John 6-10; a significant change in the sharing of the Gospel occurs in John. Jesus has had great impact on teaching/changing individuals; yet seems to have little effect with the masses. The Masses, true wanted to make Him King and crown Him, but Jesus would have no part of it. In John 6 there is the great controversy with the people [crowds], sure they followed Jesus, but for the food of the bellies, not for the long haul. These same crowds that will praise and adore Christ as He enters Jerusalem on Passion week, will turn against Him at the first hint of trouble. The crowds are more than the common people, they are also the religious right – legalists of the Jewish faith. When Jesus explains the cost to follow Him, the people balk. His presentation of what discipleship really is, even causes struggles today – what does He mean by eating His flesh and drinking His blood? Surely, discipleship means taking on the suffering of Jesus and identifying with the Cross. Jesus asked James and John – “can you drink of the cup that I will drink?” As a result thousands left Jesus [John 6:66]; left with only the 12, Jesus doesn’t change His Gospel; He didn’t run after the masses. Instead He turns to the disciples, and ask them what they will do. Jesus did more with 12 than He ever could with the masses. In today’s “church Growth” and “Mega Churches” I wonder what Jesus would think? I do not minimize the effect of the Gospel in crusades and such, but it seems that the Gospel has its greatest effect in one on one relationships. The problem of the masses continues in John 7 – everyone trying to figure out who Jesus is by the things that He does. The Feast, Passover [Jesus attends 3 Passovers in John] is the forum of controversy over Jesus. Some say He is good man, others say He leads people astray – either way the crowds are held at bay by the influence of the Religious Leaders. I believe the masses want “a Jesus” – savior and will take whoever will give them what they want. The end result is the people – religious and common people are divided over Jesus – some things never change. The common people want a Jesus that takes care of them, heals and feeds them – the religious elite want a powerful political figure [hummm, sounds like American politics].
After having dealt with the rejection of the masses; Jesus returns to individuals in John 8. Jesus touches an adulteress and a blind man. Even in His forgiveness and compassion for hurting people, the Jews want to discredit and use people for their own religious/political agendas. Rather than see the hurting and crippled state of mankind because of a fallen society, the Jews look to test and challenge Jesus and His divinity. Jesus is the Son of God – they knew that [John 3:1-2]; but they just can’t get over the sympathetic and compassionate way He forgives and heals the dregs of society. Even in John 9, the controversy over the blind man cause so much turmoil, even for the man’s parents. His parents wanted nothing to do with the religious leaders, even though they know the truth. I cannot help but wonder – has American Christianity become so much like the Jewish religion, in that we want people to follow our version of Christianity rather than the Christ of the Gospel? The simple testimony of the man – I once was blind but now I see.” I love the response he gives to the Jewish leaders – do you too want to follow Him!
In John 10 – there is such a wealth of commentary, this blog would be filled to overflowing – simply the Jesus from Nazareth is truly God. The focus of Jesus being the “Good Shepherd” is what the religion of the day missed. A king, especially, God’s anointed King does not have to be a tyrant. He can and is the lover of man’s soul. The desire of Christ was to fulfill Isiah 61:1-4. He did His mission; yet John has already told us – He came unto His own and His own received Him not. [John 1:10] So which Jesus are you willing to follow? The one the masses embrace or the individual Savior sent from God to save all who would believe that Jesus is the Christ? The people’s choice obviously has flaws as does the Religious Right!