What do Burt Reynolds and Al Pacino have in common? Hold on to your seats…they both turned down the role of Han Solo (eventually played by Harrison Ford) in the original Star Wars movie.
Can you imagine either one of them in that role? Ew.
And when Star Wars became the huge franchise that it did, can you imagine how they must have felt, knowing that role could have been theirs?
In our scripture today, we see disciples of Jesus, who were part of his inner crowd, turning down the opportunity to be part of the greatest revolution the world has ever seen.
The issue was over the idea of what it meant to remain in Christ. Jesus has explained to them that he was the bread of heaven and they would need to “eat his flesh and drink his blood” in order to be part of his mission and ministry. He, of course, is referring to his impending crucifixion, and is implying that they will need to be all in with it. After his death, the disciples were persecuted and killed. It was not an easy thing to follow Jesus.
John 6 (Common English Bible)
56 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in them. 57 As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me lives because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven. It isn’t like the bread your ancestors ate, and then they died. Whoever eats this bread will live forever.” 59 Jesus said these things while he was teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.
60 Many of his disciples who heard this said, “This message is harsh. Who can hear it?”
The call of discipleship is hard. The sacrifices are real. God might call you out of your comfort zone and send you to a place or a ministry that you’ve never experienced. Following Jesus has eternal rewards, but it’s not for the faint of heart. When the prospect that things were about to get very difficult was understood, many of Jesus’ disciples turned away and no longer went with him.
61 Jesus knew that the disciples were grumbling about this and he said to them, “Does this offend you? 62 What if you were to see the Human One going up where he was before? 63 The Spirit is the one who gives life and the flesh doesn’t help at all. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life. 64 Yet some of you don’t believe.”Jesus knew from the beginning who wouldn’t believe and the one who would betray him. 65 He said, “For this reason I said to you that none can come to me unless the Father enables them to do so.” 66 At this, many of his disciples turned away and no longer accompanied him.
But this became a shining moment for the original Twelve. They remained. They stood firm. They didn’t blink.
67 Jesus asked the Twelve, “Do you also want to leave?”
68 Simon Peter answered, “Lord, where would we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 We believe and know that you are God’s holy one.”
Where is God calling you to do the hard thing? Is it a hard decision you have to make, a difficult truth you have to tell, or a relationship you have to forfeit? God will be with you if you remain in him and follow his will for your life.
In a world full of Als and Burts, be a Peter.