What Do You Want From Jesus?

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By John Thiel, Audio: What Do You Want From Jesus?

What do you from Jesus? Why do you become part of his followers? What do you want of Jesus? Consider what the motive of true Christianity is. Jesus had many disciples for a period of time when he first started his ministry. Those disciples followed him for various motives. Throughout Christendom since that time, the history shows a repetition of what our Scripture reading revealed. Here we have Jesus announcing something that can shock some people. It shocked his disciples.

John 6:65 And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father. 6:66 From that [time] many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. 6:67 Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?

How is it with us today? Why are we following Jesus? Why are we Christians? Jesus spoke in a manner that caused a great sifting among his disciples then. From that time after this preaching, many of his disciples went back. I hope that as I present the same truth, that not one of us will be offended and follow the example of the defectors. What was it that offended the disciples? What is it of Jesus that can offend us today? What do you want from Jesus? What was so offensive in Christ’s address? Jesus had a great multitude before him and was feeding them with the loaves and the fishes. Having done all that, they thought, wow, Jesus is an amazing person, if he can feed the thousands of people, he’s going to be a king over us that can conquer the Romans. If there is an army to fight, he’s going to give them food, there’s no logistics involved. They wanted to take him by force to make him a king.

John 6:15 When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone.

Jesus really had to wake up his disciples and people. He did it. Put yourself in the shoes of a devout follower of Jesus, what ever your motive, you’re really following Jesus and he says this to you:

John 6:26-27 Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.

What is Jesus suggesting here? You follow me not because not because of the fact not because I’m a miracle working person, you followed me because I filled your stomachs. What an affront. Oh Lord, are you serious? Jesus knew. I have made you comfortable, I have made you feel secure, and that’s why you’re following me. Very offensive?

John 6:35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.

The disciples were followers of Jesus and he says to them, you have seen me, but you don’t believe what I’m really on about. I’m the bread of life.

John 6:38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.

This was offensive to the disciples at that time and to the Pharisees that were listening. Notice what they said;

John 6:41 The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven.

The mindset of the Jews was different to what the mind set of Jesus was. They could not comprehend what he was talking about and it was offensive to them. Have you ever met something in your experience of following Jesus and something is offensive to you? And you thought it was a little bit rough because your mind set is not the mind set of Jesus?

John 6:48. I am that bread of life.

Jesus is handling something here, which is different, to what their mindset was. The mindset of the church was under the oppression of the Roman Empire and they wanted to be released and Jesus was the one they were looking to. They were flocking after him so that by his wonderful leadership they would be released from the oppression they were under.

John 6:60 Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard [this], said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it? 6:61 When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you? 6:62 [What] and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before? 6:63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, [they] are spirit, and [they] are life. 6:64 But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him. 6:65 And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.

Here in this presentation of Jesus, we have seen two sections we will contemplate.

  1. The loaves and fishes they followed him for.
  2. The mindset that prevented them from understanding that Jesus was the bread from heaven.

Loaves and Fishes

Many Christians attach to Christs church to receive its benefits. Like back there, Jesus would save them from the Roman yoke, release them from earthly servitude. That was the benefit they were after.

Matthew 20:20 Then came to him the mother of Zebedee’s children with her sons, worshipping [him], and desiring a certain thing of him. And he said unto her, What wilt thou? She saith unto him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom.

What were they disciples for? They wanted to be right Jesus as king. Who were they? The sons of Zebedee. John the beloved disciple. What was he following for? James as well. Following for the loaves and fishes symbolically speaking. To be part of the kingdom that would conquer the Roman Empire. Here the disciples had just seen the death of their saviour, Jesus was in the grave, walking home on the road to Emmaus.

Luke 24:21 But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done.

What did they want? They had trusted in Jesus. They followed him, because they trusted him for the benefits which were redeeming Israel from the Roman yoke. This is exactly what has been identified before why they rejoiced to be his disciples after the miracle after feeding the 5000.

John 6:14 Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world. When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone.

Did you notice that those who were following Jesus, wanted from Jesus what they wanted and Jesus had to totally disappoint them. What do you want from Jesus? Judas had a motive that Jesus recognised right at the very time when Judas was filled with anticipation and said I’m going to follow you wherever you go! Couldn’t Jesus have felt this was lovely? Notice how he answered him;

Matthew 8:19 Then said they unto him, Where is thy Father? Jesus answered, Ye neither know me, nor my Father: if ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also. 8:20 These words spake Jesus in the treasury, as he taught in the temple: and no man laid hands on him; for his hour was not yet come.

