealing. So, let’s do a quick recap of John 6 to see why Jesus would tell Peter that He chose a devil to be one of His disciples.
Great crowds had begun to follow Jesus because of the miracles He performed. The crowds of people even followed Him across the Sea of Galilee where a gathering numbering 5,000 men plus women and children convened to hear Him teach. It was here that He performed the miracle of feeding the 5,000 with five loaves of bread and two fish.“Therefore when the people saw the sign which He had performed, they said, “This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world” (vs. 14).
Jesus then withdrew from the crowds because “they were intending to come and take Him by force to make Him king” (vs. 15). So, He walked on water across the Sea of Galilee to catch up with His disciples who were sailing across in a boat. When many from the same crowd of people followed Him back across the Sea of Galilee to Capernaum, Jesus confronted them about being His followers: “Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled” (vs. 26).
Then, John reports that these great crowds of people following Jesus started to dwindle. It seems some of them didn’t like what Jesus was teaching and “as a result of this many of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore” (vs. 66). Jesus told them that you couldn’t be His follower just so He would perform miracles and provide for you. Being His disciple required complete allegiance to Him. In fact, He said He was the only way to know God and that to inherit eternal life they must eat his flesh and drink his blood.
Finally, while many were deserting him, Jesus took the twelve aside and asked if they planned to quit following Him also. Peter replied that they didn’t have anywhere else to go because the only way to know God was through Jesus. It’s at this point that Jesus makes the bizarre claim that one of them was a devil. Yet, all twelve were chosen by Jesus to be His disciples–including the devil amongst them!
It’s the problem that has plagued the Church since its inception–the devil amongst us! There are those in it who have decided to follow Jesus for the wrong reason. It might be for some sense of self-importance or hope of some financial gain or it may serve some psychological need to reduce guilt or overcome an identity crisis.
Soon these would-be followers of Jesus start to become dissatisfied with the way things are going. They can’t agree with the doctrine that is preached and taught; they don’t like the worship style or the music selection; they don’t even like other Christians. But the characteristic that always exposes the devils amongst us is that they don’t last. They don’t stay. They don’t get rooted and grounded. They don’t endure when their faith is tested by the challenges of life in this world.
But, whatever the reason one follows Jesus that is other than complete allegiance to Him because He is Truth and Light is probably the wrong reason for following Him, for being His disciple.
Then why does Jesus choose the devil amongst us to be His disciple? Because Jesus came down from heaven to do the Heavenly Father’s will on Earth (vs. 38): “For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and Believes in Him will have eternal life, and I myself will raise him up on the last day” (vs. 40).
He just can’t help Himself from calling everyone, all of us, each one of us to Him to be His disciple, to live by His Truth in this world, to shine His Light into this world.
But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved. Matthew 24.13, NASB