Defection among the disciples

Jesus challenges those who call themselves disciples to rethink what they’re doing, who he really is and what they really believe. This is a turning point. John 6:60-71

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One Reply to “Defection among the disciples”

  1. This continues the story of Jesus teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum. This “hard teaching” is not difficult to understand–it is difficult to accept. These disciples, beyond the chosen 12, are following Jesus, witnessing miracles, hearing his teaching, and now they have to decide if they can fully accept what he’s saying.

    Sometimes I think it’s far to easy to become a Christian, simply accept Christ as Lord and savior and you are part of his family. Of course, to access Christ we must reach the point where we believe we need a savior, we recognize we are all sinners that need salvation. In our relativistic, post-modern culture, these points are meaningless. Those who embrace such philosophies are not able to hear anything we say. Extremely sad! Absolutely breaks my heart when I think about those I love, those I really care about, who have embraced this world as if they’ve found the answer. Accepting Christ mean rejecting the notion that I have the answers, that I can figure this out all by myself. It means stepping across the line that atheist and agnostics paint as some sort of intellectual barrier that only fools would dare to entertain. They mock us and do their best to cast Christ followers as uninformed.

    In the text this morning we read about those who are in the synagogue listening to Jesus. They were there by choice, even if some of it was social obligation, they were in fact there listening to Jesus himself. But Jesus is God incarnate, he knows their thoughts and boldly proclaims:

    Does this offend you?

    There are times when I think this approach to leading someone to salvation would be better. Rather than saying pray to accept Jesus, perhaps we should say, pray that God the Father will enable them to come to Jesus. This, of course, would put is in a pious position like that of the Pharisees, not something I would endorse, but my point is we should be strong in our discussion about accepting Christ. This is a bold step. The person praying is about to become our brother or sister in Christ. They should be serious about what they are praying, of clear mind and understand precisely what they are saying. I’m not trying to make it difficult, just perfectly clear. This is not a club to join. The matters we discuss have eternal consequence. At the same time, Christians should be the most fun people to be around! After all, we know with complete confidence that we win! When it’s all said and done, Christ will call us home!!

    Jesus looks at the chosen twelve, his pick of disciples and asks this burning question:

    You do not want to leave too, do you?

    Peter’s response to this question is so profound, I just want to pause and reflect on the words:

    Lord, to whom shall we go?
    You have the words of eternal life.
    We have come to believe
    and to know that
    you are the Holy One of God.

    Deep inside, if we can truly go there, we find there is an innate sense that there is more to life than simply eat, sleep, wakeup, play, work, etc. Many people may never seek this truth. Many will find clarity in other religions or secular humanism (since they don’t want to call this a religion). Timothy Keller, The Reason for God, starts out this book with the biggest objection to Christianity: exclusivity. Every major religious group claims to be correct. The reality is this: they can’t all be correct. The Universalist have it all figured out: all roads lead to God, but this is simply not true and not supported in scripture. To say all roads lead to God is to say the Bible is not God’s inspired word since God clearly doesn’t support this path, even if we never read the New Testament.

    To whom shall we go? I pray it is to Christ alone. The more I read and study, the more I know this is the truth. But it doesn’t require endless hours of study and debate. It is, after all, a leap of faith. Everyone doesn’t need to become a Christian Apologist to stand firm in their faith! This is a fallacy of our super-educated culture. If you don’t have a Ph.D. you’re somehow second class. Or perhaps you can’t quote book, chapter, verse to debate with the atheist that just called you a fool. Blah! Faith supersedes everything. By faith we are saved.

    The challenge is what to do next. By faith we accept Christ, it’s only natural that we should desire to know who Christ is and what he has to say. More than any other culture in any other time, we have the Bible at our beckon call: phone, computer, print, etc. Whatever translation or format, it’s all available.

    To whom shall we go? To Christ. Amen.

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