Thursday, June 2, 2016

Relentless
A series of expositions on John the Apostle Pt.7


John 6:70
70 Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the Twelve? And yet one of you is a devil.”

As the sun hung low in the sky the Lord told young John and Peter to take the other disciples and head for Capernaum in the boat. John and Peter exchanged confused looks but said nothing to the Lord about how Jesus should get there with them. As they set off a terrible head wind came against the boat causing the rowing to be hard but not one even one of them suggested they not continue to do what the Lord had asked of them.

John heard Peter let out a loud shriek and the others joined him in horror as they looked at a figure floating over the water. “It’s an apparition!” someone shouted. Then as the figure came closer young John saw the face of his Master and he wasn’t floating but walking as if the lake were but a few inches deep. “It is I, do not be afraid!” Jesus yelled. “Tell me to come to you Lord!” Peter said. Again anger burned within John, Peter always seemed to be a few steps ahead of young John in his eagerness.
After the embarrassing question he and James had posed on the road, John was now often too concerned with looking like a fool to the Lord.

“Come on then!” Jesus cheerfully replied. Peter shook as he stepped from the boat, John watched his foot waiting and almost wishing for it to sink, but it stopped as if on solid ground just a few inches beneath the water. Peter stepped from the boat as he locked eyes with Jesus. A great wind slammed into Peter after he had taken only a couple steps making him take his eyes from the Lord and place them onto the water, he began to sink. “Lord!” Peter cried. Jesus caught him and pulled him to the boat and they both climbed in. Jesus looked Peter in the eyes with his hand on his shoulder and asked “Why did you doubt?” They fell to his feet right there in the boat and worshipped him.

The following day the crowds returned yet again as they came to the synagogue, there seemed to be no more escaping these multitudes that flocked to the Master, the disciples and Jesus began to seek places of solitude just to escape them at times.
Jesus rebuked them as they gathered saying “Very truly I tell you, you are seeking me not because you saw the signs I perform but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of man will give you for on him God the Father has placed His seal of approval.”
“What must we do to do the work God requires”? They asked.
“The work of God is this; believe in the one He has sent.” Jesus replied.

Then young John heard them demand yet more signs from the Lord, this infuriated John, he could not understand why the Lord put up with such people, they sought only for their own gain and John could see most of them carried no real belief or desire to worship Jesus or learn from him as they the disciples did, they wished only to be healed, to be fed, and to be entertained. They could not see that something so much greater than food or even miracles were being offered by the Lord. They wanted to keep their lives and have Jesus also when Jesus wanted they’re lives entirely. They selfishly demanded to remain they’re own masters but were glad to take whatever the Lord would offer. John felt most of them were unworthy of his Lord.

“Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in them, just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me.” Jesus held his arms up before the crowd and continued. “This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will live forever!”
Shouts of rebuke and grumbles of confusion came from the crowd now.

“Does this offend you? Jesus yelled into the crowd. “Then what if you see the son of man ascends to where he was before! The Spirit gives life, the flesh counts for nothing! The words I have spoken to you- they are full of the Spirit and life.” Jesus then turned to look at the twelve as he continued. “Yet there are some of you who do not believe!” John was shocked to see Jesus take his eyes off the crowd and give them his followers a hard look as he made this accusation of unbelief. Young John searched himself and with great shame saw the doubt still within his own heart, he knew his master could also clearly see it, even after all John had seen and all they had been threw. “Is he speaking of me?” John thought to himself.
As John looked at the other twelve he could see from the hurt and shame painted on their faces that they also had found the remaining doubt Jesus spoke of within themselves.
As John watched the backs of the dispersing and grumbling crowd leave he suddenly realized that what he held in his heart that they could not grasp was not something he John had gotten for himself by his own effort or thought, but something that had been given to him. Suddenly a sense of great gratitude came upon him as he realized that if it were not for the Father he would be one of grumbling unbelievers and that the faith that held him to his Master was not by his merit but by God’s gift. With tears John realized he was no more worthy than they that hurled insults and looked for bread.

“You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the twelve.
John gasped at even the suggestion that he would ever depart from his precious teacher and friend. He watched as again Peter was the first of the group to react, but this time John did not burn with anger or jealously toward Peter, as he had spoken words that certainly described young John’s own heart.
“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.”
“Have I not chosen you the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!”

Rant
We can so easily sit in a group or click in our churches and become inflated and pompous. 
How easy would it have been for this same attitude to creep up in the very men that actually walked with Jesus? After all they were privy to information not everyone had, they had the parables explained to them, they had experiences others had not, they had special access to the Messiah. I imagine this was an attitude Jesus was constantly fighting against and I think we can see glimpses of this in the Gospels. It is interesting that after sending a confused and grumbling crowd of unbelievers away he found it necessary to tell the twelve that they were “chosen.” To me it’s as if he is saying here, you are not still here because you are somehow smarter than these bread seekers are, you are not still here because you are somehow more spiritually advanced or more special than these lost souls, no, you are still here because of one thing only, I your Savior have chosen you!

It is easy to sit in our churches and in our groups and focus on what “they” are not doing and what we are doing, what “they” are doing to break our world and what we should do to stop “them” from doing it.  What we fail to see is that the idea that there is an “us” and a “them” is an illusion, it’s a lie and it is just one of the things that keep the church from being the church. It seeks to erode and destroy the Christian church altogether.
What have we done to save ourselves? What special intelligence or spiritual attributes can we point to that has made it possible for us to get what others have not yet gotten? Why do we take our Christ given structure for living and demand those standards from people that do not believe in a Christ?
I believe we do it for one reason only, to make ourselves feel good!
When examining the things nonbelievers are doing that that they shouldn’t we’re not looking at what we are not doing that we should be.
When focusing on the unchristian lifestyles and mistakes of the still lost people living in the world we are not focusing on our own unchristian behavior and what Christ would have us do to defeat it so we might live more for the Kingdom. We should come to our groups in a humble attitude seeking to become better equipped as disciples and closer to Christ in our living so that ultimately we might better be able woo the lost into the relationship we have with Jesus. We instead waste the time we have sitting behind the walls of the church scorning the activities of those outside the church and then when we actually interact with lost worldly people, as we do often, that scornful unloving attitude is easily seen. I have but one verses heavy in my mind when I think of this anti-Christian attitude toward the very people Jesus came to this earth to save Matthew 15:8 "'These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.
 Who will be wooed with condemnation or will feel invited with threats of damnation? Is this the attitude we see our Lord and Master Jesus Christ take toward the lost? No, he only takes that attitude toward the Pharisees that exalt themselves while condemning the lost. If this is our attitude for the lost souls of the world what will Jesus have to say to us on that fateful day we meet him?
We have been given a great gift, we have heard some incredible news and have been chosen and adopted as the children of God and He the Father sent His Son, our Brother and Lord who now commands us to Love and to Save. What we do with this gift and how we reply to these commands will have eternal implications and will no doubt be the focus of conversation when we meet the God/Man we profess to follow.

Once the curtain on our life has closed the opportunity for action will be over. When will the curtain close?


Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.
And when I am dying, how happy I’ll be,
If the lamp of my life has been burned out for Thee.”
C.T Studd