Tuesday in the Eleventh Week of Ordinary Time

John 6:60-71

Seeing Jesus as the Bible Portrays Him

It is imperative that we see Jesus the way the Bible portrays him and not as our imaginations wish.  I often hear people describe Jesus as compassionate and kind (with which no one would disagree), but then speak as if Jesus overlooked sin (with the exception of religious leaders, of course) and welcomed, indeed pleaded, with literally everyone to follow him, regardless of the condition of their hearts or intensity of commitment – kind of like a hippy tiptoeing through the tulips all over Galilee with a ukulele singing kumbaya at campfires.

Here we see the uncomfortable fact that Jesus was content to let people walk away who refused to hear or believe in him.  In this instance, upon hearing Jesus talk about eating his flesh and drinking his blood, some of his disciples (and at this time there were more than just the twelve) say to him, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?”  Jesus responds that if they are offended at this, what will they think if they see him “ascending to where he was before?”  This is a rather cryptic remark whose meaning is debated but may refer to the extreme disappointment these unbelieving disciples would surely experience if (indeed when) their Messiah is taken away into heaven rather than establishing an earthly rule with themselves sharing the power.  These men were after matters of the flesh, not the spirit.

But the point I am highlighting is that when they walked away, Jesus did not pursue them saying, “Oh, come on guys.  It’s all just a misunderstanding.  Come on back and we can work things out.”  No.  Jesus let them walk away.  And there are other such instances.  How about the rich young ruler?  Did Jesus run after him saying, “Look, I was too hard on you back there.  All you really need to do is give ten per cent.  Come on back and be part of our posse”?  When another came to follow him, Jesus even discouraged him: “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.”  Jesus wouldn’t even wait for one would-be disciple to go back and bid farewell to his family (Luke 9:57-62)!  The passage goes on to say that Jesus knew who believed in him and who didn’t, and that he added, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by my Father,” which very truth we have spoken about in recent devotions.

Yes, Jesus is kind, loving, and compassionate; but he is also firm, commanding, and uncompromising.  He is both the Lion and the Lamb, and any teaching that shirks one or the other is bound to go awry.  The one who loves me also tells me, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15).  Be sure to see Jesus as the Bible portrays him.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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