Sermon for November 20, 2011
“Not a Fan” – “Is Jesus Enough?”
In the name of Jesus Christ, who is the way, the truth and the life! Amen!
As we conclude our sermon series today on “Not a Fan” we look at the question, “Is
Jesus Enough?” We began the series with the story of the feeding of the 5,000. Word had
spread about this Jesus so that great crowds of people came to hear Him preach and to watch
Him as He performed miracles. This time there were 5,000 and that was just men, with women
and children, there may have been 10 to 15 thousand people gathered on that hillside. It was
getting late and Jesus knew the people would be getting hungry. So Jesus turned to His
disciples and said, “Get these people something to eat!” They discuss that among themselves
for awhile while Andrew scans the crowd. He notices a small boy with his sack lunch. In it
there were two small fish and 5 small loaves of bread. Then with a sense of expectation, he
wonders what Jesus will be able to do with that! Jesus didn’t disappoint, no, He took the lunch
bag and fed the entire group of people till they were filled and then picked up plenty of
leftovers for several more meals!
The next day the crowd wakes up early and they’re hungry again. They look around for
Jesus their meal ticket, but He’s nowhere to be found. They figure out that Jesus has gone to
the other side of the lake, so they pick up and follow after Him. When they finally catch up with
Jesus, they’re starving. They’ve missed out on breakfast and now are ready to find out what’s
on the lunch menu. But Jesus has decided to close down the all you can eat buffet. He’s not
handing out any more free samples. In John 6:26-27, Jesus says, “I tell you the truth, you are
looking for me, not because you saw miraculous sings, 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.” You see, Jesus knew that these people were only in it for the food!
They were really just fans. What will they do now that the fast food window is closed? Jesus
offers Himself in verse 35, “I am the bread of life,” but will He be enough for them?
When Jesus is the only thing on the menu, you find out if He’s the One you really hunger
for!” When there are no other options; Jesus begins to look pretty good! Maybe you’ve been
there, it’s the time that everything seems to be going wrong. Maybe it was the time you lost
your job and you wondered how you were going to pay the bills. Or perhaps it was when your
husband or wife left and there you were single again after all those years. Or perhaps it was at
the death of a loved one, a spouse, a child, a parent or grandparent or just someone you loved.
Maybe you didn’t have time to say goodbye or make amends or say what you wanted to say
and now they were gone. Or maybe it was when the doctor came in and said, I’m sorry to tell
you but the cancer is back. Yes there are days when you have to say, “You know it, I just can’t
handle it. Suddenly just having a little religion doesn’t seem to cut it. Suddenly the spectacle of
the loaves and fish, the Sunday service just doesn’t make it all better. It’s those moments,
those times that nothing else matters and only Jesus is left on the menu and you find out that’s
exactly what you need! It’s then that He becomes the only thing, the only hope! It’s then you
hear Jesus’ words, “I am the living bread that has come 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!”
It’s then that Jesus is enough!
That’s where the crowd that had enjoyed the meal of bread and fish was. They had to
decide, was Jesus enough? Was He going to fit the bill or were they just hanging on for the
perks? And many of them turned back, they went home! That’s what happens to fans, those
who are just enthusiastic admirers of Jesus. They like the idea of heaven, they like the miracles,
they like the bread and the free show, but when Jesus wipes all that off the table and offers
Himself, they just aren’t interested! When the going gets tough, they are out of there! Then
Jesus turned and asked His disciples, “What about you, are you going to leave too?” Then Peter
piped up and said, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life!” When you
finally figure who Jesus is, that He is Lord of your life, you don’t want to leave! Why would
anyone ever want to leave the One who offers eternal life? Followers won’t, but when fans are
asked to sacrifice or to pick up their cross or to die to themselves, that’s when they take off!
So, we get back to the original question from the beginning of the sermon series, “Are
you a fan or a follower?” Are you in for the long haul or are you just here for good stuff? We
can all say with our mouths, “Yes I want to be more than a fan, I want to be a follower of
Jesus!” But it’s really easier said than done? We wish that God would just lay it all out for us,
we wish He would just write it in the sky and tell us what He wants us to do. We wish He would
give us a vision and show us the way. Why doesn’t He send an angel to give us a sign or tell us
what to do? But life just isn’t like that is it? God doesn’t work like that. And yes, there will be
days when you and I are more of a fan than a follower. There will be days when our good
intentions just don’t pan out. There will be days when we just don’t measure up as followers of
Jesus. And those are the days when we finally realize and understand that Jesus is enough!
He’s enough to get us through whatever life has thrown at us! He is enough because He is
Jesus and He says to you and to me when we’re down and out and have nowhere to turn,
“Come to Me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest!”
Jesus said, “If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross
daily and follow Me!” So, you’ve decided to come after Him! You want to be more than a fan,
you want to be a follower of Jesus Christ! What does that mean? What does that look like,
what does it mean to follow Jesus? It means getting out of your comfort zone. Following Jesus
wherever He leads means going somewhere where you didn’t ever plan on going, doing
something you never planned on doing like helping build a house for Habitat for Humanity.
Maybe it’s helping out at the homeless shelter, or maybe putting together midwife kits for use
in deepest darkest Africa. Or packing and sending supplies to missionaries or maybe it’s going
on a short term missionary trip or just helping out at Feed My Starving Children or helping
distribute food at Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry. Maybe it’s singing Christmas Carols at the
Nursing Home? Perhaps it’s something as easy as praying for our missionary family the
Federwitz in Ghana West Africa or sending a check to Lutheran Church Charities. Perhaps it’s
asking to pray with or for the guy or gal in the next cubicle over at work. There are many ways
to be a follower of Jesus Christ. When we follow Him we do what He would do. When we
follow Jesus we are His hands, His feet, His mouth here in the place where He has planted us!
Jesus is calling out to each and every one of us! He’s calling us to follow Him and start
from wherever we are! He doesn’t want you to wait to follow Him until you’ve gotten closer on
your own or cleaned up your life, or gotten that last thing on your to do list done. No Today is
the day! He’s calling you right where you are, today, He wants you to follow Him now! Thanks
be to God and to Him be the glory! Amen!