Bible Ballistics: Vol. 8 No. 05 A Foodie Or A Follower???
As I was thinking today about all the political rhetoric going on, and how many people are bantering about the name of God and the Lord Jesus Christ for one side or the other, I was reminded of what Jesus had to say to some who came to Him on a particular day. I was reminded that not every one who shows up at the “party” is a guest, and not every one who claims to be following Jesus is truly following Him, they aren’t seeking Him out of gratitude for His sacrifice for us, or devotion and love for His amazing, saving grace; but they seem to want to be close to Him, but not have any allegiance to Him. Some are just following Him for what they can get out of Him, or for some profit they can receive for being in proximity to the Savior, yet they have no real allegiance to Jesus; those who know about Him without knowing Him.
“…….and when the people had heard thereof, they followed him on foot out of the cities. 14 And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick. And when it was evening, his disciples came to him, saying, This is a desert place, and the time is now past; send the multitude away, that they may go into the villages, and buy themselves victuals. 16 But Jesus said unto them, They need not depart; give ye them to eat. 17 And they say unto him, We have here but five loaves, and two fishes. 18 He said, Bring them hither to me. 19 And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass, and took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude. 20 And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full. 21 And they that had eaten were about five thousand men, beside women and children. 22 And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away.” Matthew 14:15-22
This is the account of Jesus feeding five thousand men (plus women and children) on a hillside in the wilderness from only five small loaves and two small fish. This large group of people found satisfaction for their physical hunger as they were flocking to this itinerate carpenter turned teacher/preacher who was turning Judea upside down. I find it very interesting to see the fickleness of people in the ministry of Jesus. People seemed to either hate Him or they lauded Him and believed in who He was, but He wasn’t always the “beloved” teacher that we try to make Him. He was often (almost always) stirring up people with His focus on who He was and Who had sent Him, as well as what He’d been sent to do—to purchase our salvation on the cross! Even His disciples didn’t understand the cross before His resurrection.
After this miracle, Jesus sent the people away, and His disciples across the Sea of Galilee as He adjourned Himself to spend time alone in prayer. Jesus walked where His Father directed on every turn, and spent time alone with Him; what better goal could we have, yet we must remember that a person that journeys close to Jesus will often (in fact almost always) be a road without a crowd. But when we walk with Jesus we NEVER walk alone (regardless of the lack of companions around us)—and I’d rather walk with Jesus alone, than follow the crowd of the world and NEVER know Jesus. Many were, and still are, “fair weather” friends, if you would. We often delude ourselves in thinking that Jesus was always beloved and sought after; that His truth was welcome, but scripture reveals that often His truth called for change, change that people weren’t willing to make then, or now. Most aren’t willing to give up self nor our selfish focus to trust ourselves to the only one who can give real “Life” both physical life and eternal life! We see this time and time again throughout the pages of the Word.
On what could be called Jesus’ most popular day of ministry, I believe we see that very fickleness of people—and it’s the same now as then! Jesus was lauded as Messiah on Sunday, and yet the same crowd who was shouting “Hosanna” on Sunday changed to a different chant just four days later:
“And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest. 10 And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this? 11 And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee.…………..15 And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the son of David; they were sore displeased,” Matthew 21:9-15
Here the crowds filling Jerusalem for the Passover were taken with this “prophet of Nazareth”, this “Son of David”, He that “cometh in the name of the Lord”; yet in four short days they were crying something completely different;
“Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified. 23 And the governor said, Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more, saying, Let him be crucified. 24 When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it. 25 Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children.” Matthew 27:22-25
“Then Pilate said unto them, Why, what evil hath he done? And they cried out the more exceedingly, Crucify him.” Mark 15:14
“But they cried, saying, Crucify him, crucify him.” Luke 23:12
Why this change of sentiment? Well the question is the answer—they only had “sentiment” toward Jesus. In our modern vernacular we laud, “if it feels good, do it” and the transverse of that is true as well, “if it doesn’t’ feel good, don’t bother”—and hence the majority preferred to join the “crowd”, the “mob” and crucify the Lord when they weren’t being personally accommodated. Sounds like America today! And just like that crowd that was filled with the “loaves and fishes”, many in our land are only looking for someone to “feed me” and I’ll follow you anywhere—but only as long as the “food” holds out! Are we followers of Jesus or simply “foodies” looking for a “free meal”—satisfaction for our physical needs, without regard for the more important spiritual and eternal issues that regard the truths of genuine salvation? As I’ve often said in the past, “saying so doesn’t make it so”, but only the new birth and a transformed life through the blood of Jesus Christ our Lord. Look at what went on after that miracle of the 5000 and the loaves and fishes.
