More than anyone else, Jesus deserves the title of “greatest guy in the world,” yet some people really hate Him. Because His truth is polarizing and offensive, believing in Jesus creates opposition. In John 6:60-61, we see that Jesus has been feeding thousands of people through a miracle He performed, and in the excitement, many were claiming to be followers of Him. However, Jesus calls them out and says not all of them are genuine. So what does it mean to be a follower of Jesus?
A true follower of Jesus knows the gospel message is polarizing and offensive. The gospel is...
- Exclusive. Jesus is the only way to Heaven which means some are in and some are out.
- Convicting. Certain things are right and others are wrong, and we are to repent when we make a wrong choice.
- A minority view. Our nation is not a Christian nation, and we no longer get a positive response to the gospel. We are the minority.
- Politically incorrect. It rules out practices that our culture embraces.
- A message that we are helpless sinners. We are fundamentally broken and have nothing to offer God. Following Jesus is not for the casual Christian, and that’s what Jesus was telling this crowd of people.
A true follower of Jesus believes because the Word and the Spirit give life. Verse 63 says you cannot try to make yourself acceptable to God. All of us are born sinners, incapable of coming to understand the truth of what it means to treasure Jesus. But the Spirit helps us see who Jesus is; He gives us life through the hearing of the words of Christ in Scripture (vs. 65). The Word of God and the Spirit of God do not need our help to convert people, meaning, we don’t need to use manipulative tactics. Our job is simply to open the Word and show people who Jesus is.
A true follower of Jesus remains faithful because Jesus offers true life in God. John 6:66 says that people who had been following Jesus later abandoned Him, meaning they were never true followers to begin with. Verse 67 says Jesus asked His twelve remaining disciples if they also wanted to leave. Peter responded, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the true words of eternal life...” Through the full story of Peter’s life, we learn that a true believer can struggle in her/her faith but will never defect.
We have a lot of options of where we can go to get answers. There are places that give you a feel-good message and won’t talk about the problem of sin. But Peter knew Jesus was confrontational and doesn’t always tell you what you want to hear. You can go to a church that won’t expect much out of their church attenders or call you to a serious walk with Christ. But your church family ought to get in your grill and ask you if you are really in or out for Jesus. You can find a more inclusive message of a God of love. But Peter was there when Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except by me.” You can find a message that lets you live as you want yet still be a part of church. But following Christ is incompatible with sinful habits. You can find people who deny the existence of God altogether. But do you really think that atheism and secular philosophy have better answers to the mysteries of life? Peter was with Jesus when the glory of God burst out of Him, and He saw the resurrected Jesus. You need to confront that truth.
Are you a true follower of Jesus? True followers of Jesus possess Spirit-given life, enabling them to find joy and satisfaction in Jesus. Is that you?
Father, help us to be warm to what you are doing through our hearts. May we be more committed to understanding who you are, and who we are in You.
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