Lent comes to an end… and I must find the way to HIM

John 6 may be my most favorite chapter. From v. 22 on, I find a pull in my spirit every time I read this passage. The words of Jesus draw me deeper every time.

He is dealing with a crowd and finds a way to thin them out. Jesus wanted committed followers, not crowds.

To find out who was “in” and who was just hungry for a meal, he talked about the bread of life and then draws it in close: “I am the bread of life.” And then closer: “You must eat my flesh and drink my blood.”

Jesus would often separate the crowd from followers by bold statements. He knew those who wanted to truly follow would hang on through the bold statements and find a way to keep looking at what Jesus said. The crowd wouldn’t have that patience.

“Eat his flesh? WHAT? Oh… look at the time! Gotta go!”

We too often let the harshness of words offend us. We still find ways to soft pedal Jesus’ words, even in this passage. We find ways to soft pedal what truly happened in the crucifixion. We even find ways to soft pedal the FACT of the resurrection. I’ve read around this time of year in the past essays from “theologians” who say they don’t get bogged down on the resurrection. They can believe in Jesus without the resurrection.

No. You. Can’t.

The crucifixion and the resurrection are essentials. This is the crux of why he came. To not understand and soft pedal through these events is to miss what the Kingdom of God was doing all along.

Here is the invitation: Jesus will say some brash things that are hard to understand. HOLD ON. If you do, you will find LIFE. Jesus is just trying to thin out the crowd. Don’t be the crowd. Be the follower. In HIM is life.

In fact, the crowd was gone by the end of this chapter and Jesus looks at his disciples and asks, “Well, guys? What about you?”

And here is what they knew: “Where else can we go? You alone have the words of life.”

It was enough. Jesus was enough. They followed.

And what life they found.

Lent comes to an end and we enter Holy Week. This Lent began for me in the Holy Land. I haven’t had much opportunity to dwell on what I’m “giving up” in the way of food or drink or TV or whatever. But here is where the Spirit led me this Lent… and I am not so spiritual that I am actually THERE in this invitation.

The Spirit has given me what to give up: ME.

Full surrender. The invitation is to be truly ALL IN.

It’s too late for negotiations. (“How about I give up caffeine for Lent?”)

I am simply at a place and age in my life where this is the most meaningful offering to be given. This “Last Third Living can be deeply meaningful when I am fully surrendered.

This is the way. I am invited to walk in it.

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