‘Line in the sand’

Pastor’s Pen

“After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. So Jesus said to the Twelve, ‘Do you want to go away as well?’ Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God’” (John 6:66-69).

According to Texas legend, as defeat was unavoidable due to the mass number of Mexican troops surrounding the walls of the Alamo, Colonel William B. Travis drew a line in the sand. His offer: either stay and fight or surrender… And it was said that every man in those walls that day except for one crossed the sacred line to take up arms and defend the mission to death. 

Like Travis, Jesus with his men came to a similar “line in the sand” type of moment. Jesus had just spoken of some hard sayings that brought offense to some of his follower’s ears. He went above some of the elementary Sunday School material and made his disciples think deeply… However, in their unbelief, they couldn’t wrap their minds around the Lord’s speech of sacrifice, sovereignty, and the spiritual lesson that was being taught. And so many of them decided to turn back for good and throw in the towel in their commitment to Jesus.  

Like weeds being sifted away from the wheat, these once followers of Christ were now out of the picture. And as their backs faded in the distance, Jesus gave “the Twelve” an equal opportunity… “Go with them or stay with Me?” Many of us might have jumped at the chance to head in the other direction. Some of these men probably missed their families… A steady income again working an 8—5 job would certainly be beneficial… The simplicity of the normal life they once had was calling their name. Yet, something convinced these brave men to stand firm on the right side of the sand. 

Peter speaking for the Twelve, said that there would be no better place to go in all the world. For Jesus when He spoke, He declared the very words of God. He was the Holy One, the Messiah they had longed for. And because they believed in His name they weren’t turning back! At least not yet… (Judas, one of the twelve would eventually turn back from following Jesus.)

You see, we all as God’s people are faced with these “line in the sand” moments… Times when to stay with Jesus might sound difficult and like a long road. And the way of departure seems to be coated with ease and sunshine. However, it’s during these moments that we must stand firm in the faith and act like men (1 Cor. 16:13). And go to battle alongside the Lord and for the Glory of the Lord taking up “weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left” (2 Cor. 6:7). And so when the line is drawn in the sand… Which side are you going to stand on? Just know, that on Jesus’ side, you don’t stand alone! 

Dalton Mathis is pastor of Salt Creek Baptist Church near Early.