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Watch 2022 online sermons » Craig Smith » Craig Smith - Getting Where We're Going

Craig Smith - Getting Where We're Going


Craig Smith - Getting Where We're Going
TOPICS: Living Proof

Hey, welcome to the Mission Hills. So, so glad to have you with us this weekend. If you’re just joining us, I’ll catch you up real quick. We are in the midst of our “Living Proof” series, where we’re taking a look at seven stories, about seven signs that Jesus performed, or you might know them as miracles. But the Gospel of John calls them signs because they do more than just demonstrate that Jesus had power. They give us living proof of who he is. And so, we’re looking at those and coming to understand better who Jesus is and who God is and what it looks like to follow him. We got a fair amount of territory to cover today. So, we’re gonna jump in pretty quick.

I wanna ask you to go ahead and grab a Bible, start making your way to the Gospel of John. We’re gonna be in chapter 6 today, but while you’re turning there, while you’re making your way there, I wanna go ahead and ask a really important question and ask you to think about it seriously. And the question is this, who do you think Jesus is? Who do you think Jesus is? And I know you’re in church so you’re like, “Oh, I got the answer,” right? But you know what, maybe step away from the church answer for a second and really ponder for a second. And also, I just wanna recognize that some of you wouldn’t give the church answer. And that’s okay. We’re so glad you’re here. Maybe for some of you, your answer would be, “Well, I think Jesus is a great teacher.” I’m willing to give him that much.

That’s great. We’re so glad that you’re here. Or maybe you’d say, “He’s a prophet. I think the power of God flowed through him.” That’s also great. Honestly, maybe your answer is, “I don’t know. I don’t know what I think about Jesus. I don’t know who I think he is.” And that’s also fine. We’re so glad you’re here. And my prayer is that this message would help you take a step closer to understanding who Jesus is. A lot of you I know would say you’ve been following Jesus for a while and your answer’s probably a step above teacher, prophet. You might say he’s the Son of God, he’s the Christ, he’s the Messiah, he’s the Savior. And that’s awesome. That’s great. But even if that’s your answer, I would encourage you to maybe go a little bit beyond that. And, you know, how do you think about Jesus? What sort of a person do you think he is? Because it really matters.

Here’s what I’ve come to understand. How we think about Jesus determines how we respond to him. How we think about Jesus determines how we respond to him. And I know that’s been true in my own life. I was very blessed to be raised in a home with two parents, a mom and a dad who both love Jesus. And so, they made sure that I heard the truth about Jesus from an early age. We were in church wherever we lived. We were an Air Force family, we moved a lot. But wherever we were, we found church. And my parents were Southern Baptists. So, it’s always interesting there’s…..

And some of you are like, “Are we supposed to applaud for that? I don’t know. I don’t know, the whole Baptist thing, Southern… I don’t know.” Yeah. And here’s the thing, like, I really enjoyed the upbringing and I’m grateful for it. There was probably a tone to some of the way that the Southern Baptist churches that I grew up in talked about Jesus. And I think that was at least partially responsible for a view of Jesus that I had that I think changed the way I responded to him for a long time. I would say, you know, if you came to me when I was a little kid and said, you know, “Who is Jesus?” I would have been, like, able to give you the Sunday school answer really quick. The Sunday school answer is the one that you gotta give so that you don’t get in trouble. Right?

So, if somebody had said, you know, “Who do you think Jesus is?” I’d be like, “He’s Christ. He’s the Messiah.” I don’t know what those mean. Turns out they mean exactly the same things. Do you know that? Christ and Messiah, they both mean the Anointed One. Christ is Greek and Messiah is Hebrew. And I’m like, “I have no idea why we have two of them,” but that’s the answer. I know it’s Christ. He’s the Messiah. He’s the Savior. He’s the Son of God. And I believed that. I mean, let’s be clear. I did believe that. But at the same time, if you had pushed beneath the surface a little bit, and I had been honest with you, I probably would’ve told you that when I thought about Jesus, I tended to think of Jesus as an MP.

And if you don’t know what an MP is, I was raised on military bases and the MPs are the military police. And I knew the military police were good guys. I knew they were good people, but I also tended to think their main job was to keep me from getting in trouble, which is really to keep me from doing fun things that apparently weren’t allowed by the rules. That was how I tended to think about the MPs. And the reality is I kind of thought about Jesus in those terms. He’s a good guy. He’s the Christ. He’s the Messiah. All that’s true. But in my head, I kinda thought of him as the enforcer. And because of that, I think I probably kept Jesus a little bit of a distance for a long time in my life. And it really wasn’t until I was 12, I kind of went through a period of probably anxiety and wrestling with some things. It was the middle of the Cold War and, you know, we had these nuclear war drills.

