Direct Talk from Jesus

After feeding the 5,000 Jesus encountered hardness of heart among those who were following him.  John 6 illustrates this rightly.  Jesus then proceeds to stiff-arm the entire bunch to the end that they all went away.  The disciples observed this interaction.  Jesus then quizzes them on his identity.  Who do people say that I am, who do you say that I am?
They answer very clearly that Jesus is the Messiah of God.  This was an amazing insight.  The Father revealed it to them.  Although not stated, anytime someone actually identifies Jesus as the Messiah, implications are sure to follow.
Jesus charges them to not say anything to others about this revelation.  Why?  This kind of spiritual truth cannot be managed by carnal people.  They would seek to make him a king and call on him to defeat the Romans.  He was not about to entrust the crowds with this insight.  His road was death, burial, resurrection.
Continuing the onslaught of revelation Jesus then tells them he has to die.  Luke just mentions it here and goes on with the story.  What we do know is that NONE of them believed him.  They do what we do when we hear something that doesn’t make sense.  They ignored it.  They had no categories for it, they didn’t see it happening, so they literally compartmentalized this.  Difficult words from Jesus… how do you receive them or do you?
Jesus then delivers one of the strongest stiff-arms of his ministry to his disciples and to the ones following him.  So you want to follow me?  Here are the terms:  give up your ‘dreams’, become a ‘dead man walking’, and then follow me.  He gives three principles to support this radical kind of life.  One, if you try to do it your way you will lose everything anyway.  Two, the soul is more valuable then all the world’s resources.  Three, I’ll be ashamed of you at the judgment.
Is there any other way?  No!  These are the terms, take them or leave them.  Be it known however, that a decision to the negative is a decision to one’s own hurt.  A decision to the positive is the most liberating decision you will ever make.
These words can simply not be received with reservation.  He calls on us to give up everything.  It is or it isn’t.  There is no half way.  Believer, do not absolve yourself of this.  We do this “daily” so to think, “I already did that” is to think wrongly.  He wants this every day.  Die to self.  Renounce yourself.  Regard Jesus as worthy and the opinions of others as unworthy.  Harden yourself and be dead for him.  In the end you will receive from him life eternal.
This message comes from Luke 9:18-27.  Want to listen? Here’s the online sermon archive.
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