There have been a few seasons of my life where it became clear: if Jesus isn’t who He says he is, then I am to be pitied among all the world, as Paul said to the Corinthians. In other words, I’m wasting my life, wasting this pain, hardship, struggle, loss. The kind of moment where I imagine myself at the end of my life and wondered: would it all be for nothing? Will I wish I would’ve played it safer, not risked relationships, not forgone treasured time and resources?
In John 6, Jesus was getting super famous. He has a ton of followers. People liked him, adored him, thought they’d follow him anywhere.
Then things got weird.
A lot of what Jesus said was a bit of a mystery, but this seemed to cross a line many weren’t willing to cross over. He challenged why they followed him (to fill their bellies, see miracles?) and raised the stakes of who He was/where He was going (from heaven, back to heaven). He was not here simply to provide free bread and entertainment. He offered the bread of life to those willing to partake.
Many weren’t. And honestly? I get it. Truly following Jesus (beyond the free food and entertainment) is weird and uncomfortable and painful at times.
What about the 12? Would they get discouraged after seeing Jesus fall in popularity? These crowds just “cancelled” Jesus: what would they do?
The only thing they could. Yes, following Jesus was difficult, confusing, dangerous at times, unpopular. But deep down, they knew who He was: the Holy One of God. His words and actions may be mystifying, his followers may be treacherous, his path my feel lonely and dark at times.
But where else could they even go?
No one compares to him. Nothing compares to him.
Once you have tasted and seen just how good God is (Psalm 34), you’d rather be a gatekeeper in his house, than live the good life anywhere else (Psalm 84).
If following Jesus makes other people wonder whether you might be a bit crazy — giving up your comfort, your wealth, your chances, your popularity or reputation — there’s a good chance you’re doing it right.
Nothing, truly nothing, compares to the joy of knowing Jesus. And we often get to know Jesus best in the most confusing, upside down kind of places — down the roads of suffering or isolation or the irrational, after many have already turned back.
It’s not for nothing friends.
It’s for everything! Jesus is everything.
Come: eat and drink. He’s prepared the meal for you, saved you a spot. You’ll never find another table like this one. Eat, drink and be satisfied.