The Offensive Christ Rick Ezell May 1, 2006 John 6:56-69 Jonathan Edwards, the eighteenth-century theologian and preacher, stated: “Resolved: To follow Christ with all my heart. Resolved also: Whether others do or not, I will.” Here was a man who knew Christ, loved Christ, and was willing to follow Christ wherever he led. Why are there so few people like that today? It seems that people are willing to involved themselves with Christ but unwilling to meet his complete demands. There is a difference, you know? For example, did you hear about the Kamikaze pilot that flew twenty-five missions? He was involved but not committed. If you ate ham and eggs for breakfast this morning you understand that the chicken was involved in the meal, but the pig was totally committed. Some people will say, “Now let’s not get carried away. There’s got to be a happy medium. Someplace in the middle. A place where I can have a little dose of Jesus and a little pleasure in the world.” But with Jesus there is no middle ground. When it comes to following Christ one either is or isn’t. That’s why Jesus asked his disciples as they were pondering whether they were in or out, “Does this offend you?” (v. 61). As John 6 comes to a close, having begun with a great crowd (v. 2), a small group is gathered around Jesus. The crowds have disbanded because of Jesus’ radical demands (v. 60) and their unwillingness to follow his teachings (v. 66). Now, it is Jesus and the Twelve (v. 67). Jesus asks the pivotal question: “You do not want to leave too, do you?” (v. 67). Can you imagine the silence that ensued? I bet you could have heard a pin bounce on the hard dirt floor. Peter, always speaking first, breaks the silence. Often Peter says the wrong things. Here, he finally gets it. He says the right words: “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” (v. 69). Peter’s statement is marked by four important confessions: 1. A volitional confession. “Lord, to whom shall we go?” Peter’s will had settled the issue. Jesus was his Lord. And as Lord, Peter no longer had a choice. He had come under Jesus’ rule and authority. He was a slave, bought and paid for. He no longer had a say in the matter. 2. An intellectual confession. “You have the words of eternal life.” Peter had made up his mind. This man Jesus was no mere man. His teachings were life-inspired and life-giving. Any other teacher would never measure up. Jesus was the Word made flesh, dwelling among them (see John 1:14). 3. A theological confession. “We believe . . . that you are the Holy One of God.” Deep in his soul, Peter knew that Jesus was the long awaited Messiah, The Christ, God’s anointed. He had studied about the Messiah coming; he had been taught that he would come; now he was standing before him in flesh and blood. 4. A relational confession. “We . . . know that you are the Holy One of God.” In his heart Peter knew that Jesus was God. He knew because of the personal interaction and day-to-day experience of walking with him and talking with him. And, nothing could take that relationship away. I’m sure there were many things Peter did not understand; he was just as bewildered and puzzled as anyone else was by the miracles and teachings of Jesus, but this man Jesus, the bread of life, was the giver of life – present and future – and nothing would take it away from Peter. He confessed, nailing his thesis to the door of his heart like Martin Luther at the Wittenburg Chapel door, then proclaiming, “Here I stand. I can do no other.” In the final analysis Christianity is not a philosophy that we accept or a theory to which we give allegiance. It is a confession of the will, the mind, the soul, and the heart to Jesus Christ. And, yes, it is offensive; but it is life giving. ________________Sermon brief provided by: Rick Ezell, a pastor and writer in Naperville, IL. Leave a Reply Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email.