Friday, December 4, 2009

Just Curious

"Rabbi, when did you get here?" Jesus answered them and said, "Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal." Therefore, they said to Him, "What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?" Jesus answered and said to them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him who He has sent." - John 6:26-29

To be honest with you, this verse haunts me. When I was a new believer it was hard for me to study the words of Jesus because it was so contradictory to what my mind had created Him to be. My mind created a loving, pacifist, who catered to the needs of all people. He spoke of things like getting along and loving your enemy, turning your cheek and pursuing a life a peace. I imagined Him to be a pushover that I could somehow pacify with my good deeds. You see when I began my walk with the Lord, I wanted all the benefits with none of the cost. I had the attitude of, "what have you done for me lately." I asked Him to come into my heart so that I could go to Heaven, just in case He really was the one He claimed to be. I did this while continuing to worship the god of self.
"Why do I reveal this to you?" I reveal this to you because we see in this passage that the people of Jesus' day were doing the same thing. They heard about the miracles He was performing and they pursued Him out of their curiosity (John 6:2). There was no doubt that He was the Son of God for He healed the sick and fed 5,000 men, this number does not include the women and children who were in attendance and fed. John 6:14, tells us that the people saw the sign which He had performed and believed Him to be the Prophet that they could make King and deliver them from the oppressive arm of Rome. This chapter goes on to tell us that the people believed they could take Him by force and declare Him king. Because they intended to take Him by force Jesus withdrew from the crowd. The people got in their boats and followed Him to Capernaum. Which leads us to the verse above, John 6: 26-29."Rabbi, when did you get here?" Jesus answered them and said, "Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal." Therefore, they said to Him, "What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?" Jesus answered and said to them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him who He has sent."
They sought Him but not because they believed Him to be who He claimed to be but because He was meeting their physical needs. I also believe that they sought Him because they wanted to be entertained by His many miracles. They wanted an earthly political "messiah". They were looking for the King of Kings in His first coming not a suffering Servant.
Also notice, they referred to Jesus as the Prophet...merely a man blessed by the power of God but not God Himself. This reminds me of the discourse between Jesus and His disciples. Jesus asks His disciples, "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?" And they said, "Some say John the Baptist and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah , or one of the prophets." He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" Simon Peter answered, " You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." Jesus responds, "Blessed are you Simon Peter because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but my Father who is in heaven." Matthew 16:13-17.
So often, we allow the culture to define for us, who God is. We look to the culture to determine what we believe to be true about God. In essence, we look to the world and not the word.
We trust in things we can see and understand rather than the things we can't see and our minds can't comprehend. We get caught up in the current of culture and swept away. I think it is fitting that Jesus asked His disciples first, "Who do the people say that I am?" and not "Who do you say that I am"? I think He did this, knowing, more often than not, the culture defines for us our beliefs. I also believe He did this to commend Simon Peter for not conforming to the ideas of the culture. And to explain that unless God reveals to us the truth, we will confirm to the ideas of this world.
Let me ask an uncomfortable question, "Are you following Jesus for all of the benefits and none of the cost? Following Him only when it is convenient or meets some emotional/physical need?" or "Are you following Him in full assurance that He is who He claims to be, the Son of the living God, who was and is and is to come?"
Please understand, this post, is not written to condemn you. I merely ask these questions because it has been questions like these that have brought me to a place of repentance and reconciliation.

As always, please overlook ALL the grammatical errors. A lot of times, I am writing with three kids coming in and out and numerous interruptions. I will not have time to re-read before posting.

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