Tag Archives: healing

The Masses Do Not Get the Gospel

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!

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From the Mountain to the Valley

From the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus comes down the mountain to be surrounded by large crowds. I couldn’t help but think what a difference it is to be on the Mountain versus the Valley. Many times we want to stay on the mountain top and relish the “good times and highs.” But there is work to be done, and we must come down the mountain to the people. In chapters 8-12, there is a lot of healing ministry and tough questions to be answered by Jesus. These things cause Jesus’ popularity to skyrocket with the people. However, the more popular Jesus became, the more the religious rulers despised Him and His ministry.

In the process of doing daily ministry to whoever asked Him; Jesus also was assembling His “apostles.” We find supernatural events during the ministry of Jesus. He healed lepers, calmed seas, cast out demons, gave sight to the blind, cured a paralytic, mercy to a woman with a blood hemorrhage. The people always went away praising God for the miracles. Jesus continued His “teaching moments” which also was overwhelming. He had to answer a myriad of questions about why He didn’t do things the way the Jewish religious leaders did, with their strict moral and ethic codes. Jesus actually was questioned by John the Baptist disciples [Matthew 11:1-6] “Are you the Messiah or is there someone else? Jesus replied with Isaiah 61:1-4.

Jesus as the Son of God had power over the very creation that He spoke into existence. I note that even in the natural phenomenons, storms, waves winds etc., Jesus displays power and authority over them. The only element of creation that seemingly won’t respond to His authority is mankind. Partly because we are given free will and make our own choices, but mainly because we are fallen humanity, and have a bent towards sinning.

Two passages [Matt 7:16-21 & 12:33-37] really stuck out for me. I asked myself the question, especially in regards to John 15:2 – is the tree bad because of the bad fruit or is the fruit bad because of the bad tree. Matthew 12:33 – clears this up quickly the problem is a  bad tree. What this means is the internal characteristics of the tree determine the fruit seen visible. So also this is true for us. If Christ is in our soul, the fruit will be good. We really can tell if someone is redeemed or not. By their fruits you will know them!

Recently a particular verse has made its way deep into my heart – Matthew 10:16, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. This is a difficult verse because ravenous wolves kill and shred without regard to anything else. We know the bible explicitly tells us that as they persecuted Jesus that we should expect it too. But we strive to do our best NOT to suffer for Christ.  Yet the test of Discipleship is the willingness to follow and experience what Jesus experienced. Paul took great joy [not happiness] in “the fellowship of His [Christ’s] suffering being conformed to His death. [Phil 3:10]

Jesus does not paint a very glamorous picture for would-be disciples. The biblical account of daily discipleship is a far cry from what is lived out in Western Christianity.

Our reading for this period ends with questions about the Sabbath observances. Obviously the religious rulers were watching Jesus’ every move, not to follow Him but to look for fault or ability to accuse Him of wrong doing. Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath; the Sabbath was made for man [and beast] not Man for the Sabbath. Too often I think “church life” can get so legalistic about what is the way to worship God, that we wind up putting so many restrictions to our worship; and wind up worshiping our system of beliefs instead of Jesus the subject/object of our worship.

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