THE TEST OF COMMITMENT
We saw yesterday that Jesus was not afraid to put the test of commitment to the crowd who were more curious about Jesus and His miracles than they were about following their Messiah. Was Jesus too harsh with people? Would it not be better for Him to draw crowds and then select persons out of the crowd to make a deeper commitment? Twelve disciples and a church beginning with only 120 seems very small compared to what He could have started with - thousands.
These hypothetical questions miss the real reason for Jesus using the direct approach. If persons are not willing for a relationship that accomplished God’s purpose, what is the point of forming a relationship that is not genuine and driven by divine purpose?
In John 6, Jesus presents Himself as “the bread of life” (36, 41, 48, 51). This was not just an ethereal idea that had no real meaning. When “Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst” (6:35), He was not making a pleasant suggestion. It was an invitation for persons to take from His life what would give them eternal life and the means o f living for God in this world. The Jews “grumbled” even at the suggestion (41). They never asked to understand what He meant.
Then Jesus presses the test a little further by saying, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you” (6:53). Now He takes the invitation to a whole new level. Without this deep, genuine relationship with the Lord Jesus we have no life in us. “When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?”” (6:60). Had they wanted to understand what this commitment really meant, some may have stayed with Jesus. Sadly, “after this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him” (6:66). They did not value the relationship enough to commit themselves to Him.
It makes me very sad to see so many today who hold onto habits and traditions, pursuits of money and prominence, more than willing to be humble servants for the sake of Christ being exalted. This relationship with Jesus is only appreciated as we realize there is nothing outside Himself of any eternal value. Commitment decisions should never be made on the basis of cost, but on the basis of what they accomplish.
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