October 12, 2011

Jesus' Weirdest Sermon?

Monday I wrote a little about the small group of students I meet with & invest in on a weekly basis. One of the tips I gave about building such a group was to "Focus On Discipleship First & Leadership Naturally Develops". This time around, our group is going through the entire Gospel of John in detail this semester. Each week our students study two chapters of John's Gospel. Then we all come together to discuss it & work on Scripture memory.
This week our reading takes us into what has to be one of Jesus' weirdest sermons. To some people who have been in church for years, it may not seem weird because you have heard bits & pieces of it over & over, but put yourself in the place of a 1st century Jew. It's obvious from the passage that this was a really weird sermon. So what was Jesus' main point?

"Eat My Flesh & Drink My Blood"

Let's face it, that's weird. This is Jesus' Dawn of the Dead/Twilight sermon! As a result of this sermon, the Bible tells us that many people stopped following Jesus. It was too weird & too hard for the big crowds to handle. And here's the thing, I think Jesus did this on purpose. He preached a hard message & one that was almost impossible to ignore so that people would be forced to make a decision. Two times prior to this message in John 6, John makes sure to point out that the crowd was following Jesus because of the miracles & that they were asking for even more. Jesus wasn't going to let this crowd dictate His ministry to Him, & He didn't want their trust & faith in Him be built on how impressed they would be by His latest trick. The miracles served a purpose, but ultimately, everyone had to place their faith in Jesus, not simply His miracles.

At the end of the day, people aren't just trusting a miracle worker. They are being asked to put their faith in the Son of God. As someone who teaches God's Word regularly this reminds me that even though we do teach people how to live in a way that aligns with God's word, at some point we have to preach the hard message that it's not just about living a "good life"; it's about putting our faith in Jesus & Jesus alone.

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