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The Gathering Storm
Scripture: Matthew 10:34-36; John 6:1-6, 26-58, 70;...
Track 6 of 13 in the Almighty God...Jesus series
Running time: 1 hour, 01 minute
Jesus is unlike all the heroes who came before him and after him. There were still the questions from his disciples on the day after he was crucified, Where did it all go wrong, but his situation was so much different than all the other heroes. His fall from the pedestal was planned.

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Mike Nobis Speaker: Mike Nobis
Sunday School Teacher, Former Elder at Madison Park Christian Church. Mike is President of JK Creative Printers & Mailing in Quincy, IL. He is married to Pam and has three children, Tom, Tyler and Jennifer. Mike has three grandchildren: Ryne, Ivy and Alicia.

View all sermons by this speaker.

The Gathering Storm

It is sad when heroes fall from their high pedestals. We have to first realize that we the people put our heroes up there. We place mortal, fallible people up in high places and in many cases worship them and the ground they walk on. Tiger Woods for example went a long time as being the king of all heroes. He is a phenomenal golfer. Because of his skills on the golf course, many people saw more in him than was actually there. It was a crushing blow for the world when it discovered that Tiger was no better, no greater than most of us and in most cases, far from the ideals we hold to be honorable and virtuous. We forgot he was a mere man in many aspects of life. He wasn’t a god, he was just a man named Tiger Woods.

What causes people to create hero figures? How does a mere man like Tiger become a huge hero figure to many people and too many many children?

The one question that usually comes up when a hero falls is, “Where did it all go wrong”? For most heroes like Tiger, we can likely trace the unraveling of the god like stature to one particular day or event that started the crash of a mighty hero. We can point to many heroes of our day and see the one defining moment that changed everything for them. The same is true with our Bible heroes.

Name for me some Bible heroes who were special but feel from the pedestal they stood on. Was there a defining moment that started their crash from the top?

Jesus life was very interesting. He too became a rock star in his day. His ability to teach the truth in such a way that captivated people, his miracles, his compassion for those who were low in life, his courage to attack the religious system without fear and his ability to put them in their place all vaulted him very high with those who followed him. Many saw him as someone they could use to advance their agenda.

Jesus is unlike all the heroes who came before him and after him. There were still the questions from his disciples on the day after he was crucified, “Where did it all go wrong”, but his situation was so much different than all the other heroes. His fall from the pedestal was planned. His fall wasn’t a massive failure; his path to the cross was the successful unfolding of a plan set into motion many centuries before he arrived. His plan was already established before the beginning of time.

So what was Jesus defining moment in history? What changed everything for him from being a hero to the masses to someone who hadn’t lived up to all the hype and status heaped upon him by his loving fans?

Things really changed when Jesus intentionally began to winnow the multitudes of his followers. The day most likely was a particular day in Capernaum. Jesus early in his ministry made it clear that he was not interested in collecting fans. He wasn’t interested in fulfilling the agenda of others. In fact, he wasn’t at all interested in bringing peace to the world like many Jews had hoped the Messiah would bring when he tossed out the Romans from Palestine.

Matthew 10:34-36 “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn “‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law— a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’

What do you think Jesus meant by that statement? What is the sword found in this passage? The sword is the truth and those who hold the truth will be hunted down by evil.

After feeding the 5,000, Jesus and his disciples decided to go back to Capernaum. The people who followed him figured that is where Jesus slipped off to. The frantically went looking for him and found Jesus teaching in the synagogue. They confronted him and were angry that he deliberately eluded them.

What is it about our expectations we put on our heroes? What do we expect from them when if concerns our lives? They are really to be our slaves. They are only popular with us as long as we get from them all that we desire for them to give us. Everyone has different expectations and it is impossible for a human to meet all expectations.

True or False: A public figure, especially a public hero or celebrity should never expect to own their own time or life as long as they live off of the fame given to them from their fans.

Jesus, after hearing their objection to how they thought Jesus treated them, responded with this indictment:

John 6:26-27 Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, you are looking for me, not because you saw miraculous signs but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.”

This rebuke by Jesus echoed that same message once spoken by Moses when he reminded them why they wandered in the wilderness for 40 years.

Deut. 8:2-3 Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.

In the wilderness, Israel struggled with a choice between feeding their bellies and nourishing their souls. God provided manna that fell to the ground at night to sustain the Jews as they wandered in the wilderness. He did this to teach them to value His Word more than physical fulfillment. When Jesus feed the 5,000, he gave them more food than they needed. Throughout his ministry he promised that if one would pursue his kingdom first and righteousness, all the physical things would be given as well.

How much faith does it take to believe this? Who is this easier for, someone who is rich or someone who is poor? How powerful is the need to sustain physical fulfillment?

