When Jesus walked this earth, He was often surrounded by a multitude. Such large crowds might give the impression that the entire nation of Israel was committed to Him as their Messiah. But by the end of His ministry, there were only 120 loyal followers gathered in an upper room (Acts 1:12-15).
The majority of those who followed Jesus around were interested only in what He could do for them. They came to be healed or to see the miracles He performed. After the Lord fed about 5,000 people a supernatural meal, they came back in the morning expecting breakfast. John 6:66 tells us that when Jesus refused to work another miracle for them and declared Himself the true bread of life, “many of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore.”
Temporary Christ-followers are still around today. They want the benefits Jesus can offer but are unwilling to accept hard truths or deny their own will for His. These people are like the seeds that fell on rocky soil in Jesus’ parable. (See Matt. 13:20-21.) They stick around for a while, but if He doesn’t benefit them as they expected, they fall away.
When it comes to true Christ-followers, church rosters don’t give an accurate picture. False gospels promising a better life draw those who are seeking Jesus’ benefits but who remain uninterested in Christ Himself. True followers are more like Simon Peter in John 6:68. When Jesus asked if they too wanted to leave, they replied, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life.”
Bible in One Year: Psalm 103-106