Having tidied things up after Bible study, I made my way into the sanctuary… my mind re-rehearsing the conversation with a classmate on the privileges of grace. Paying little attention, I locked in on my wife’s hair several pews from the rear, made my way there and nestled in beside her.
The music director called for us to stand and join him in singing a long-time favorite hymn. We stood and I turned to make known to my wife my approval of the song selection today… only to find myself staring into a very good friend’s eyes… but not my wife’s. Awkward? …that’s an understatement!
If that was enough to bring a feeling of discomfort, imagine spending a lifetime believing to have been seated with Christ (Ephesians 2:6), only to find that the Jesus I know isn’t really the Jesus of Scripture. Is that possible you ask?
According to John, it is not only possible, but probable (ouch). Don’t believe me? Read the sixth chapter of his account of the gospel and you’ll find this theory supported with sound evidence.
In one mere chapter of the Bible, we see an uncountable mass of followers dwindle to a ragamuffin handful of disciples who themselves are scratching their heads wondering if they too have followed a madman. Why? Because they were confronted by the authentic Jesus! They were accosted by the genuine Son of God.
Much can be gathered from this chapter… far more than my some five hundred words will express. Allow me to disturb you with a couple of points though.
First, the masses didn’t leave because they did not want Jesus as their king. As a matter of fact, they desired to make Him a king (15). My, the vanity we can concoct! Make… force Him to be a king? Seriously? Folk… He is the eternal King of Kings and Lord of Lords! We can’t make Jesus be anything. He is already the great I Am!
Second, the people didn’t depart due to Jesus being a great religious leader. They even made a personal inquiry of Jesus, “What shall we do (28)?” Did you catch that? “What can I do?” It’s the age-old “Hey! Look at me God! See what I can do!” routine. It didn’t work then… still doesn’t work today. Jesus casually responds to their barren offer of servitude with a message that should have given them relief… hope.
“…believe on Him whom He has sent.”
It did not. They began to get testy… not willing to trade their religion for His relationship.
Jesus shares with them that life can only be found in Him. They, of course, do not want to hear this… especially in the manner Jesus portrays it.
Friends, it is very possible for us to create an idol… name it jesus… and muddle out an existence, coated with religious activities, for all our time we’re given on this earth.
When all is said and done, the proving ground of our faith will not be how much we did, how much we knew, or even how loudly we shouted a name. It will be who we knew… more importantly, who knew us…
Will it be the authentic Jesus? Our friend laughs with us when we remember my humiliating moment of confusing her with my wife. On the day that Jesus judges the nations, there will be nothing humorous about replacing Him with a man-made replica.