Following Jesus with Selfish Motives

March 1, 2010 at 3:37 pm | Posted in Devotional thoughts, False teaching | 1 Comment

            Many people are Jesus’ followers because of what they might get out of it.  I complain about the “prosperity preachers,” and the false gospel they teach, but it is no wonder they can have such huge followings: simply put, people like the prosperity gospel; it is what itching ears want to hear.  Of course, there have been people hanging around Jesus with self-centered motives since the very beginning.  These two chapters (John 6-7) cite three examples:  First, Jesus’ brothers, the sons of Joseph and Mary who grew up with Jesus, did not believe in him, so they challenged him to be more public about what they’d heard he could do.  “Jesus’ brothers said to him, ‘You ought to leave here and go to Judea, so that your disciples may see the miracles you do.  No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret.  Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world.’”  (7:3-4)  Their words could be understood to say, “Why don’t you do one of those reported miracles for us to see?”  The reason they said this is given in the next verse: “Even his own brothers did not believe in him.”  Second, some of those whom Jesus fed with the loaves and fish wanted to make him king by force, they were following him only “because they ate the loaves and had their fill.” (6:26)  In other words, they wanted another free meal.  Jesus told them to work for another kind of meal, the kind that “endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.” (6:27)  It’s not about what’s in it for you, Jesus would tell them, it’s about who I am.  Finally, in the end of chapter 7, the Pharisees, who couldn’t deny what Jesus had done, were threatened by him; they were self-centeredly thinking they could lose their special positions of authority or prestige.  Jesus said to them, “I did one miracle and you’re all astonished” (v.21), yet they had to argue over whether the timing of that miracle was proper!  They wanted to assert that, in spite of the fact they couldn’t do the things Jesus did, they were still in charge.  They sent the temple guards to arrest him (32), and they reminded people of their authority and wisdom (48) – all reactions to Jesus possibly having a better following than they had.  All self-centered things.

            The people in all three of these examples didn’t want to hear the real cost of following Jesus or know who he really was.  They couldn’t give up their self-centered motives, and the truth conflicted with those motives.  May I always teach a Christianity that is Christ-centered and God-exalting, not one that is me-centered and self-exalting!

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  1. Excellent post. I used to get fed up with their nonsense so I wrote a book called, A Shepherd’s Trial: Feeding or Fleecing the Flock of God?

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