John Chapter 6 begins with a great multitude (v. 2), and ends with 11 people (v. 70). If you want to know how to improve the quality of your church and reduce its size, you can learn from Jesus in this chapter. Of course, most preachers and pastors would not be interested in that, because they are always interested in increasing their numbers. Jesus was a great Master at improving quality and decreasing quantity.God reduced Gideon’s army by 99% from 33,000 to 300, before Gideon could have God’s presence with him that assured him of victory. God has always accomplished His purposes with a chosen few. Here we see how Jesus did it. He preached being crucified with Him (= eat My flesh and drink My blood – v. 56). This offended most people in this great multitude and most of His disciples left Him saying, “This is a difficult statement” (v. 60, 66). And Jesus never asked any of them to stay.Jesus even turned to the 12 who were left and asked them if they also wanted to go. Jesus’ attitude was, “If anyone is offended with the message of the cross and wants to leave Me, he can go. I won’t stop him. But I am not going to lower the qualifications for discipleship to suit anyone’s tastes.”What powerful churches we would have had on earth if every preacher had that attitude. Today, preachers invite people to come to Jesus to be blessed financially and to be healed physically. Who will not want to come to a “Jesus” who offers you such things? But that is “another Jesus”. Many believers who don’t preach prosperity still believe that that is the mark of God’s blessing on them. This is a deception. Look at the multitudes of crooked businessmen of every religion who are making money and imagining that God has blessed them!There is only one mark of God’s blessing – that you are becoming more and more like Christ. The real Jesus invites us to “Come and die.” Not many are attracted to such a message. That is not surprising, because Jesus said that only few will find the way to life (Matthew 7:14). But those few will build the church. They may face a lot of suffering and misunderstanding and tribulation on earth, as Jesus said (John 16:33). But they will do a work for God on earth that lasts for all eternity.
_________________SI Moderator - Greg Gordon