Gleanings – What? No Trophy for Him?

John 6:60-71

“After this many of his disciples drew back and no longer went about with him.”

It is not clear to me why what Jesus said was so difficult. Jesus spoke in parables. Parable, simile, metaphor and analogy were all ways of thinking and communicating in that day. Surely they didn’t really think they would eat and drink Jesus. Their angst was more likely caused by his teaching that abiding and living relate exclusively to him. This is to equate himself with God. This is truly difficult for some. The metaphor was simply the scapegoat.

Two things are clear. 1. Not everyone follows and 2. We don’t send people away.

In the age of everyone gets a trophy, we can have considerable angst about people being beyond the mercy of God or even separated from the fellowship of the redeemed. But the truth confronts. In some cases, people opt out when the challenge becomes too great. “His disciples drew back.” This is not a forced march. We must allow people to go their own way. And we must mightily resist the temptation to water down truth to keep people on board. For example, we cannot abide with a fellowship built upon class or race when we know sin and Gospel level the playing field and abolish all such distinctions.

In our zeal for purity, we don’t send people away. “His disciples drew back.” Some opted out. Jesus did not say “go away.” Jesus had throngs of people behind. Some were there for good reasons. Others, not so much. But they tagged along. They were allowed to “belong” to the throng in order to hear what it is the throng believes. As truth comes to them they stay or go at their own choosing.

Generally the church should have such a disposition (not to the exclusion of discipline of those who claim to be believers and yet confess their ongoing rebellion). We must accept that the anatomy of salvation requires someone to proclaim Jesus to the unbelieving. If not us, who? We must allow for a throng which includes unbelievers and consequently the presence of people who do not behave like believers. The church cannot be a club with rigid borders. The fellowship must be porous without apology. Otherwise, how will the unbelieving hear? He came to heal the sick and save the sinner. He did not come to heal the healthy and save the righteous. Our home is among the former and not the latter.

One Response to “Gleanings – What? No Trophy for Him?”

  • Happy Kelley Says:

    This is what you were talking about today when you came to our Bible study. I say I believe this and I want to be in a fellowship where it is practiced, but to date have not experienced it except on the surface. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Happy

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