Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Jesus drove people away

Timothy Dalrymple:
... Surely Jesus gave “the FULL gospel,” right? And yet Jesus “lost” followers by droves. I agree with Kierkegaard on this: when you give the full gospel, you will drive people away. Narrow is the way and few will walk upon it. When confronted with the full gospel, not only in its attractiveness but also in its offensiveness and its challenge, in the way it calls us to die to ourselves and then take up the cross daily, we’re more likely to thin the flock than to fill it. Thousands followed Jesus when they thought he might serve their worldly interests; when the teaching grew hard, and the sacrifice he required became clear, only the twelve remained — “and one of you is a devil.” Jesus was not exactly concerned with dwindling numbers. He wanted true followers. Consider that. The greatest preacher in the history of Christianity drove them away by the thousands.
John chapter 6:
61 Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you? 62 Then what if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! 63 The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit[e] and life. 64 Yet there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. 65 He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them.” 
66 From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. 
67 “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve. 
68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.” 
70 Then Jesus replied, “Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!” 71 (He meant Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, who, though one of the Twelve, was later to betray him.)
Do you see the "dog that did not bark?" When " many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him," Jesus did not go running after them to beg them to reconsider or offer to tone things down if they'd come back. Instead, he turned to the Twelve and basically asked them what they were still doing here! I have a nagging suspicion that when we try to make following Jesus appealing to the masses, we are not being faithful to Jesus' example. But I don't like that, either.