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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

What If Jesus Says Something You Don't Want to Hear?

John 6:66 (ESV)
66  After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him.

I know that Jesus was crucified. I know that there were people who passionately hated Him. I like to think that they never paid much attention to Him. I like to think that they never listened to Him. That wasn’t true. There were people who listened and wanted to hear more until they heard something that they wouldn’t accept.

These people heard Jesus say that they must eat His flesh and drink His blood. They were literalists who believed that Jesus was offering His physical body to be cannibalized. It was a statement which either demanded getting closer to Christ or leaving Him altogether. Many chose the latter.

It is easy to understand why they left. They didn’t know who Jesus is. Thus, they could not accept what He was saying as anything but literal. Anyone who offers his flesh to be eaten must be of the same order as Hannibal Lector- crazy as a loon! As long as I didn’t know who Jesus is, I would have left Him too. I know because I would leave anyone who said that to me today.

The problem people have with Jesus’ call of commitment to them is that they don’t know who He is. They want to make the decision to follow Him as one that is so reasonable that they would be seen as fools if they didn’t. A problem will always arise when He asked for a commitment that the world will deem foolish. Then, they leave what He has said and, very often, leave Him as well.

Many people who call themselves Christians do not mind going to church. They don’t mind working in the occasional church project. They might like serving in the food pantry or collecting blankets for the homeless or  even the buying of toys for destitute children at Christmas.  Their faith is fine as long as it doesn’t alter their lifestyle. They can’t see giving until it affects how they spend their money on their own wants. They can’t see serving when it means they will miss the NFL game on Sunday afternoon. Their commitment to Christ must fit in the box which they prepared. Honestly, no matter how long they claim to have known Christ , they do not really know Him.

Peter’s response to this reveals that he knew who Jesus is:

John 6:67-69 (ESV)
67  So Jesus said to the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” 68  Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life,69  and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”

Can you see the difference between those who know who He is and those who don’t?

There are people in church every Sunday who have listened to what He has said. They want to hear more until they hear something that doesn’t fit into their box. Then, they decide not to follow Him. That may not mean that they quit coming to church. It only means that they are going their own way now.

You just can’t pick and choose what Jesus has said and know Him as your Lord.


Anthony Chia said...

Now, which category does one fit in, or maybe which categories does one fit in?

1. Ones who do NOT know Christ Jesus enough

2. Ones who do NOT know how to make Him "dance", and so, don't bother much

3. Ones who do NOT want to pay the price to love Him

1. Do you NOT know Jesus enough?
If one thinks he DOES know Jesus enough, what then could still be his problems (other than those that might have fallen into the other 2 categories listed)?

Maybe, he knows enough, but not enough to trust Him.
If he does NOT trust Him to care, he may distance himself from Him. It is like, we may know some powerful and high standing individuals, but we don't get close because we do NOT think they would really care for us.

Try Him, we propose. Some did, but perhaps, to them, they had hit brick wall. They gave up.

What can we say or do with these people?
Encourage them to try Him again (NOT testing God, but try Him). Perhaps, they have thrown the wrong things at God. I mean if you throw shit at me, I am NOT going to catch it with my bare hands! For example, if they had thrown this at God: "God, Why don't you kick Anthony Chia' butt so that he would fall into the monsoon drain!" Well, if there is no righteous ground, God won't do it; they get a "brick wall" in their face!

Perhaps, they are "messed up" inside, their expectations are warped; they needed some correction. But there again, some people won't listen to us.
Nonetheless, when we believe God wants them, God loves them, just as He wants you and I, and love you and I, we must be open to let God use us to nudge people in the right direction.

Then, of course, if they know NOT enough Jesus, they need to know, and we have a part to play in revealing Jesus to people who have NOT known enough.

2. "I don't want to bother, for I don't know how to make Him 'dance'!"
Actually, no one can make God dance, as in "I can make the monkey dance when I know what to dangle before it!". But it does NOT mean God does NOT hear us, or will never do as we ask.

There is a difference between knowing Jesus enough and knowing Jesus well. When we know Jesus well, we still cannot make Him dance! No one can have a hold over God or He is NOT God. But when we know Him well, we could know what He will or will NOT do, for a setting.

It is never about we making God 'dance' to our tune. God is no genie in the bottle, for you and I to say, "Do this, or do that". But Anthony, don't you pray asking God to do this or do that? Yes, but I must always remember my asking is more akin to "Dad, could please help me with this", and what I want, must still pass the test of God's "That is good, just what I am pleased to do".

Unless we know Him well, how can we able to get close to passing that test. Honestly, I believe often, it was NOT I passed that test, but God has relented because He was Daddy, and would not exasperate me, his child, or has wanted to encourage me along.

To those who say, "It is too hard, I don't want to bother, then", I say, "He is your Daddy, or can be your Daddy, how can you give up?! Don't."
What can we do for such? Intercede for them, and encourage them.

3. But I don't want any inconvenience; and I don't want it to cost me more than my loose change!
This category is where the best of us, struggle with, having to be inconvenienced and having to give of our time and resources (NOT just loose change).
The answer is NOT what the overly grace preachers tell us, "God only gives, does NOT make any demand!". So, it is alright to love God without any inconvenience to us, and without any cost to us?! Is there even such a thing as love that costs nothing or doesn't entail any inconvenience or sacrifice? There is no such love, not in the eyes of God. David's words always reverberate, when I come to this issue. He said, I will NOT offer to my LORD that which costs me nothing.


Anthony Chia said...

cont. from above

What if Jesus said something you don't want to hear?
If you don't know Him enough, you don't bother; you probably mumble to yourself, "Aiya! I just pretend I did not hear anything-lo, no-problem-lah, non-issue-lah!"

If you know Him enough, but you trust Him, NOT, you are likely to leave it to others to do whatever that is required.

If we don't want to pay the price or be inconvenienced, we are likely to numb our conscience, or harden our heart. And then we will turn to be, what Scripture said as "lukewarm", which could land us to be spewed out of God's mouth.

God, I cannot justify myself, but quietly recognise that you have been longsuffering and patient with me. Thank you, Lord for being such. Oh, my soul, oh, my soul, profane NOT the grace of God.

Anthony Chia, high.expressions