I’m not huge into numerology (at all), but I’ve got to admit that what I read this morning slapped me in the face.
I was sitting on my couch reading God’s Word from the gospel of John, in chapter 6, which holds the well-known story of the feeding of the 5,000 with 2 fish and 5 loaves, Jesus walking on the water, and a very confounding teaching that Jesus gave. The crowd was diverse and included devout Jews, scribes, and Pharisees. And Jesus actually had the gumption to compare Himself to Moses.
Later in the chapter is where Jesus begins to call Himself the “bread of life” to the crowds that had been following Him. Because of such confusing and preposterous claims, people were conflicted, angered, and scratching their heads. In fact, some of the disciples were perplexed and upset, saying, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?” (John 6:60)
And as I read on from there, I see Jesus drive the last nail in His “crazy talk” coffin by saying, “Does this offend you? What if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before!” (6:62)
Going on from there, He explains that the words He speaks are “truth” and “life”.
And that’s when it happened:
“From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.”
You want to know that verse that is? John 6:66. Now, I’m not someone who thinks much at all about how numbers fall in chapters and verses. I give numbers their due attention only when it is clear that God is making a big deal about it, such as the number 40 that is used all throughout the Bible in both Old and New Testaments, and the number 7 which repeatedly represents perfection. But remember that the Bible was not written with chapters and verses. They only came relatively recently for the sake of convenience and ease in finding a particular section of Scripture. So, when John wrote those words, he wasn’t writing verse 66 in chapter 6. He was just writing what he saw.
So, sitting there this morning, I was astounded that I had never noticed before that a verse that explicitly says that people turned away from Jesus and stopped following Him is found in chapter 6, verse 66.
Maybe that does nothing for you. But to me, that’s pretty crazy.