"You do not want to leave too, do you? ..." (John 6:67-70)

From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. "You do not want to leave too, do you?" Jesus asked the Twelve. Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God." Then Jesus replied, "Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!" (John 6:66-70)

Why is Jesus saying this?

Here Jesus responds to the situation where many of his disciples turned away and no longer followed him. Jesus is asking these questions of his students who remained. Simon Peter was the first who answered the first question by saying:
"Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the holy one of God." (John 6:68)

What is the 'Holy One of God'?

Jesus' remaining disciples are describing Jesus as such. Jesus responds positively, confirming that he is the "Holy One of God." Jesus did not, however, state that he was God. Nor did Jesus' disciples claim that Jesus was God. Otherwise, Simon would have said, "you are the Holy God."

This is an important distinction because many sectarian teachers today claim that Jesus is God.

Such a proposal that Jesus is God removes from the equation the Supreme Being Himself. And Jesus repeatedly instructed his students to love God and do the will of God (serve God). Therefore, claiming that Jesus is God would negate the subject of Jesus' teachings - the Supreme Being.

To worship Jesus as God is not unlike idol worship, because Jesus clearly is not God. Jesus never claimed to be God, nor did his disciples, as illustrated with their statement above.

If Jesus were God: Why would God not be direct and honest about being God? And would God pray to Himself?

As Simon says, Jesus is of God, meaning from God. In other words, Jesus is empowered by God and is representing God. This means that there are two personalities involved: God and Jesus. One is God and the other is the servant of God and the representative of God.

What about Jesus' oneness with God?

Because Jesus is representing God, and doing God's will, there is a oneness. It is a oneness of purpose. It is a oneness of will. They are still two individuals, but one is doing the will of the other. This was expressed by Jesus when he said:
"I and the Father are one.” (John 10:30)
The word "one" in Jesus' statement is εἷς (heis). According to Thayer's lexicon, this word can mean, "to be united most closely (in will, spirit)."

When two people are united, they have a unity of purpose and a unity of will. This is the nature of the oneness that exists between Jesus and the Supreme Being. It is not that Jesus is God. But Jesus' will is united with God's will. This is why Jesus stated:
"For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me." (John 6:38)
We would find this same scenario for an ambassador of a foreign country. The ambassador is the ambassador of that country. He is not the country itself, nor is he the country's leader.

Who is "a devil"?

Next we find an interesting statement by Jesus about one of his disciples. John 6.71 says that Jesus is speaking of Judas when he said that “one of you is a devil.” So this means that out of the twelve of his students that did not abandon Jesus, one would betray him.

“Devil” is being translated from the word διάβολος (diabolos) – which means, according to the lexicon, “prone to slander, slanderous, accusing falsely.”

Jesus is speaking not of a devil in the sense that some sectarian teachers portray – but of one of his disciples that had Jesus arrested by the high priest. This would equate to the 'falsely accusing' definition. This is a very practical matter. It is one where one of Jesus’ close students has Jesus arrested, essentially turning against him.

Such a concept is not foreign in spiritual life. Each of us living in the physical world has effectively turned away from God at some point. This is why we are occupying a physical body in this physical world instead of being in the spiritual realm with God.

Why did we turn away from God?

Each of us has the freedom to turn against God. God made us with the freedom to love Him or not. Without that freedom, true love for God could not exist.

This is why Adam was given the opportunity to disobey God and eat from the forbidden fruit. This is symbolic, as Adam represents each of us.

This resulted in God pushing Adam out of the Garden of Eden and clothing him in "skin" (The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. (Genesis 3:21)).

Each of us has been pushed out of the spiritual world and into this physical world - where we are now covered by these physical bodies ("skin").

Now that we are here in this world, away from God, we have the ultimate choice to return to Him or not. This is why we can't see Him in this world with our eyes. He has effectively hidden Himself from us in order to give us the ultimate freedom of choice.

Why did Jesus allow Judas to remain his disciple?

Just as God allows each of us the freedom to choose to love Him or not, Jesus also allowed his disciples to choose to stay with him or leave him. This is why Jesus asked his remaining disciples whether they wanted to leave too.

As to the reason Jesus chose Judas as his disciple and kept him by his side even though he knew he would betray him; this is because Jesus was not doing his own will. He was doing God’s will.

He knew this is what the Supreme Being had ordained for him: To be betrayed by one of his own disciples. If Jesus was doing his own will, he would have likely sent Judas away at that moment or whenever he knew Judas would betray him.

Even though Jesus was repulsed at the thought of being betrayed by someone so close, Jesus knew that this was the will of the Supreme Being. So he let it happen. This is what a devoted loving servant of God does: God's will.

This is also why Jesus actually embarked Judas to go to the high priest to have him arrested.

Did God condone Jesus being crucified?

To this point one might also ask: Why would God allow Jesus to be crucified?

The fact is, those around Jesus involved in the murder of his physical body chose to do this. God did not condone it. It was their choice. God simply knew it was going to happen, just as Jesus did. But God will not remove our freedom to love Him or reject Him - or reject His messenger and murder him.

To prevent them would be to remove their freedom of choice. Because the Supreme Being gives each of us the freedom to love Him, in order to exercise that freedom we must also be given the opportunity to go against His will - which even includes murdering God's representative.

Certainly, God did not want Jesus to be crucified. It certainly hurt God to see His loving servant harmed. But at the same time, if God interceded He would be interrupting our freedom to reject Him.

Can Jesus' crucifixion save us?

Yes, it can, but only if we understand it for what it was. It is not an automatic thing that comes from a ritual or from emotionally staring at the cross.

Jesus could have run away and avoided the crucifixion at any time. Especially once he understood this would happen. He could have avoided it one way or another.

But he didn't. Why? Because Jesus was standing up for his teachings - the teachings of love for God. Those teachings were so important to Jesus that Jesus was willing to give up his physical body in pain and agony in order to indicate to us just how important those teachings are.

So yes - if we understand this and as a result take Jesus' teachings of love for God to heart and sincerely follow them (not as those students who abandoned Jesus did) - then Jesus' crucifixion has the power to save us from our emptiness and self-centeredness, and deliver us home to our loving relationship with the Supreme Being.