NO POPULARITY POLL
“’You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.” John 5:39,40 (NIV).
There is in this passage an indictment against much of popular ‘gospel’ preaching today. Jesus made it clear that He did not come to be popular. He is not interested in collecting many people who will take sides with Him. He came to reconnect people with His Father in a relationship of unity, submission, and trust so that He can make them whole again.
Although John the Baptist’s witness was powerful and spectacular, Jesus said that there was much more convincing evidence of who He was and why He came – His works of compassion and mercy which pointed to the Father from where He came, and who He was, the Son of God. The religious leaders rejected Him because they could not see beyond their own petty laws.
If His enemies were honest about wanting to live God’s way and if they were really listening to Him and thinking about what He said, they would have realised that He was not a fake like they said He was, but really the Son of God. But they so wanted to be right that ignored the facts and chose to believe their own lies which cut them off from ever experiencing God’s life.
They were so busy using the Torah – the Law of God – to prove that they were right that they could not find what they were looking for. They were looking for the Messiah in the Torah, but He was standing right in front of them, and they missed Him. His words, His works, His way of living all pointed to a match between Himself and the Scriptures but they couldn’t see it because they hated Him and lost out on the promise of life.
How can we apply this to ourselves? We are constantly faced with a choice – life or death, but we also must look at the evidence. Whose words will we believe – the words the world keeps telling us, such as, do whatever you like – there are no consequences; you can ignore God; He won’t do anything to you? If we listen to these words, God’s word seems out of place in our lives.
If we choose to listen to God’s words, God’s power steps into our lives and works for us to bring about His will in our lives. Even the bad things that happen are turned to our good when we decide to trust and obey Him rather than what the people in the world are telling us.
Jesus is not interested in gathering followers just to have numbers. He is careful to tell us that being His disciple will cost us something. Not everyone is pleased when we choose to follow Jesus and live His way. We may not be rewarded now but there is a great reward in the life to come – eternal life with God.