Jesus was teaching a large group of people, people who claimed to be His followers, and He was telling them who He was. This was after He fed all 5000 of them with a child’s five loaves of bread and two fish. This was after He walked on water to get to His friends who were out in a boat. The crowd followed. They knew He could heal the sick, feed the hungry, and raise the dead. They wanted a piece of what He could offer, but the fact that they didn’t want Him was evident when He started teaching the hard truths.
He told them that He knew they were not after who He was, they just wanted what He could do. He called their intention out and exposed them. Instead of accepting the challenge and trying to get deeper, they questioned Him.
“What must we be doing to get in on the works of God?” they asked.
“Believe in the One He sent.” he answered.
It’s so simple, but it wasn’t enough.
“Do something to make us believe.” Dance monkey.
They mentioned that even Moses fed the people with manna and Jesus told them that it wasn’t Moses, it was God. And that God was pouring out the Bread of Life, the kind that won’t spoil, right in front of them.
They wanted that bread.
“Sir,” they called Him, “give us this bread always.”
“I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger and whoever believes in me shall not thirst.”
He told them who He was, that He was who they were looking for. But, they wanted something else. They knew Him, and He was too normal. They knew who His parents were. They reduced him to being a nobody, at best, and practically cannibalistic, at worst.
“Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.” He said.
They walked away, completely dismissing Him.
Jesus was one of us. He had feelings. He was doing what He knew He was supposed to do and He probably even knew how amazing, to some, and crazy, to most, it sounded. He spoke and they scoffed and He watched them walk away. He was telling the truth and nobody listened because He didn’t tell them what they either expected or wanted to hear.
Later, He was in His home town and there was a big party going on. Everybody went to it, but Jesus didn’t want to go. I wouldn’t either. I can only imagine that He wanted to avoid more rejection a bit longer and just be who He was.
But His brothers wouldn’t leave him alone. You can hear the sarcasm in their words.
“Leave here and go to Judea, that your disciples also may see the works you are doing. For no one works in secret if he seeks to be known openly. If you do these things, show yourself to the world.”
His own brothers didn’t believe in Him.
They shared the same mom, they heard the same stories, but they still didn’t believe.
Jesus knew He was hated and He knew that people wouldn’t believe Him or in Him. He knew He would be betrayed and who, in His faithful inner circle, would betray Him. He knew He would be killed for the things He was saying. He knew it, but He still pushed forward. It’s why He came in the first place.
I, in my own very small way, can identify with the rejection that Jesus felt. Anyone who teaches about Him, and everything the Gospel stands for, goes through it, too. That’s awesome if you’re popular and you have a lot of people who affirm and approve of you. At the same time, you must know, the minute you start teaching what Jesus taught: freedom, grace, love… you’ll feel the rejection, too. People want you to make them feel good about all they do. If you take that away from them and count it as ‘clanging cymbals’ (1 Cor. 13:1) they’ll turn on you.
Everybody is looking for their edge, for a way to stand out and rise to the top. The best way, even in the religious world, to do that is to be better than everybody else. Remove the pedestal and they’ll curse you as they find their footing among the ‘least of them’.
Jesus IS the ‘least of them’. I wish everybody could see that.
Jesus knew it wasn’t His time to die, so He stayed back and let the predestined plan unfold.
Everything has it’s time.
Later, Jesus did end up going to the party. He stayed quiet for a while, but then began teaching in the temple. He says something that didn’t make sense to whom He spoke, but it does to us right now.
He said, “Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.'”
People still bickered about His authenticity. Those who believed kept quite out of fear of what the others would think. But we, now, know that He is who He said He was. We believe, and as a result, ‘rivers of living water’ flow from our hearts.
It doesn’t mean we’ll be liked or popular or that anyone, that we know about, will listen, but it’s still true. If you believe in Him, (and you, who do, know what I mean), then let it flow. When it hurts to be hated, consider yourselves in good company.
When Jesus felt hated, He still pushed through.
Besides, I really think we are protected from how much what flows from us really helps people. We’re protected from the slavery of pride. Don’t pay attention to who is coming and who is leaving. It’s just the inevitable balance to keep you level. Don’t focus on all the reasons why the vision He gave you is impossible. It’s always going to look impossible. Just tell the Truth and walk through all the details.
Keep going. Let it flow.
This entire post came from John 6 and 7. Read it.