Whole denominations and ministries within denominations are built around this dreaded number. Paychecks are derived from it. Formulas of how to identify the beast have been developed, a person, a church and even days of worship have been identified as THE MARK. It seems everyone fears ‘666,’ even those some would consider ‘non-Christians.’ I know I’ve had my share of trembling about receiving ‘THE MARK.’
Some would say that I am way off base with what I have to say today, but that’s okay. I’m not trying to create some superstition about numbers in a verse of the Bible–I’ve done my share of praying, opening the Bible with my eyes closed and putting my finger on a text for the answer to that prayer. I’m just observing the ‘coincidence’ of this verse landing in John 6:66–especially since chapters and verses did not exist in the original writings,
As a result of THIS many of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore.
As a result of what? John chapter 6 was pivotal in my understanding of the importance of Jesus. I’d encourage you to pick up your Bible and read it. The context is, Jesus has been preaching to and feeding crowds, His followers, disciples, whatever you want to call them–in today’s terminology, Christians. He is now in the synagogue (at church) in Capernaum (vs. 59) when He says some things that are VERY disturbing to them, for example: “Do no work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father has set His seal.” (This text brought me to my knees–I’d always thought the seal was the Sabbath, and it was for the Jews as well–but Jesus now says it’s Him.); then He goes on to attack their works–keeping of the law–and says, “THIS is the WORK of God, that you BELIEVE in Him whom He has sent.”; to cap it off he adds, “For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and BELIEVES in Him will have eternal life…” Now He’s threatening them of not having eternal life if they don’t just believe in Him.
In summary, he is telling the church, his followers, that the Father has put eternal life in His hands and that the only work there is to receive that eternal life is BELIEF in Him. The churches response, “Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this said, ‘This is a difficult statement; who can listen to it?'” Jesus, ever aware through the Holy Spirit replied, “Does this cause you to stumble?” Their response, they turned from belief, back to their works to walk with Him no more.
It was at this point that they began to plot to kill Him. Why? Because He asked for their BELIEF in Him, that’s it! How hard is that? Many today say they believe in Jesus–but do they? If there is Jesus plus ANYTHING you have to do for eternal life, then it is not true belief. Belief implies trust, abandonment to another for an outcome. Oswald Chambers put it this way today:
Many people today are pouring their lives out and working for Jesus Christ, but are not really walking with Him…All that is required is to live a natural life of absolute dependence on Jesus Christ. Never try to live your life with God in any other way than His way. And His way means absolute devotion to Him. Showing no concern for the uncertainties that lie ahead is the secret of walking with Jesus.
My conclusion is this: There are two marks–belief or unbelief. You either believe Jesus for eternal life or don’t believe it’s Jesus alone, which leads to death. Which marks you? Please, your eternal life depends on this very question. Don’t take a chance on eternal life, BELIEVE IN JESUS!
P.S. That took exactly 666 words to say–coincidence?