Did Jesus see through him? He saw his motive. He wanted to quench Judas enthusiasm right from the start. Unless God has put it into your heart to follow me, don’t get disappointed. You think you’re going to follow me right beside me as the great man to release you from the Roman Empire, forget it. The Son of man has no where to lay his head. Judas wasn’t listening. How many times have I observed this? We hear what we want to hear. Judas wasn’t listening to Jesus.

Christ’s oft-repeated statement that His kingdom was not of this world offended Judas. He had marked out a line upon which he expected Christ to work. He had planned that John the Baptist should be delivered from prison. But lo, John was left to be beheaded. And Jesus, instead of asserting His royal right and avenging the death of John, retired with His disciples into a country place. Judas wanted more aggressive warfare. He thought that if Jesus would not prevent the disciples from carrying out their schemes, the work would be more successful. He marked the increasing enmity of the Jewish leaders, and saw their challenge unheeded when they demanded from Christ a sign from heaven. His heart was open to unbelief, and the enemy supplied thoughts of questioning and rebellion. Why did Jesus dwell so much upon that which was discouraging? Why did He predict trial and persecution for Himself and for His disciples? The prospect of having a high place in the new kingdom had led Judas to espouse the cause of Christ. Were his hopes to be disappointed? Judas had not decided that Jesus was not the Son of God; but he was questioning, and seeking to find some explanation of His mighty works. {DA 718.1}

Notwithstanding the Saviour’s own teaching, Judas was continually advancing the idea that Christ would reign as king in Jerusalem. At the feeding of the five thousand he tried to bring this about. On this occasion Judas assisted in distributing the food to the hungry multitude. He had an opportunity to see the benefit which it was in his power to impart to others. He felt the satisfaction that always comes in service to God. He helped to bring the sick and suffering from among the multitude to Christ. He saw what relief, what joy and gladness, come to human hearts through the healing power of the Restorer. He might have comprehended the methods of Christ. But he was blinded by his own selfish desires. Judas was first to take advantage of the enthusiasm excited by the miracle of the loaves. It was he who set on foot the project to take Christ by force and make Him king. His hopes were high. His disappointment was bitter. {DA 718.2}

Judas wanted the loaves and fishes, the benefits. He felt he was imparting a benefit to others. This was swelling his sense of importance. His Disappointment was bitter How many times we have gone through hopes and bitter disappointments. This is the loaves and fishes benefits. I want the benefits! Judas was feeling the amazing benefits. He thought, I’m going to press forward here and make Jesus king. As you and I see church membership benefits, even the loaves of fishes to be part of this church has already proven a great blessing to many people. There are many people in this church who are gifted in preparing food. We come together and we eat and we say, this is nice, you are such a good cook.

There is danger of some attending the meetings for the loaves and fishes. EW page 121.

Some have been zealous to attend all the meetings, not to glorify God, but for the loaves and fishes. EW page 57.

The self-sacrifice involved is left for a few. Many other benefits. Some people come to the church to benefit from a good wife. There are many benefits that people join a church for. I remember clearly – COME TO AVONDALE, YOU’LL FIND YOURSELF A GOOD WIFE. What’s Avondale for? What was it set aside for? Sr White said, don’t come to find a good wife. But that is now the motive. The loaves and fishes. You can think of many no doubt. To be a member of the body of Christ is a path of service, a path of the cross, of selfless service. We heard the testimony in the past of one who found the service was a bit grinding and he lost his focus. As we keep on serving it is often a cross experience. It looks like I’m getting no benefits. That’s what it means to follow Jesus.

All who received Him would partake of His nature, and be conformed to His character. This involved the relinquishment of their cherished ambitions. It required the complete surrender of themselves to Jesus. They were called to become self-sacrificing, meek and lowly in heart. They must walk in the narrow path traveled by the Man of Calvary, if they would share in the gift of life and the glory of heaven. {DA 391.2}

What did it involve? Cherished ambitions or a conforming to his character. To be part of the body of Christ means a path of self sacrifice and surrender and relinquishing of anything we hold dear on this planet. That deals with the loaves and fishes. Have a good look at what motivates me in being part of this body.

