2012-09-02 You Serve What Satisfies | John 6:56-69
Joh 6:56-69 (NAS)
56 “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.
57 “As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also shall live because of Me.
58 “This is the bread which came down out of heaven; not as the fathers ate, and died, he who eats this bread shall live forever.”
59 These things He said in the synagogue, as He taught in Capernaum.
60 ¶ Many therefore of His disciples, when they heard this said, “This is a difficult statement; who can listen to it?”
61 But Jesus, conscious that His disciples grumbled at this, said to them, “Does this cause you to stumble?
62 “What then if you should behold the Son of Man ascending where He was before?
63 “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.
64 “But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who it was that would betray Him.
65 And He was saying, “For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me, unless it has been granted him from the Father.”
66 ¶ As a result of this many of His disciples withdrew, and were not walking with Him anymore.
67 Jesus said therefore to the twelve, “You do not want to go away also, do you?”
68 Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life.
69 “And we have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God
You SERVE whatever SATISFIES you.
You are FAITHFUL to whatever FULFILLS you.
You FOLLOW AFTER whatever FEEDS you.
You LIVE FOR whatever GIVES YOU LIFE.
Why do you follow Jesus? Do you follow him because of your interest or desire for the sensational, the sensible or the spiritual? Let me back up to the beginning of chapter six and tell you what I mean.
Some people followed Jesus because of their interest or desire for the sensational. They were moved by the signs and wonders he performed. They were amazed and astonished by his miraculous powers. He had turned water into wine, healed the temple official’s son who was at the point of death and most recently he had healed the lame man at the Pool of Bethesda in Jerusalem. Afterwards it says “a great multitude followed him even to the other side of the sea of Galilee.”
Jesus was somewhat aggravated that the people wouldn’t believe in him unless they saw these signs (v48) but we’ll see later that he considered this better than the next group because believing in him because of his miracles at least required a little faith.
Some people followed Jesus because of their interest or desire for the sensible. These were the practical people. They were moved by their physical hunger. They wanted another meal. They were doing what was practical, utilitarian, expedient. They were following him because he had fed them bread the previous day along with thousands of other people.
They may have recognized Jesus as the coming Messiah but at best they were probably responding to a Jewish tradition that said when Messiah comes he would feed them manna that would never run out. They wanted a permanent meal ticket.
Jesus recognized their lack of faith and said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves, and were filled…there are some of you who do not believe. “For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me, unless it has been granted him from the Father.” They had no faith because the Father had not drawn them. Yet Jesus still challenged them as he also challenged the rich young ruler who would also walk away. Jesus knew who had faith and who didn’t. But we do not. Therefore, like Jesus, we should challenge those even though they seem not to have faith.
A third group of people followed Jesus because of their interest or desire for the Spiritual with a capital S. When Jesus began speaking about eating his flesh and drinking his blood in order to receive eternal life, those who were interested only in a meal ticket became offended and said, “This is a difficult statement; who can listen to it?” And eventually they walked away. It says, many of His disciples withdrew, and were not walking with Him anymore.
Jesus then said to twelve who remained, “You do not want to go away also, do you?” (Joh 6:66-67 NAS) He was expecting a negative answer and that’s what Peter as their spokesman gave him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life. “And we have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God.” (Joh 6:68-69 NAS)
Because they had faith, they were willing to accept the hard sayings of Jesus, even if they didn’t understand them completely, even if his words turned their stomachs. They found in him the promise of eternal life. They were looking beyond the food, and the miracles, to the person of Christ himself. In him they found a different kind of life, a self-giving, self-sacrificing, life that profited others rather than self, that could only have a heavenly, divine origin, a kind of life would last forever.
Jesus called it eternal life, and said that men and women and children could only find it in him, and that it came from his father in heaven. V57 says, “As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also shall live because of Me.
People in the churches today are no different.
Some people attend a church because they’re interested in the sensational. They’re looking primarily for a dramatic experience, something miraculous, spine-tingling, extraordinary, surprising and astonishing, perhaps a miraculous quick fix for their problems. They’re looking for their next experiential fix, so to speak, to keep them going till the next healing service or signs and wonders conference or personal word from the Lord. They’re more interested in the miracle than in One who is Christ who performs the miracles. These are the kind of people some of us were at one time, that some of us are at the present time. This is not the ideal, but at least it requires a little faith. It’s better than the next group.
This second group are the people who attend church because they’re interested in the “sensible.” Frankly, they’re looking for some material or personal gain. They’ve heard that church has free gourmet coffee and donuts before the service or free soft drinks and pizza at the youth meeting. Or they might attend primarily to meet new people, to find a boyfriend or girlfriend or husband or wife, or to make new business connections. Their purposes are self-serving, utilitarian, expedient and temporal.
Some children and teens and young adults attend church because their parents require it or expect it. Ultimately however, you must decide for yourselves – whether you will follow Jesus even when his words seem strange and when his commands seem impossible.
Young people, at a certain point, it doesn’t matter what your parents do or what your parents believe. Keep in mind that only the children who were born in the wilderness went into the Promised Land. All the parents except Joshua and Caleb died in the wilderness because they did not believe. The children entered in because they – along with Joshua and Caleb – believed in God’s promise.
The fact is, whether you’re a child, a teen, a young adult, an adult, or a senior adult, you’re going to want to leave Jesus at some point, too. Even though some of his words are nice, lots of his words are hard to understand and even harder to believe. Even though some of his commandments are easy, lots of them are very difficult and demanding.
You must do as Joshua said in our OT reading, “choose this day whom you will serve.” But we can’t do it because we’re more interested in a quick fix or material gain. But Jesus did it for us. He chose to serve his father whatever it cost himself. Jesus was asked to suffer temptations, trials, mocking, beating, humiliation and an agonizing death on a cross to pay the price of death and separation from God, in order to gain back – to win back, to earn back for all believers – the gift of eternal life that Adam had walked away from in his sin.
What did Jesus mean when he spoke of eating his flesh and drinking his blood? He meant receiving him in the most intimate and complete way possible, taking him into yourself personally and individually by the Spirit and by faith, so that he is in you and you are in him.
Those who feed upon X, shall live for Him
We feed upon Christ – as members by the head, as branches by the vine.
By drawing from the life of Christ as he drew life from his heavenly father, we can serve him no matter what the cost just as he served.
If you are IN CHRIST, it is because CHRIST IS IN YOU.