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Calling it quits

Built on a rock
Lead Summary
Ron Nichols, pastor, Grace Lutheran Church, Luverne

There is an amazingly honest admission in John 6:66. It’s not complimentary of the Bible nor complimentary of Jesus’ ministry, but it is, however, the truth. It reads, “Because of this (Jesus’ teachings) many of [Jesus’] disciples turned back and no longer went about with him.” Even though these disciples had witnessed Jesus’ miracles, and listened to his sermons, they decided to call it quits.
All this talk of Jesus being “the Bread of Life Come Down from Heaven” was too much for them. Oh, they liked the fact that he can feed 5000-plus people with five loaves of bread and two fish. They didn’t mind his constant talk of the Kingdom of God. But for some reason they just thought Jesus went a little too far calling himself the Bread of Life.
Now if the writers of the Bible were only interested in portraying Jesus in a positive light, this would not be included. Yet, there it is for all to see. “Many of Jesus’ disciples turned back and no longer went about with him.”
His teachings were too hard; not that they didn’t understand, they were just too hard to follow. The Bible is quite honest about this.
Perhaps what Jesus should have done to avoid this problem was keep it simple. Maybe he should have first discussed his teachings with a few of his disciples. They could be the judge of what might be controversial, so Jesus could avoid losing some of his followers. Just keep it simple: a little of this and a little of that, but avoid the big issues so no one would get upset. Perhaps to avoid people leaving, Jesus should have just tried harder to keep everyone happy!
Well, Jesus did not do this. Jesus could not do this because he didn’t come to us to make us happy; he came to us to make us his own. Softening up his message would not be sufficient; not if he really loved his disciples.
I think the Gospel is very clear that faith is not just something we pick and choose like at the salad bar. It’s not just a little of this or a little of that, depending on your preferences. There are no positions for part-time disciples; only full-time will do.
Some of Jesus’ disciples decided his teachings were simply too hard. Not too hard to understand but too hard to believe and follow. They quit.
Jesus then turns to the twelve (the apostles) and asks if they too will quit. Simon Peter answers Jesus with a statement that has been the hallmark of the Christian Church over the centuries: “Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life.”
To follow Jesus as his disciple is seldom easy or comfortable or convenient.  Jesus came not to make us happy but to make us his own. Jesus came to show us the way. To lead us through the perils in life and bring us home safely.

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