Whose Words Are You Choosing?

Posted on October 25, 2011 by

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This Fall, our area Leadership team has been discussing how Jesus transforms lives.  There are a series of episodes in John Chapter 6 that reveal the power of words in general, and the the power of the Words of Christ in particular.

The narrative starts when the disciples return from preaching and healing in the local towns.  As they celebrate, Jesus pulls them back to Bethsaida so they can spend some time together (Luke 9: 10).  People discover Jesus’ location and an enormous crowd shows up and experiences healing, encouragement, and eventually, an incredible meal.  After a long day and the feeding of over 5,000 people, Jesus sends the disciples on ahead so he can spend some time alone.  Later that night, he comes out to them walking on the water and the disciples’ faith grows even more.

By morning, the crowd learns of Jesus’ escape and tracks him down on the other side of the lake where he delivers a powerful message (John 6:25-59).  Jesus tells them that he is the Bread of Life and that he desires to be intimate with them; to literally be the source of their life.  Jesus challenges them to go deeper with him and not just live for the blessings of being around him (v26-27).  The message is rejected by the crowd and we’re told that “many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him” (v66); a huge hit in terms of numbers and momentum.

This is a defining moment in the story .  The crowd has rejected Jesus..  Will the twelve disciples follow the crowd or stay by Jesus’ side?  Will Jesus change his own message to be more popular and keep in step with what people would accept?

We should let this moment challenge us as well.  Do we only want the blessings of Jesus, but not  Jesus himself?  At this crucial moment, Jesus turns to the disciples and asks a risky question:  “You do not want to leave too, do you?” (v67)

Peter’s answer says it all.  “Lord, to whom shall we go?  You have the words of eternal life.”

You have the words of eternal life.”

As Young Life leaders, we are, in some ways similar to the disciples.  Some of us have left our homes.  We go out into the world to proclaim Christ.  We spend time with people.  We sacrifice our own money, our limited energy and time – all so that people (teenagers, in our context) can meet Christ and make up their own mind about Him.

This series of events in John 6 challenges all of us in all the “good” activity of our ministry.  In our ministries, could we ever hope for a more fruitful 24-48 hours than Jesus experiences in John 6?  His disciples return from fruitful ministry,  He preaches to thousands performs miracles, and walks on the water.  But after all of this,  the crowds reject Jesus and his Word.

In the moment of rejection, Jesus turns to His closest friends and says, “how about you guys?”  Peter’s answer is clear – Jesus has the words of eternal life.  As we search for the transforming power of Jesus, one thing is becoming clear:  simply showing up in kids’ lives isn’t enough.  Simply caring or having empathy isn’t going to change anyone.  The power doesn’t reside with us.  The power is in the Words of Christ.

As you sit to prepare your heart to be with people, to lead people – consider whose words you will speak.  Are they yours or His?  Are you sharing the words of Christ and leaving the results to Him, or shaping your words so people will like what they hear?  Are your talks, messages, and conversations dominated by His Words and wisdom or just yours?

Whose words are you choosing to share?  Yours or His?

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