Jesus answered, “Truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate the loaves and were filled.
John 6:26, CSB
You see a person’s true colors when you are no longer beneficial to them.
John six begins with a huge crowd and ends with the twelve and there is a reason for this phenomenon. The huge crowd followed Jesus because they saw the miracles he performed by healing the sick. As an act of grace, Jesus feed this huge crowd with fish and hush puppies and all ate and were satisfied, and it didn’t cost them a cent. Later Jesus and His disciples get in a boat and go to the other side of the lake but this same crowd charters some boats and follow. This is when Jesus says to them, “You are looking for me for the wrong reason, you want more free food. You are not interested in what I have to say or teach; you simple want another miracle.” This is the JEV, Jack’s Everyday Version. That was some two thousand plus years ago and not much has changed. A couple of things happened to me Monday morning that inspired this blog. Our guest speaker at the Pastor’s Conference spoke on Exodus 16 and the BREAD FROM HEAVEN, the manna which foreshadows Jesus the Bread of Life who came down from heaven. Then at lunch Ken told a fascinating story about mission work in Venezuela. A local pastor told Ken there were some people in a mountain village that he needed to meet so that planned a excursion. When Ken got there with his pick up truck, the native pastor had as many as the truck would hold ready to load up and go. He had already told Ken that it was customary for the IMB Missionary to pay all expenses. Ken only agreed to furnish transportation. When lunch time came, Ken picked up the tab for he and his family but he made the local pastor pay for his entourage. Ken said, “The next time I picked him up to go somewhere, it was by himself.”
There are a lot of “Bread and Fish Christians.” These are the folks who want all the benefits but suffer none of the cost. They are willing to take, take, take but when you ask them to commit to giving, they disappear. When Jesus refused to feed them and then went into some deep teaching on commitment, many who had been following Him for a long time, went back home. This is when Jesus said to His disciples, “Do you wish to go away also?” Peter said, “Lord to whom would we go? You have the words of eternal life.” Our dinner discussion Monday got me thinking: how many folks in the world really love Jesus? How many folks in the church really love HIM? Oh, we all want His blessings but how many of us love HIM for who He is? Mary Magdalene and the women who traveled with HIM certainly loved HIM. His disciples grew to love HIM. I’m afraid the great majority of professing Christians don’t love HIM. Our level of commitment and giving does not indicate that we love HIM. Our fear of commitment is appalling. That’s why people fear COVENANT membership. I don’t think they understand that we already have a covenant on the back page of the By-Laws. Unfortunately, no one pays any attention to it and that is a shame. Yes, all members are to give and abstain from Alcohol. Can we make that legally binding? Of course not, the thought is absurd.
We all covet His blessings but how many are willing to embrace the fellowship of His suffering. Don’t get me wrong, there were some who genuinely loved HIM then and some do now. When Mary Magdalene believed with all her heart that He was dead, she loved Him. A dead Jesus couldn’t do anything for her but she didn’t care, she loved HIM anyway. He saved her from a life of torment and she was grateful. Had you been at the cemetery that Sunday morning and got in this woman’s way, you would have found out how much she cared for Jesus dead or alive. She loved Him in strength and she loved Him when He made Himself weak for our sakes. She did not love Him for his benefits; she loved Him because He was Jesus. Wow! I think that is the way He wants all of us to love Him.