“The day following, when the people which stood on the other side of the sea saw that there was none other boat there, save that one whereinto his disciples were entered, and that Jesus went not with his disciples into the boat, but that his disciples were gone away alone; 23 (Howbeit there came other boats from Tiberias nigh unto the place where they did eat bread, after that the Lord had given thanks:) 24 When the people therefore saw that Jesus was not there, neither his disciples, they also took shipping, and came to Capernaum, seeking for Jesus. 25 And when they had found him on the other side of the sea, they said unto him, Rabbi, when camest thou hither? 26 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. 27 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. 28 Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? 29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent. 30 They said therefore unto him, What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? what dost thou work? 31 Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat. 32 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. 34 Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread. 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. 36 But I said unto you,
That ye also have seen me, and believe not.
37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” John 6:22-37
We must come to Jesus in repentance and faith, believing that He IS the only way to the Father. And coming to Him is a life-changing experience—He gives new life to those who “come” to HIM!
“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” John 14:6
“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” John 1:12-13
Jesus wants us to understand that knowing Him involves a change of heart, which produces a change of life. Just claiming to belong to Jesus doesn’t make it so—but receiving and experiencing the “new birth” does.
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17
Just claiming the be a Christian isn’t enough, but having a life-transforming relationship with Jesus; knowing Him and the power of His resurrection.
“But what things were gain to me,
those I counted loss for Christ.
8 Yea doubtless,
and I count all things but loss
for the excellency
of the knowledge
of Christ Jesus my Lord:
for whom I have suffered the loss of all things,
and do count them but dung,
that I may win Christ,
9 And be found in him,
not having mine own righteousness,
which is of the law,
but that which is through the faith
the righteousness which is
of God by faith:
10 That I may know him,
and the power of his resurrection,
and the fellowship of his sufferings,
being made conformable unto his death;” Philippians 3:7-10
What a wonderful picture Paul paints of what it means to belong to Jesus. It means all else is but dung (refuse) in comparison to Jesus; it means that to KNOW Him is the greatest accomplishment of this life. It means that I am, and will be, “found in Him” by God’s grace, and faith in the forgiveness that Jesus offers to those who will come to Him; the redemption that He bought at Calvary with His own blood. What has Jesus done for you? Are you just a “foodie” looking to feel good for a time, or have you received the salvation that HE offers and gives to those who will come to Him in repentance and faith.
“Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: 13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: 14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:” Colossians 1:13-14
“Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.” Acts 5:31
Jesus came to forgive sinners because we are all sinners—and without His sacrifice we would all stay lost, and pay for our own sin and it’s penalty of death. And the thing our world needs to hear is that Jesus came to save the lost—not give them a “get out of jail free card” so they could live their own way, but that we might have life “IN HIM”, that abundant life that can overcome the penalty of sin, and the obstacles that confront us on every hand in life.
Are you just talking about Jesus, or are you walking with Him in “newness” of life. Have you received the power to overcome sin, death and hell, or are you just talking a talk about something and someone you don’t really possess? It is a question that only you can answer, but it is a question that we all need to consider and confirm in our own hearts and minds, because there have always been “imitation” followers—those that Jesus called “wolves in sheep’s clothing” (See Matthew 7:15). The key is to know if we are in Christ, or if we are just playing games with religion. God knows the truth about us, and we need to be sure that we know the truth about ourselves and our true relationship to Jesus.
“Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.” 2 Timothy 2:19
So I ask you to make sure today that you have taken care of business with God! Make sure you are following Jesus, not just hitting the buffet line!
“From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. 22 Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. 23 But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men. 24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. 25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. 26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” Matthew 16:21-26
There is only thing that anyone can do to deliver their soul from hell, and that is to believe in the atoning death of Jesus. To see your sin as sin, repent/turn away from it and turn in faith to Jesus death, burial and resurrection for your sin. Only one way, only one price will cover your sin and deliver you from the penalty of that sin, which is death. Won’t you choose life, Jesus has already done the work?
“For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21
“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23
The choice is yours! Foodie? Or follower? Oh that I would know Him more and reveal HIS glory to a lost and dying world in need of a Savior!
“That I may know him,
and the power of his resurrection,
and the fellowship of his sufferings,
being made conformable unto his death” Philippians 3:10
I can only know Him by faith—but I can know HIM!!! And so can YOU!
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen………..6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Hebrews 11:1 & 6
Knowing that God IS able to save and deliver us—He will never fail and I will follow Him. How about you? Do you want to know Him or just “taste test” at His table?
“Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: 18 Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. 19 The Lord God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places.” Habakkuk 3:17-19