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.
Application: Perhaps, you have heard about a book that was written in 2003 by author Dan Brown, The Da Vinci Code. I believe this book will prey on the disillusioned. God and Christ have not fulfilled my expectations. I’m hurt. God has let me down. Why not consider a story that brings God down to where He belongs? Walking away disillusioned is easy to do. Maybe you thought your new job would be better than the last one. Maybe you thought Christians didn’t have financial problems. Maybe you thought nobody would ever take advantage of you or abuse you. Maybe you thought college would give you a fresh start, but you still have the same problems. Maybe you thought God would bring you a spouse if you obeyed him. And maybe He did, but the spouse you got has been a nightmare. Maybe you thought you would have children, but the bedrooms of your home are quiet. Maybe you thought cancer was something that happened to other people. Maybe you thought your children would walk closely with Jesus if you attended a good church, but they don’t even believe in Him. Maybe you thought the prestige of a good career would be worth the early sacrifices, but now you the shallowness of it all. You thought you had a deal with God. But God has not necessarily promised those things any more than my seminary professor promised a big cannon to his 5 year old. Does this make you want to walk away? 6:67 So Jesus said to the twelve, “You don’t want to go away too, do you?” Peter and the others undoubtedly had some unfulfilled expectations with Jesus, but here’s where they were different. They never walked away. You may not understand many things about Jesus, what He said, why things have happened the way they have in your life, but if you will hang around and not walk out, you’ll get a resurrection! I have seen enough of Jesus to know that I have no other worthy alternatives. He tells me the truth. I have nowhere else to go.