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Get offended

May 12, 2009

offendedDennis brought up an interesting thought during staff prayer time this morning. I’d heard this once before – I think Zahnd preached it – but Dennis emphasized some different aspects.

All of the gospels record Jesus feeding 5000 men (plus women and children), but only John records the exodus that followed.

Jesus feeds a crowd of 10,000+ and they’re following Him to make Him king, and for material gain. If you were trying to grow a church, or amass a following, you’d try to keep your first 10,000+ crowd happy. But Jesus turns around and tells them that unless they eat His flesh and drink His blood they cannot be His followers.

Believers today read that and we go, “Oh, communion. He’s talking about communion.” But no one in the crowd knew that, and Jesus knew that was offensive – especially to the Jewish people.

So in verse 60, John records the general reaction of the crowd, “This is a hard saying; who can understand it?” And in verse 66, John records that, “From that time, many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more.”

I’ve heard it preached that following Jesus is difficult. That it’s not what you tend to expect. This morning, Dennis offered this thought: When you feed people and meet the felt needs, you can gather a crowd. When you preach the whole truth of the gospel, people – disciples even – will leave.

Not all of them will leave, and don’t read that as an excuse to not try to grow a ministry. But if the truth was offensive when Jesus preached it, it’s going to be offensive when you preach it too. If it’s not, maybe it’s time to look at what you’re preaching.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. May 12, 2009 1:48 pm

    This reminds me of something else I heard a couple weeks ago: Sure, Jesus fed the thousands, but the next day the soup kitchens closed. Or it was something similar to it. Point being, will we still choose to follow him even for something other than material gain.

  2. tamihoban permalink
    May 12, 2009 2:48 pm

    good call, dennis. good post, lex!

  3. Tyrone B. permalink
    May 13, 2009 8:39 am

    Jesus had no problem meeting the needs, but He did have a problem with them straddling the fence. He said in verses 57 and 58 that He wants them to depend on Him and Him only. Not living their lives on as the rest of the world lives and then coming to Him part time. He wanted them and us to depend on, lean on, and trust Him to supply our needs, not the world and our own abilities. We have to switch systems and Kingdoms. Are you going to hook up with the Kingdom of God and his system or the worlds system? That’s the question that He proposed.

    He is still asking that today. That is why you see some Christ followers dropping off, because they don’t want to give up the worlds way of doing things.


    • Lex permalink
      May 13, 2009 9:06 am

      Word, everybody. I like that when Jesus asks “the twelve” if they’re going to leave to the response is, “Where would we go?” Which brings up another gut check – is there somewhere else I can go, or have I really abandoned every other option to follow Him?

      The interesting spin that Dennis mentioned, though, was to put ourselves in Jesus’ place in the story, as ministers of His gospel. I’ve always heard it preached that we’re the disciples (’cause we are), and we have to decide if we’re going to leave or stick it out. What we talked about yesterday, though, was that we’re the ministers, and is our message getting the same results that Jesus’ message did? Or are we just feeding the crowd what they want to hear (or eat) so they’ll stick around?

  4. Jacob Zarris permalink
    May 13, 2009 6:08 pm

    First off, nice way to ask these questions Lex. Second, I feel that Jesus 100% offended them and on purpose. Not because He could and was trying to one up them, but because he knew it was the flesh that was following him not the spirit. For they were satisfied with the food in the stomach and they enjoyed the way he preached, but once said you will have to eat my flesh and drink my blood to walk into the kingdom yes all “hell” broke loose. You could see the pharisees laughing as he is saying this because now people wont follow him as strongly. Now fast forward to today’s church, do we as the church try to only accommodate by the flesh–by bringing famous people, good speakers, the newest worship band– or do we go by the Spirit and speak the truth and let the Holy Spirit work them and not an old football player? I feel that we have strayed from the ways of Jesus and even John the baptist by substituting the Holy Spirit for the coolest “christian” person. That is also why you see most “christians” living the same style lives as people who don’t want to receive Christ.

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