Sunday, August 23, 2009

Are you just hanging around???

John 6:67 "You do not want to leave too, do you?"

It's an honest question...a challenging question...a hard question...both for the one who asks and the one who is being asked.

In asking this question Jesus risks rejection. He gives you the opportunity to reject him, his teaching and leave just as he did to his disciples on that day. The question indicates his willingness to be vulnerable, human, one with you. There is no force or coercion used in God's relationship with you through Jesus. He invites you to come voluntarily of your own free dire trickery...just limitless promises of a full life, an eternal life, a real life through Him.

In asking this question Jesus does not allow you the comfort of hanging around "just to see". Faith in Jesus is not a spectator sport. You cannot claim the name Christian without being in the game. In football you can be an Essendon supporter or a Kangaroo supporter, even a Collingwood supporter and never get on the field. But to be a Christian, a disciple of Jesus, it means cross carrying, obedience, humility, the Christ-like life. That is why so many of his disciples and so many people through history have found Jesus' teachings too hard and left and so chosen to leave Jesus...and His church. Jesus asks you every day. He asks this question of you when you have to make decisions between the way of Jesus and the way of the world, the people around us, and our own desires. He asks this question of you when you have to decide what you want to watch on TV and video...what books or magazines we read...the sites we visit on the internet. He asks this question of you when you have to choose how you will treat someone who has treated you badly and hurt or offended you. He asks this question of you when He calls you to weight up decisions at work and in business on the basis of ethics, morals and the well-being of people who employ you or are employed by you even though no one else may ever know or understand and many probably don't care. He asks this question of you when you drive your car...are out on the sporting field or cheering in the stands... shopping...relaxing...celebrating. Every moment of your life Jesus puts the question to you..."and what about you?"

These are times when the temptation to leave Jesus behind...or out of the very strong. I know...I have had those times...every Christian does. That is why Peter's answer to Jesus' question is so vitally important.

"Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy one of God."

I have found that no person and no thing has words which give me life. No author, no politician, no religious leader, no philosophy, no theology, no book, no advertising, no money, no power, no possession can give me what Jesus has given me...his life...through his life, death on the cross, and resurrection. He has given me purpose and meaning to my life. He has shown me that I have purpose and meaning...that I am a valued part of an eternal plan of an eternal God that is beyond my limited lifespan and my understanding.

The same is true of you...and of every person on earth. We are all offered this freely given gift of God's love in Jesus precisely because Jesus is the Holy One of God...the Saviour...the Lord. There is no other source of such life or fulfilment or purpose on this earth or in all creation. follow Jesus is hard...and at times you may find it even offensive...but possess that which only Jesus can give. Eternal life...purposeful and purpose-filled life. Remember who you are because of Jesus...a valued, important, loved child, servant, and heir of the kingdom of God.