Let us pray: Dear Savior, keep us strong in our faith and humble in our outlook on life. Empower us to get beyond keeping score of supposed points we earn with You and instead focus our attention on the points that You have earned for us! For only then will we truly be winners and not losers. Amen
GRACE MERCY AND PEACE ARE YOURS FROM CHRIST, THE ONLY SAVIOR THERE IS!
TEXT: John 6: 60-69
Fellow Redeemed Sinners:
Think back to your confirmation day. Remember how excited you were? Remember your classmates? Did you take it seriously when the Pastor asked you if you planned on remaining faithful to Christ and even face death rather than renounce Him? Do you remember your answer?
Do people break their confirmation vows? Yes. In fact, at times all of us have. Our weak flesh either actively took His blessings for granted as our attendance at church became more occasional; or we passively said nothing when others mocked our Lord. Either way, our faithfulness wasn’t very faithful.
It may seem rather redundant to lay this lesson before you on a Sunday School Rally Day. After all, you’re here to worship your King and feed your faith on His soul food. Nonetheless, Christ’s question addressed to those who wanted to follow Him and just couldn’t, should ring in your ears:
WILL YOU ALSO GO AWAY?
Jesus had just finished feeding the 5000+. That miracle got everyone’s attention. And those new followers, along with some older ones, began to quiz Him about who He was and what He was all about. Jesus told them. “I am the Bread of life…He who feeds on Me will live forever….No one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him.”
Confirmation is a lot like military boot camp in that it is designed to break down our pride and sense of self-achievement and replace it with a reliance on Christ’s achievement. That truth offended many erstwhile followers in our lesson. They wanted Jesus’ blessings and help on their terms instead of being willing to accept it on His terms. In that their trust wasn’t really in Him, it was in themselves. For true faith is total reliance on Christ, alone.
Will you also go away? That is a question that confronts every believer. It can and should confront us daily. For the temptations to walk away confront us daily, don’t they? I’ll bet there are people at work who cut corners, lie, cheat, and even bribe their way to a “better” job. Our flesh says: “Why not join them? It works!” But Jesus says: “Will you also go away?” When you use people for personal gain, when you listen and/or repeat gossip, when you boast about self-accomplishment and then get angry with God when He chastens you toward humility, the question remains: “Will you also go away?”
This lesson always reminds me of my confirmation class. Today about half of those 13 fresh-faced “kids” actually have walked away from their Savior. His narrow way to heaven and to a full, rich life under His grace was too hard for them. Like the people in our lesson, they wanted to hold on to their sins and their pride, while at the same time reaping His blessing—and it just wasn’t possible. They were forced to chose between living life God’s way, or going with the flow of the world toward self-destruction. His “hard sayings” about repentance, humility, self-sacrifice, along with genuine surrender of our hearts to God and then trusting in Him to make it all better and get us through all those rough patches in life—well, as the people of our text said: “Who can accept it?” So, they walked away. They walked away because it seemed to be the path of least resistance at that time.
So, Jesus now turns to the twelve and asks His fateful question: “Will you also go away?” How it must have pained Him to ask it!? And yet, from the ashes of rejection by the many came an emotional mountaintop! Peter answers for them all: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God!”
Yes, Jesus is the Messiah. He is the Son of God, born to shoulder our sins and sorrows, born to take our pain, born to live our deaths. In Him sacrificial love is made complete. For in Him our souls are made whole, right, pure, and holy before God. Yes, Jesus truly is the bread of life. I agree that it may be a hard saying to confess that only in Him is real love to be found; that in Him alone, lostness becomes foundness. Yet, as Peter points out: apart from Jesus there is no other place to go to receive comfort, eternal comfort, for your hurting soul. So don’t be foolish and walk away! Amen