Jesus The Bread From Heaven

The issue we want to look at is what it really means of the ingestion of Jesus in my life. How did Jesus drive this point home in the sermon he was given? If you’re going to follow me, you’re going to follow a path like Jesus who had no where to lay his head. If you’re missing the benefits, you’re missing my very position in being your leader. I am the bread of life. The leaders of the church murmured at him. Jesus was trying to bring the point home I’ve got a work that is different to what we expect. He describes it in verse 48, I am the bread of life.

John 6:56 He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. 6:57 As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. 6:58 This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever. 6:59 These things said he in the synagogue, as he taught in Capernaum. 6:60 Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard [this], said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it?

Here is Jesus is bringing the point home. It was a violation of their mindset. This is a hard saying. He is hard. He is telling us we are not going to enjoy the precious privilege of being conquers over Rome. He is talking about spiritual things in the future. We want relief from the Roman oppressiveness right now. What do you want? Are you waiting for the miracle so that you would be set free from your oppressions? We keep suffering thorns in the flesh and we think this can’t be Christ’s church as I’m really not having a very good time here.

John 65:61. When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you?

He had to go back to heaven and they were terribly disappointed. He was trying to teach them it’s a spiritual exercise, your flesh has nothing to do with it. My flesh has everything to do with it he said, my sacrificing flesh. That was too much. This is not what we want of Jesus they thought. Here the shattered hopes were revealed of anticipation and terrible disappointment. Why were they shattered? Why did they need him? Many walked no more with him.

The test was too great. The enthusiasm of those who had sought to take Him by force and make Him king grew cold. This discourse in the synagogue, they declared, had opened their eyes. Now they were undeceived. In their minds His words were a direct confession that He was not the Messiah, and that no earthly rewards were to be realized from connection with Him. They had welcomed His miracle-working power; they were eager to be freed from disease and suffering; but they would not come into sympathy with His self-sacrificing life. They cared not for the mysterious spiritual kingdom of which He spoke. The insincere, the selfish, who had sought Him, no longer desired Him. If He would not devote His power and influence to obtaining their freedom from the Romans, they would have nothing to do with Him. {DA 391.3}

They realised they had been deceived. They would not eat the flesh of Jesus Christ. What do you want from Jesus? I have seen people doing that, even from own our ranks. I want nothing to do with that people any more. Why? Because its different to what they expect. Judas realised and woke up. He decided he was going to stay there and manipulate Jesus Christ still.

Christ’s discourse in the synagogue concerning the bread of life was the turning point in the history of Judas. He heard the words, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, ye have no life in you. John 6:53. He saw that Christ was offering spiritual rather than worldly good. He regarded himself as farsighted, and thought he could see that Jesus would have no honor, and that He could bestow no high position upon His followers. He determined not to unite himself so closely to Christ but that he could draw away. He would watch. And he did watch. {DA 719.1}

When Jesus presented to the rich young ruler the condition of discipleship, Judas was displeased. He thought that a mistake had been made. If such men as this ruler could be connected with the believers, they would help sustain Christ’s cause. If Judas were only received as a counselor, he thought, he could suggest many plans for the advantage of the little church. His principles and methods would differ somewhat from Christ’s, but in these things he thought himself wiser than Christ. {DA 719.3}

Judas had such beneficial ideas that Jesus could be benefited by his counsel. Here we have the story of John chapter 6 and the shattering of the anticipated hopes of being a disciple of Jesus that were not based on what Jesus was really about. The defended disciples were even more offended how Jesus put it in a sharp painful rebuke. It’s bad enough if you are suffering already. This was the last straw. Open rebuke. This is very heart wrenching that caused this terrible shaking. He’s just hurt us, we’re going to hurt him back. They made their choice, had taken the form without the spirit.

Whose fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly purge His floor, and gather His
wheat into the garner. Matt. 3:12. This was one of the times of purging. By the words of truth, the chaff was being separated from the wheat. Because they were too vain and self-righteous to receive reproof, too world-loving to accept a life of humility, many turned away from Jesus. Many are still doing the same thing. Souls are tested today as were those disciples in the synagogue at Capernaum. When truth is brought home to the heart, they see that their lives are not in accordance with the will of God. They see the need of an entire change in themselves; but they are not willing to take up the self-denying work. Therefore they are angry when their sins are discovered. They go away offended, even as the disciples left Jesus, murmuring, This is an hard saying; who can hear it? {DA 392.2}

