Drawing a Crowd
Pastor Steve Ellison
It seems that everywhere I look these days, people are famous simply for being famous. I know that doesn’t make much sense; it doesn’t to me anyway. These people are famous without having accomplished anything at all. Entertainers and athletes seem to be far more interested in drawing attention to self than in actually perfecting their craft. Television ratings, Twitter followers, Facebook likes, etc. seem to be the most important things. I realize that these are all tied to advertising dollars. This is just my personal opinion and I realize that it counts for very little but the constant attempts to draw attention grow very tiresome to me. The constant clamor of “look at me” is nauseating.
Jesus also had a problem with drawing crowds. He couldn’t keep from drawing crowds. They hounded Him so much that He couldn’t get a moment of rest. That was a problem but that wasn’t the main problem. The real issue was that He knew that people were flocking to Him for the wrong reasons. They came because He was famous. As He fed the multitudes, healed the lame, exorcised demons, restored sight to the blind, walked on water, etc., the crowds grew larger and larger. The issue for Jesus was that they were following Him for wrong reasons. They simply wanted to be present when something exciting happened or they wanted material blessings. John 6:15 records the climax to this scene, “So Jesus, perceiving that they were intending to come and take Him by force to make Him king, withdrew again to the mountain by Himself alone.” NASU This group misunderstood His mission so Jesus wanted to get rid of them and get rid of them He would.
Jesus began to weed out those who were there for the wrong reasons. He whittled the crowd down by delivering some difficult truth about Himself. He taught them that He was very closely connected to the Father and that the Old Testament manna was only a picture of Him. Jesus was the true bread from out of heaven. Jesus taught them some hard to understand symbolism about eating His flesh and drinking His blood. John 6:66 records that His strategy was successful, “As a result of this many of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore.” NASU Disciples in this verse is not referring to the Twelve but rather to the crowds who were following Him. Jesus was setting up an examination for the Twelve. John 6:67, So Jesus said to the twelve, “You do not want to go away also, do you?" That is a sad question but the answer is marvelous. John 6:68 reveals that the disciples passed the examination, Simon Peter answered Him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life. "We have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God." NASU
Following Jesus because He is famous is of no use. It does no good to follow Jesus because you think material blessing will come. It does no good to follow Jesus because you like to see your friends at church. It does no good to follow Jesus because you think it will make you more popular. It does no good to follow Jesus because it makes you feel good to go to church or you think you might see something exciting at church. Peter gave the correct response. You must follow Jesus because you realize that no one else has the words of eternal life. You must trust Him that He is the Holy One of God, sent to save you from your sins. ..……..…..firstname.lastname@example.org