Will you also go away?
Will you also go away? (John 6:67)
Many of today's churches seem only interested in attracting large crowds, following the latest trends and promotions just to get people within their doors. A good-hearted individual boasting to me about his church said, "We have rock music in our services. We have a coffee shop with donuts right outside the sanctuary. You can come dressed as you are - we are very casual. We are like a church you've never seen before!"
I found that last statement especially interesting, for it seems that many new churches and older established congregations are all turning to that same formula. These churches "like you've never seen before" are nearly on every corner. Sadly, never once did he boast about the presence of the Holy Spirit in their services and how Christ is lifted up, if at all.
Jesus, on the other hand, sought to thin out the crowd and remove those who weren't interested in true discipleship. While He desires that all come to repentance, He also knows that the way is narrow and few there will be that will find it. It's better to be hot or cold than lukewarm, our Savior warns.
When many of Jesus's followers became offended and turned and walked away, He did not run after them and beg them to reconsider. He did not offer any incentive for them to come back. Jesus never apologized, and He had no Plan B. He simply turned to the twelve and asked, "Will you also go away?"
The Gospel of Jesus is simple, but it isn't easy. It's offensive and divisive, and weeds out the sheep from the goats. If you believe an easy gospel, then it isn't the one Jesus preached. To Jesus's inquiry Peter responded, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that You are that Christ, the Son of the living God."
When the trial gets too difficult, when the wait seems too long, when the way get too narrow and lonely, when the words get too hard, will you also go away? What is your response?