TO WHOM SHALL WE GO?
Jn.6: 66 From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.67 Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?
68 Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.
I realize these verses are in the context of professing disciples walking away from Jesus because of a teaching which was hard to digest. Jesus said that no one could have life except by eating His flesh and drinking His blood. And after many walked away from Him Jesus turned to His original followers and asked if they also would walk away and they wondered to whom they could go. You see, although they did not understand many things they knew this one thing: Jesus had the words of eternal life. And after all is said and done that alone can make a true disciple.
But I would like to take this post in a different direction but with the same Scriptural theme. You see the world is searching for someone, anyone who can share with them the words of eternal life and the true love of God. I was moved today by the words of a sister in Christ who commented on my Facebook post saying, “I think many of these hurting souls would run to someone in Christ, if they could find Christ in someone.” I was moved deeply by those piercing words. And that statement beggars this question, “How deeply must sinners search before they can find Christ in you and me?”
Have you not heard that we called to let our lights so shine that sinners will glorify our God? Have you not heard that we are to be a city set high upon a hill where sinners can see and find our Lord? Have you not heard that our lives are to salt so that sinners can taste our wonderful Lord through us? And if we look around at the state of the church and the average American believer can we truthfully say that is the norm? Can sinners see and hear Jesus through our lives or do they hear little that is different than our conservative neighbors? Are we known for morality and conservative issues rather than Jesus Himself? And to be absolutely clear you cannot be known as a conservative American AND a follower of Jesus. You see those two paths lead in different directions.
Millions upon millions of souls are wandering about in spiritual darkness. Some are imprisoned by all kinds of sinful strongholds while others are in deep emotional pain and still others are in a state of desperation. They take drugs or alcohol or even engage in sinful sex in order to help alleviate their pain, but to no avail. Do you and I realize Jesus no longer walks this earth except through those He inhabits? And given that truth what should be, what must be, our commission? But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. You see, we are called to die to ourselves so that Jesus Himself may live through us. This is no hyperbole of philosophical musing. To be sure this is the glory of God and the very essence of discipleship.
Many people define discipleship as being taught the Scriptures and orthodox doctrine. Yes, that is foundational but it falls far short of being a transformed follower of Jesus. I have known many people who are well versed in orthodox doctrine who were nothing like Jesus. That is not being a disciple. Being a true disciple is one who has died to himself and now Christ manifests His life through that person. Sure he should have a great love for God’s Word and embrace certain tenants of the faith, however the world needs more than just theologians. It needs Jesus.
And of what does our theology consist? Does it magnify love and humility or does it magnify certain doctrines? Should it not magnify both? Of what good is theology if it can be thorough and complete on paper and requires nothing of our lives? And are we called to stand and defend or are we called to go outside the camp bearing His reproach? All throughout the life of Jesus He was a humanitarian who was active in meeting the needs of the people while using every opportunity to let His deeds and miracles point to who He was and what His ultimate mission was. We must never forget or even downplay the gospel message of eternal life.
And here are the crossroads ( And I do mean cross.) where theology either dies on the statement of faith vine or bursts forth with life through a crucified believer. The Scriptures teach us what we should believe on many levels and in many truths. But much of what we should believe demands action in speech and deed which should come forth from a heart which has been bathed in that truth and has been transformed by the power of God’s truth. That sounds very flowery but in reality it is a labor of love. Do you think it is easy to deny oneself and one’s flesh? Oh on the contrary it is a great and painful spiritual battle which even when won demands a daily occupation of the victory. Your life is not a partnership where you and Jesus discuss the best way to proceed. No, you have been bought with a price and your Master will show you and empower you to proceed on the path He already has trod. And in an amazing paradox the path which bears His footsteps is both the most painful and yet the most glorious. You will not know the power of His resurrection without knowing the fellowship of His sufferings.
So to whom can sinners go? If believers throw up moral crusades and legislation barriers and mixed multitude organizations designed to combat certain earthly “agendas” then to whom can sinners go to find life? “But”, you say, “They do not want life”. Yes, just like I was not searching for life, and although I was doing my best to make the death I was living my life the Holy Spirit still sought me. That precious Spirit of God did not seek to attack me or condemn me or even come after me with hollow and corrupt politicians. He gently and relentlessly sought me and revealed Jesus to me. Is that not our charge as well?
Away with all the carnal weapons of this world which seek hollow victories by “winning” over sinners through political agendas and legislations and the power of numbers which include the very enemies of Christ. It is all vanity and vexation of spirit! It is time we as believers allow that same Spirit to circumcise our hearts and crucify that old man who desires with all his might to reign in our lives. There is only one kingdom for us and only one King! Oh when will we understand that we cannot be friends with this world? Of course the world attempts to make tablets of stone which outline certain sins and which leave out their own sins and with those stones they will accuse and excuse each other. And in the end all that is accomplished are moral theatrics which have the appearance of life but which are nothing but spiritual death.
If you do not enjoy being vulnerable then following Jesus is not for you. If you object to being judged by the religious world then stay within the world’s systems. If you wish to keep your hands from being sullied through interaction with sinners than stay well within the hygienic place called self righteousness. But if you truly wish to follow Jesus then be prepared and count the cost. It is a lonely path but with deep spiritual fellowship. It is path that is filled with humility and self denial and yet with great glory. And when you esteem others as better than yourself it is there you will find your own esteem. And if material things are important to you than this path will seem quite unreasonable.
But you truly desire to see sinners find the Jesus that saved your own wretched soul then you must allow Christ to seek those sinners through your own life. Yes, you must surrender to a crucified life to which desperate sinners can find the only hope they have…Jesus.