At this point many of his disciples turned away and deserted him. Then Jesus turned to the Twelve and asked, “Are you also going to leave?” Simon Peter replied, “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words that give eternal life. We believe, and we know you are the Holy One of God.”
Story appears in John 6:66-69
People are starting to pick up on Jesus equating himself with God and some are not very happy about it. He has probably been saying similar things for awhile but only now are people really trying to pick apart his words to find fault in them.
Think of the amount of times someone new comes to home church and does not quite understand the gospel. Maybe even the twentieth time they are confused and need help.
By the thirtieth time of the exact same thing being said over and over they go “wow I’ve never heard that before that sounds great, I want that”. These are both situations of the heart. It takes time for some to soften up in their heart attitude when things like “Jesus is God” is brought up, especially in the time he was alive, as well as today.
You can see that the gripe with Jesus was that people were aware that Jesus’ parents were man and woman. However they did not actually know who his parents were (the Holy Spirit and God placing him inside Mary). Mary, his earthly mother just watched over him and raised him, but God was there too all the way. They assumed that since he grew up in Mary and Joseph’s house that they were his actual parents. Instead of investigating and figuring it out, they drew the line there and lost interest in Jesus. I have no idea how they could have done that, after hearing his great speeches and seeing him perform miracles. Word of his greatness had to have been spreading quickly. Yet "the parent thing" was their big hang up and they didn’t care to investigate further. Classic case of the hardened heart.
Who knows exactly the number of people that walked away that day and maybe never returned. But you can see even the power of one naysayer with a gift of leadership (most likely, or just a skilled leader). One guy says something uninformed or ignorant, “hey Jesus has a human mother and father, there is no way he is the true Son of God”, and a large group of other ignorant hard hearts says “hey, yeah that's true I can’t believe we sat here so long listening to this guy” and they all storm off.
So all the disciples that wanted to go, do so. Yet Peter and the original 12 remain. Jesus asks of them if they will also leave him. He knows the truth but asks anyways to demonstrate his care and love for these brothers. He has built a deep friendship already with them and hopes they recognize that and want to love him the same. So Peter speaks up, and does so boldly. He speaks for the entire group, the leader of the pack, and declares they are not going nowhere because they know and have made up their minds that Jesus is God.
I can’t be certain why the original 12 all decided to stay. One, even though Peter can be silly and fumble at times, the man is a gifted leader. This situation is a clear demonstration of that gift. He stands for all 12 and says they are not going nowhere and not one of them speaks up to say otherwise. He says they stay and they stay. Although I’m sure some had doubts for Judas was still hanging out and in his own head thinking of how he can make money out of all of this, most likely not even paying attention.
Not only was Peter’s leadership demonstrated here and a good reason to stick around, but these guys have already been witness to so much. So much of the lands sickness and disease was cleared and cleaned in not much time, among many other things, this would have been so amazing to see. How could you at least not want to watch what else he might have up his sleeves. Even if I was on the fence about Jesus, if he let me hang out, I’d hang out until he kicked me out of the group.