Many Disciples Desert Jesus
Many Disciples Desert Jesus
- Two months ago we had local elections here in Svishtov and I’ve been watching on TV the American candidates for president.
- The more I look at politics the more I am convinced that Jesus would not have made a very good politician.
- What have we seen so far? How many miracles – he fed over 5000 people with a few loves and fish, made the blind see, and the lame walk? Bread and fish (beer and kebabche). Now is the time for Him to cash in on his popularity. The crowds are behind him, now is the time to stage a large-scale protest against the Romans, or use his popularity to get a seat on the local council.
- But, he was not a very good politician. He didn’t use the crowds to gain more power. He did the opposite. He provoked [ ] the crowd with some very extravagant claims.
- He said that he was the, “true bread from heaven” [е хлябът, който слезе от небето] (58). If people wanted to know God they would have to accept Him as more than a teacher, but the very Son of God.
- Not only had Jesus stopped producing free food, but made large demands on them.
- Why? To be a follower of Jesus does not mean that we are just part of the crowd. It is something very individual. Some may say, “I’m born in Bulgaria. I am a Christian. Bulgaria is a Christian country.” But, I don’t thing Jesus saw it that way. He never appealed to the crowd, but always to the individual.
- Jesus wanted to know who was willing to really follow Him – to be a disciple. There are many people who want to use God for their own purposes. We see many a politician who becomes very “religious” when it suits his need. But how many of us are willing to make a commitment? No matter what, no matter the difficulty, no matter the cost, I will follow Jesus. It is those people that Jesus is looking for, not the crowds but individuals who are willing to put Him first. Let’s read the passage.
Beer and Kebabche John 6:60-65
- In this passage we see the disciples asking Jesus a question and Jesus responding with a question of His own.
- First the disciples ask, “John 6:60 Tежко е това учение; кой може да го слуша?”
- The Greek word is sklēros, which means not hard to understand; but hard to accept.
- The disciples are wondering what is going on. Just when we start to get popular, Jesus starts to drive away the crowds!?
- This is the point at which if Jesus is a politician he will back off and try to placate the crowds, but again he does what we do not expect – he makes a whip.
- Then Jesus asks, “Това ли ви съблазнява? (61)” [отблъскам се?]
- It is not so much a question as a statement. If you think this is hard to accept, just wait, you will experience even more difficult things.
- There are things about the Christian life that are difficult to accept; not understand, but accept.
- The real difficulty of Christianity is two-fold.
- It demands an act of surrender to Christ, an acceptance of him as the final authority
- Our lives are surrendered to Christ. Christians say that the Creator knows best how the creation should work.
- In our minds that makes sense. If you work on a farm and drive a “combine” and it breaks down, a good person to ask about a problem would be the one who built it and designed it. Of course that makes perfect sense, the designer knows best, but our heart does not always agree.
- We want what we want, and we want it now. But the Christian life demands, as Jesus prayer in the garden before his crucifixion,… not my will God, but yours.
- and it demands a moral standard of the highest level
- we are required to “live above” the moral standard of Svishtov. Just because other may do …., does not mean that I may also.
- In a town as morally confused as Svishtov we will be challenged to compromise our moral stance.
- As believers we will be challenged by our commitment to either:
- Surrender our lives to Christ, or
- By our moral choices
- If Jesus was a good politician he should have said something like, “Christianity is easy,” or “follow me and I will give you whatever you want.”
- But instead of making it easier, he raised the bar.
- And because of these two challenges, a surrendered life to Christ and a high moral standard, what happened? Read vs. 66. [Поради това мнозина от учениците Му отстъпиха, и не ходеха вече с Него.]
- What happened here in the Bible is exactly what happens here in Svishtov. There are many who begin to follow Christ, they see the benefits of following Jesus (beer and kebabche), but when Jesus honestly explains what he expects from them they walk away.
- But not everyone. Let’s read on.
The Heart of a Follower of Jesus John 6:66-71
- So, what is the difference between the 12 disciples and the “other disciples”?
- The disciples did not understand any better than the crowds, but they were willing to trust Him.
- Many of you here are “disciples” of Jesus, not all of you, but many of you.
- It is important for us to know that when difficulties come, when there are things in life that we don’t understand, there several reactions that we can have.
- In the Bible we see several different responses made by those who followed Jesus. When difficult or confusing situations arise we see different responses:
- (i) There was defection [утеглиш]. Some turned back and walked with him no more. They drifted away for various reasons. They were fair-weather followers.
- There will always be those who follow Jesus “when it’s convenient for them.”
- If we advertize free beer and kebab after church each Sunday, I can almost guarantee that we will have more people in church.
- But also as soon as we stop the beer and kebabche, they will disappear.
- Unfortunately, there are always those who follow Jesus when it’s easy or when they want something from God.
- (ii) There was deterioration [уморяваш].
- Some people just get worn down by life. They get tired of doing what is right. Why am I always playing the idiot? Being honest while other who cheat get ahead?
- For this reason the Bible tells us, “don’t be weary of doing go, for God will reward us.” [???]
- It is in Judas above all that we see this. Jesus must have seen in him a man whom he could use for his purposes. But Judas, who might have become the hero, became the villain; he who might have become a saint became a name of shame.
- I think that Judas, like all the other disciples, began with good intentions. However, through the years, something changed.
- Those of you who have been following Jesus a few years…. How are you doing? Is life wearing you down, or are you allowing God’s word to renew your mind daily?
- (iii) There was determination [устоиш].
- The third response is determination.
- It was just such a situation as this that called out the loyalty of Peter’s heart. To him the simple fact was that there was just no one else to go to. Jesus alone had the words of life.
- Peter’s loyalty was based on a personal relationship to Jesus Christ. There were many things he did not understand; he was just as bewildered and puzzled as anyone else. But there was something about Jesus for which he would willingly die.
- In the last analysis Christianity is not a philosophy which we accept, nor a theory to which we give allegiance. It is a personal response to Jesus Christ. It is the allegiance and the love which a man gives because his heart will not allow him to do anything else.
- Why talk about this at Christmas? Aren’t you going to give a simple Christmas message?
- Those of you who have walked the Christian life know that God asks us to do things we do not always understand.
- The Christmas message: God is always doing the unexpected.