Posted by: Joe Palmer | February 7, 2011

Are You a Fan or a Follower?

Are You A Fan or a Follower?

By  Joe Palmer


Well  SUPERBOWL XLV is history and congratulations to the Packers.  Now the question remains to all Christians are you FAN or a FOLLOWER of Jesus?

Do you know who this is?  This is Rollen Stewart also known as Rock ‘n’ Rollen. He became famous or some might say infamous in the 70’s and 80s for his crazy rainbow colored hair and his John 3:16 signs that he carried to prominent sporting events like the Superbowl and the Daytona 500.


Stewart at first was just seeking publicity but later he became a born again Christian.  But unfortunately he was really more of a fan than a follower because he ended up in jail over various charges including kidnapping.

Jesus in his life had both fans and followers.  Let’s look at one example

JESUS SAIDI am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.”” (John 6:48–51 NKJV)

These words don’t shock us.  If you are a Christian you probably understand them. If you aren’t then it is just because someone hasn’t shown you the whole picture of what Jesus was talking about.    The words however are easy to us because we are looking at them from this side of the cross.  But look at how they reacted.

THE REACTION OF THE JEWS “The Jews therefore quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this Man give us His flesh to eat?”” (John 6:52 NKJV)

JESUS WAS BOLD He didn’t back away in fact seeing their reaction he raised the conversation to a higher level.  His language became even more direct.

“Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me.This is the bread which came down from heaven—not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever.”” (John 6:53–58 NKJV)

While Jesus shocked them, notice he was offering them a blessing of living forever. You would think that they would have been interested.  But they were so shocked that they couldn’t see past that one point.

THE REACTION OF THE DISCIPLES “These things He said in the synagogue as He taught in Capernaum. Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this, said, “This is a hard saying; who can understand it?””  (John 6:59–60 NKJV)

Jesus was talking to those who knew the word of God. Yet they couldn’t understand what Jesus was talking about. They had no understanding of this.  Remember the only reason we understand it is because we are looking at it from the other side of the Cross.  Scripture has already explained to us what Jesus meant by eating his flesh and drinking his blood.

JESUS ANSWERS THE DISCIPLES “When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples complained about this, He said to them, “Does this offend you? What then if you should see the Son of Man ascend where He was before? It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who would betray Him. And He said, “Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father.”” (John 6:61–65 NKJV)

Jesus offers an explanation.

  1. The Son of Man is going to ascend.  You can’t eat flesh that doesn’t exist.  Jesus will soon be with the father so we see that he wasn’t speaking in a literal sense.
  2. It is the Spirit that gives life.  Our flesh is only alive as long as the spirit remains in it.  The flesh is the temporary home of the spirit.  Jesus said all life is really of the Spirit, which is from God.
  3. The flesh profits nothing. Again Jesus isn’t talking about real flesh.

Jesus does not that he has traitors and fans in the group. He knew Judas will betray him and that many other are only following because they want to see the show, receive the miracles, and enjoy the spectacle.  They aren’t followers, they are fans.

THE EXODUS “From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. Then Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also want to go away?”  But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”” (John 6:66–69 NKJV)

PEOPLE LEFT Remember by this time these people had seen many of the miracles of Jesus.  Jesus had said something that neither the scholars, nor his disciples could fully comprehend.  Did their lack of understanding nullify the miracles of Jesus?  Did it negate the proof of his messiahship.  Yet many stop following him. They forsook him because his teaching was beyond their comprehension.

Jesus wanted to know what the reaction of his own disciples would be. “Do you want to go away?” he asked.  Peter again spoke the words that were so appropriate.  “Lord, to whom shall we go you have the words of eternal life.”  Peter didn’t recognize the meaning of the teaching, but he did recognize the authority of the teacher.

Peter then made the same good confession that he is known for from Matthew 16.   “We have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

WHAT DO WE DO WHEN WE ARE FACED WITH UNEXPLAINABLE? As a Christian I am sometimes faced with scripture that I don’t know that I can fully comprehend. Sometimes I wonder what does this mean and what do I do?  It is then when my faith in Christ supersedes my faith in my ability to interpret scripture.  It is that decision to follow Jesus, to accept him as the messiah, to respect his authority as teacher even if I don’t grasp all the teaching that makes me a follower and not a fan.

Joe Palmer


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