Summary: Christ is Christianity. Philip Yancey writes: "Why am I a Christian? I sometimes ask myself, and to be perfectly honest the reasons reduce to two: 1) the lack of good alternatives, and 2) Jesus. Brilliant, untamed, tender, creative, slippery, irreduci
Opening Statement: Christ is Christianity. Philip Yancey writes: "Why am I a Christian? I sometimes ask myself, and to be perfectly honest the reasons reduce to two: 1) the lack of good alternatives, and 2) Jesus. Brilliant, untamed, tender, creative, slippery, irreducible, paradoxically humble (Yancey, The Jesus I Never Knew, 265)." If you are a spiritual seeker, on a search for true life purpose, looking to fit into a story large enough for you to live in, you must not quickly dismiss Jesus. Think about these two reasons cited by Yancey before you do. There are no good alternatives out there. Jesus is unsurpassed. This is important in light of current events.
Transition: The Apostle John wrote in John 6 these words…
Recitation: John 6:66 After this many of his disciples quit following him and did not accompany him any longer. 6:67 So Jesus said to the twelve, “You don’t want to go away too, do you?” 6:68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom will we go? You have the words of eternal life. 6:69 We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God!”
Exposition: These same reasons given by Yancey are mirrored by Peter, the Apostle: 1) the lack of good alternatives, and 2) Jesus. Jesus had just finished feeding the 5,000 - plus multitude with 5 loaves and 2 fish. The following day, the disciples and Jesus were on the other side of the Sea of Galilee. The multitude found him and basically said, "Let’s have another potluck. That was fun yesterday. Do it again. Man, this beats working for our bread any day." It sounds a lot like life. Everybody wants the great food, but nobody wants to cook it. Realizing their motives for following Him were less than noble, Jesus uttered some very hard sayings like "Eat my flesh. Drink my blood." As a result, many of his followers didn’t hang around for a fuller explanation. At the first shadow of the cross, they left him and a mass defection takes place. The stock in Jesus’ ministry plummeted and the earlier popularity that Jesus enjoyed collapsed. Jesus did not measure up to their expectations.
Illustration: My former seminary professor in Dallas, TX shares a story about how for several months his then five-year old son Ben had been asking “When are we going to the Grand Canyon?” When they finally made it there, they asked Ben how it measured up to his expectations. With a little frown, he said, “I though you said it was a big cannon.” What little boy wouldn’t want to see a canon that was described by his parents as bigger than downtown Dallas! That’s what happened with many of Jesus’ followers. While we can’t be absolutely sure of all that they expected, we know they wanted more than what they got. They wanted the miracles and the kingdom but no discipleship (Bob Pyne, Kindred Spirit).
Explanation: This whole desertion thing prompted a private exchange between Jesus and the 12, and Peter the spokesman of the group makes his great confession. We get insight into the level of Peter’s discipleship when we note the manner in which he addressed Jesus, and then, what he went on to confess about Jesus as being the Holy One of God. Peter knew that nothing else could satisfy him like Christ had satisfied Him. He had grasped the importance of having Jesus at the center of his life. He learned to surrender his agenda and his expectations to Christ, instead of walking away with all the others in disillusionment. You have to do the same.