SCRIPTURE: John 6:60 (TM) – larger reading John 6:60-71
Many among his disciples heard this and said, "This is tough teaching, too tough to swallow."
Soren Kierkagaard tells this story: I went into church and sat on the velvet pew. I watched as the sun came shining through the stained glass windows. The minister dressed in a velvet robe opened the golden gilded Bible, marked it with a silk bookmark and said, "If any man will be my disciple, said Jesus, let him deny himself, take up his cross, sell what he has, give it to the poor, and follow me."
Jesus was talking about sacrifice – his and his followers. It was tough, challenging and a hard teaching to handle. Many of his followers couldn’t handle it. They turned away and simply went home.
Dr. Kierkagaard tried to match up his surroundings and the words from the pulpit. The trappings of our faith seldom correspond with the teachings about our faith.
We want the Savior without the Lord. We desire the reward without the sacrifice. The reality is that we really cannot have both ways no matter how hard we try.
We make a commitment such as “until death do us part,” but when the relationship becomes difficult and demanding … we turn our backs and walk away. Jesus was pointing his followers towards the stark reality of following him. It was symbolic language housed in pointed terms. Eat his flesh, drink his blood. It was a hard saying. The cost was great. For some, too great.
During one particular year of ministry I had taped to my computer the question: “What is today’s cost of following Jesus?” It was a constant reminder that following Jesus should cost me something every day. The tendency is to seek an easier way… the path of least residence. But what is the benefit in following that path? Where are the rewards in doing something that comes easy?
In college students constantly are looking for an “easy A class”. I took some of them during my college years. I don’t remember anything from those classes. But the courses in which I had to work hard, stay up late, read volumes, write tons of pages … are the courses from which I learned valuable lessons.
We are called to be disciples... to follow Jesus. Is it too tough? Is it a hard request?
This disciple stuff sure has a lot of “yikes” moments to it. Lord, help us to follow you regardless of the personal cost.