The Gospel of John contains an amazing and frequently overlooked hardly ever discussed section worth thinking about. It’s John 6:26ff and it tells the tale of Jesus’ rather direct confrontation with the seekers after personal benefit.
Jesus had just fed the multitude. When the hungry (again) mob can’t find him, they seek him out and the first words out of his mouth are
“I tell you the truth, you are looking for me, not because you saw miraculous signs but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.”
They only had interest in him because he fed them. And that was where their interest stops, as the denoument of the encounter makes crystal clear: they have no intention of doing the will of the Father.
Like their ancient counterparts, today’s ‘Jesus Users’ can be found wherever something is being given away, whether it be gas cards or clothing or food or whatever they can get their hands on. They have no interest whatsoever in following the Master as disciples, they’re only in it ‘for themselves’.
Pandering to the Jesus Users never results in the desired effect. ‘Seeker Sensitive’ churches and well meaning Christians haven’t appreciated the encounter with Jesus recorded in John or they would have noticed that Jesus does not in fact feed them again- he offers them himself. And him, they reject because his words are harsh and his tone demanding.
Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him.
Or, fully participate in me or don’t participate at all.
On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?” Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you?
Apparently it did.
From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.
But what of that little minority, the 12?
You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve. Simon Peter answered him, “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.”
So the mob is whittled down from the thousands fed to a paltry 12. And one of them is a devil!
What are we to observe in all this? That following Jesus is a minority sport. Big mobs follow only when they sense something in it for them. The little minority with the devil in their midst, they follow no matter what.
Jesus Users- they are part of the mob that turns away. Once the gas cards run out or the clothes closet is empty or the food pantry is exhausted, off they will be to greener pastures, there to die in their sins.