The Jews were interested in Jesus because they wanted a king who would merely provide political security and physical abundance. They wanted a Messiah who would rid them of Rome, not a savior who would rescue them from sin. They wanted to know how to please God, not because they feared him or loved him but because happy gods bless people and angry ones do mean things. I think that is how we look upon our president today. Many like him and support him because of what he can do for them, not because of what is right or wrong.

That statement sounds impossible but what about you? Have you ever followed Jesus based on the same type of thinking? When you pray and ask for things, is it based on asking a happy god for things? How many times have you done something good for Jesus hoping to get something good in return?

True or False: When Jesus returns, I want to be found in a church rather than found in a bar.

Do you think it makes a difference?

SLIDE 8: John 6:28 Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?”

The Jews wanted an answer that was based on legalism. To their credit, that is all they basically knew. But Jesus also knew their hearts and he understood that once he didn’t give to the people what they expected, they no longer would follow him. His answer to them was not the answer they were looking for. Jesus wasn’t interested in becoming or staying a hero to them. He was only interested in giving them the truth. We have to remember, truth separates. In this case, Jesus only wanted true disciples to follow him. His response…

John 6:29 Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”

With that truth, Jesus offers a parable that sealed his fate. This parable opened a crack in his fame, a crack that would quickly become a chasm. Jesus did this not by accident, he did it intentionally to separate away those who were there for their own gain and not because of their belief.

Their statement back to Jesus that triggered his parable is something I find very telling where the people were. They asked for a sign.

John 6:30 So they asked him, “What miraculous sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? Our forefathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’”

What is wrong with this statement?

John 6:1-6 some time after this, Jesus crossed to the far shore of the Sea of Galilee (that is, the Sea of Tiberias), and a great crowd of people followed him because they saw the miraculous signs he had performed on the sick. Then Jesus went up on a mountainside and sat down with his disciples. The Jewish Passover Feast was near. When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.

How many signs did they need to see before they would actually believe that Jesus meant what he said? When they asked for a sign, what did that tell Jesus?

John 6:32-33, 35 Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”… Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.

Jesus tells them a truth that strikes at the heart of the real message of God. If you were a Jew hearing this, what would be the thoughts going through your mind? What decisions would you have to make concerning Jesus?

Jesus goes on to tell an even tougher truth, a truth you and I know very well and practice weekly. Too often we take this truth for granted but to Jesus and the Jews listening to him that day, this truth separated the real believer and disciple from those who were just there to gain something physical. That statement caused a lot of grumbling within the crowd and Jesus called them on it. He told them to stop grumbling and went on to say the following:

John 6:49-51 Your forefathers ate the manna in the desert, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”

As we read this, you and I know where Jesus is going because we have the complete picture before us. But why didn’t Jesus in plain terms explain what he meant? Why use the imagery and why use the parable language to explain this tremendous truth?

Of course you can imagine the reaction Jesus’ statement caused within the crowd.

John 6:52-58: Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, 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 real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this bread will live forever.”

Nothing would be the same after that statement. If Jesus had been running for political office, his campaign manager would have resigned. On that day in Capernaum, Jesus divided his core believers and alienated the majority. The disciples probably put their heads in their hands as they realized their future in Israel just went up in smoke. But Jesus didn’t come to win the approval of the people; he came to speak the solemn truth.

True or False: The truth is rarely popular. In fact, it usually offends the majority.

This event lost Jesus a major portion of his followers. He no longer was the Messiah the masses were looking for. The only reason why his disciples didn’t leave was because they had no other place to go. They invested everything into him. Their fate was sealed with his. They didn’t exactly understand everything he said but they chose Jesus and that was that. Their response to Jesus was authentic. But there was one point that Jesus wanted his close followers to know.

John 6:70 Then Jesus replied, “Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!”

Even within the closest people to Jesus, there was one who was evil. There are important lessons for those who decide to become truth tellers. If you decide to walk with Jesus and spread the truth, there are important lessons to know:

1. Knowing your mission will help you stay focused on the goal: Jesus clearly knew why he came to this earth and he never allowed popularity, success, opposition or threats distract him.

2. Encountering evil requires confrontation: Few people enjoy confrontation but standing for truth against evil will require it. Sometimes, what must be said will be difficult to say and be heard, but it must happen.

3. Boldness in the course of a noble fight is worth the risk: Standing for truth requires boldness. Some will be offended by it, so be ready to be criticized. Strong action also must follow strong speech so be prepared to quit a job, end a relationship or confront a powerful opponent.

4. Truth telling offers no guarantee of victory: We live in a world that does not operate according to God’s rules. The present world often punishes those who oppose evil. Be ready to be attacked.