Summary: Churches put a lot of emphasis on drawing a crowd. Jesus did not. Link inc. to formatted text, audio, PowerPoint.
The Day Jesus Lost His Crowd
Churches put a lot of emphasis on drawing a crowd. Jesus did not.
I’ve never known a preacher whose church was in decline who wasn’t insecure about it, no matter the reason for it. Usually a pastor blames himself for it, and sometimes he is to blame.
Jesus had His big attendance days, but His overall trend was advancement through decline - and in today’s text we see one of several times when Jesus lost His crowd.
v. 66 Let’s read together John six six six!
What a change has occurred since the beginning of this chapter, where we see a great crowd walking toward Jesus...now they are walking away. Jesus was surrounded by a huge throng and not long after He has only His 12 disciples...and He knows one of them is a devil!
Oh how fickle people can be. Oh how shallow many people’s commitment is.
Notice the progression:
v. 15 They want to make Him a king.
v. 41 murmur = undercurrent of criticism. They are talking bad about Him behind His back.
v. 52 strove = all out verbal warfare
by v. 66 they have left the building.
This all happens within a few hours’ time.
It’s one thing to follow the Lord in exciting times when crowds are filing in and it doesn’t cost you anything, but it is another thing entirely to follow Jesus when it demands a sacrifice. That’s when you find out what your faith really consists of in depth and reality.
One of the difficulties of full time ministry is watching once faithful people turn away and follow God no more.
For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world...
He was Paul’s right hand man, and walked away from it all. The pull of the world is strong, but when our faith is tested it is pass or fail.
"A faith that fizzles before the finish was faulty from the first."
They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.
1. Those who fought.
v. 41 These Jews fought against Jesus’ direction. They get their murmuring honestly from their ancestors who could always find the negative in any situation.
Some people are humbly grateful...others are just grumbly hateful!
What do you do with those who can only brighten a room by leaving it? Maybe what one lady did in response to her husband’s griping:
He didn’t like the casserole
And he didn’t like my cake.
My biscuits were too hard...
Not like his mother used to make.
I didn’t perk the coffee right
He didn’t like the stew,
I didn’t mend his socks
The way his mother used to do.
I pondered for an answer
I was looking for a clue.
So I turned around and smacked him...
Like his Mother used to do.
Why are they complaining in our text? Because Jesus said He was the bread from heaven.
v. 42 "Who does he think he is?"
But who is really the father? God! Jesus is the only baby ever born who was older than His mother and the same age as His Father!
2,000 years later this is still the big question on the planet. Who is Jesus Christ? A good man or the God man? A prophet, a teacher, or the bread sent down from heaven like manna?
This is a pivotal question - it will determine how your life goes - what your priorities and values are - and it will determine where you will spend eternity!
This is a paramount question - no more important question to answer than this, and giving no answer is giving an answer of no.
This is a perennial question - it isn’t going away, it will hound you until the day you die, and then it will finally be answered on the day when every knee bows and every tongue confesses Christ as Lord!
Who is Jesus Christ? They didn’t believe His claims, and so they fought with Him.
v. 47-52 No longer are they talking behind His back...they are now criticizing to His face. They are now challenging Him publicly.
Jesus introduces a brand new word: ’flesh’ at the end of v. 51. He will use this word 6 more times before this dialogue is ended. This is Jesus’ announcement of Calvary.
In 3:16 He said I will die for the world.
In chapter 10 He said I will lay down my life for my sheep.
In chapter 11 He said I will die for the nations.