Praise and flattery would be pleasing to their ears; but the truth is unwelcome; they cannot hear it. When the crowds follow, and the multitudes are fed, and the shouts of triumph are heard, their voices are loud in praise; but when the searching of God’s Spirit reveals their sin, and bids them leave it, they turn their backs upon the truth, and walk no more with Jesus. {DA 392.3}

This was one of the times of purging. The chaff was being separated from the wheat. Where are we living today? The preaching of truth will do it. They saw the need for an entire change in themselves. They are angry when their sins are discovered. They go away offended. Murmuring this is a hard saying. Picture the offended disciples today. What do you want from Jesus? Do you want a change of character or the loaves and fishes? The benefits are there. These are side issues. We are to concentrate and submit to truth digesting it. That is our work. Jesus said eat of my flesh, drink of my blood, what does it mean? Enter into my sufferings. Self-sacrifice on the altar.

Christ explained the meaning of His words so clearly that none need stumble over them. His statement regarding eating the flesh and drinking the blood of the Son of God, is to be taken in a spiritual sense. We eat Christ’s flesh and drink His blood when by faith we lay hold upon Him as our Saviour. {5BC 1135.3}

Christ used the figure of eating and drinking to represent that nearness to Him which all must have who are at last partakers with Him in His glory. The temporal food we eat is assimilated, giving strength and solidity to the body. In a similar manner, as we believe and receive the words of the Lord Jesus, they become a part of our spiritual life, bringing light and peace, hope and joy, and strengthening the soul as physical food strengthens the body (MS 33, 1911). {5BC 1135.4}

It is not enough for us to know and respect the words of the Scriptures. We must enter into the understanding of them, studying them earnestly, eating the flesh and drinking the blood of the Son of God. Christians will reveal the degree to which they do this by the healthiness of their spiritual character. We must know the practical application of the Word to our own individual character-building. We are to be holy temples, in which God can live and walk and work. Never must we strive to lift ourselves above the servants whom God has chosen to do His work and to honor His holy name. All ye are brethren. Let us apply this Word to our individual selves, comparing scripture with scripture. {5BC 1135.5} In our daily lives, before our brethren and before the world, we are to be living interpreters of the Scriptures, doing honor to Christ by revealing His meekness and His lowliness of heart. Christ’s teachings are to be to us as the leaves of the tree of life. As we eat and digest the bread of life, we shall reveal a symmetrical character. By our unity, by esteeming others better than ourselves, we are to bear to the world a living testimony of the power of the truth. . . . {5BC 1135.6}

The disciples revealed it. Today Christians still reveal it. The health of their character is the fruit in the time we spend in focusing on the word to understand it, to pursue the practise of the word. Why are we in the body of Christ? Character building. What does it mean to esteem others better than ourselves? To be beneficial to that person. We are here in the church to regard each other to serve each other rather than to benefit from the loaves and fishes.

When men submit entirely to God, eating the bread of life and drinking the water of salvation, they will grow up into Christ. Their characters are composed of that which the mind eats and drinks. Through the Word of life, which they receive and obey, they become partakers of the divine nature. Then their entire service is after the divine similitude, and Christ, not man, is exalted (Letter 64, 1900). {5BC 1135.7}

If you are going to have a healthy character, are you going to have a healthy spiritual diet. Health reform has to do with spiritual reform. Jesus is still looking upon our response today as he did then. He saw his disciples, seventy of them, they were leaving him. We have just seen the reason why. Jesus then says, will you also leave me? He is still in heaven right now, saying the same words. There are only a small number of us here today, will you also leave me? What does apostle Paul say? To whom shall we go?

To whom shall we go? Not from the teaching of Christ, His lessons of love and mercy, to the darkness of unbelief, the wickedness of the world. While the Saviour was forsaken by many who had witnessed His wonderful works, Peter expressed the faith of the disciples,–Thou art that Christ. The very thought of losing this anchor of their souls filled them with fear and pain. To be destitute of a Saviour was to be adrift on a dark and stormy sea. {DA 393.6}

To whom shall we go? Where shall we go if we leave this beautiful message? Are we going to leave the teaching of Christ? His lessons of love and mercy to the darkness of unbelief, the wickedness of the world? Are we going to hurt Jesus Christ? He’s pleading for us. He says to the Father, wait till I’ve sealed the servants of God in their forehead. He knows unless people are sealed in his work, they will turn their back upon them. What do you want from Jesus? I leave this question before you.

Amen

Posted on April 29, 2011, in Divine Service Sermons, Sermons by John Thiel. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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