I don’t know if anybody remembers those, where, like, you know, you’d go, “Oh it could be a nuclear war so everybody get under their desk.” Because that’s gonna help, right? But we would do those. And the thing is I think a lot of people were sort of afraid of a nuclear war breaking out in the middle of the Cold War. And it was worse for me because I lived on military bases. Like, they’re on the top of every target list. Like, there was no chance I was getting out of that, even if I had got under two desks, right? Like, there was no chance. And I remember going through a period of kind of anxiety about that and fear.

And my mom found me in my room one day kind of really in the throes of wrestling with that. And I told her what I was afraid of and, you know, I expected her to say, “Hey, Craig that’s not gonna happen.” That is not what she did. What she actually said was, “I can’t promise that’s not gonna happen.” And I’m like, “You’re bad at this mom.” And she said, “I can’t promise that that’s never gonna happen.” But she said, “But I can promise that you can be confident about what’s gonna happen next. There’s no reason that your eternal destiny would need to be in doubt.” And she explained the gospel. And I’d heard the gospel before, but in the way that she explained it in that moment, I think my thinking changed a little bit. And I began to make a significant shift. I stopped seeing Jesus as the enforcer and I began to see him as my rescuer.

I began to see the gospel that he came, and he lived a perfect life, and he died on the cross to pay for my sins. Not so much as, “Oh, you keep screwing up and I gotta take care of it.” But no, he came to do that for me. He came to rescue me from my sin and to bring me into eternal life. And as I began to see Jesus as a rescuer, my feelings about Jesus changed and the way I responded changed. And it was that day that I gave my life to Jesus. It was that day that I said yes to a relationship with Jesus that I have held on to ever since. But it happened because of the way I thought about him. So, it’s a significant question. And even if you are able in your head to say, “Yeah, I believe he’s the Christ, he’s the Messiah, he’s the Savior, he is the Son of God,” I wanna ask you, again, how do you think about Jesus?

Who do you think Jesus is? What other kind of stuff is going around? Because the reality is how we think about Jesus determines how we respond to him. What I wanna do today is I wanna show you from God’s Word why that’s true and how it is that we need to pay attention to that. So, we’re gonna be in John chapter 6 starting in verse 14 says this, “Now, after the people saw the sign that Jesus performed,” and that would be the sign we looked at last week, the sign where Jesus fed over 5,000 people with 5 loaves of bread and 2 fishes, he miraculously provided for them. “Well, after the people saw the sign that Jesus performed, they began to say, “Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.” That’s how they thought about Jesus. They thought he was the Prophet.

And we need to understand that that’s a respectful term. That’s not a casual, dismissive thing. They thought very respectfully that he’s the Prophet, and not even just a prophet, but the Prophet. Well, who’s the Prophet? Well, from a Jewish perspective, hands down, the most important prophet who had ever lived was a man named Moses. Like, when you’re doing the prophet trading cards, Moses was the card everybody wanted to get. He was the best. And as we talked about last week, at a certain point in their history, God sent Moses to take the people of Israel out of their captivity in the world and to lead them through the wilderness into the edge of the promised land, and the edge of their safe space. And, of course, while he was in the wilderness, God used Moses to miraculously provide bread, manna that fell from heaven.

And well, now, in this miracle, we’ve just seen Jesus is kind of reversing that at the Passover, which celebrated that journey. At that same time of the year, Jesus has taken people out of their safe zone. He’s taken them through the wilderness. And at the edge of the world and at the edge of the rest of the world, he sat down and he’s provided miraculous bread. And so, Moses is on everybody’s mind at this moment, right? And the interesting thing about Moses, the greatest of the Jewish prophets was that near the end of his life, Moses said this, he said, this is Deuteronomy 18:15, “The Lord your God will raise up for you, a prophet like me from among you, from your fellow Israelites, and you must listen to him.” And for centuries, at this point, the Israelites had been waiting for that prophet, the prophet that Moses prophesied would come. And they’re looking at Jesus now and they’re going, “I think he might be the guy. I think he might be the one Moses told us about. I think he might be the Prophet.”

And so, I think it’s important we understand that what they say is really significant. It’s a high honor that they’re… According to Jesus, it’s a very significant title that they’re giving to him. But what I want you to notice is that the way they see Jesus, determines how they responded. And they see him as a prophet, and this is what they do in response. This is 6:15, “Now, Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself.” Now, I don’t know how he knew that. I don’t know if it was supernatural knowledge or if Peter came up and said, “Hey, we gotta talk. This is the plan.”

And it’s a weird plan if you think about it, right? The plan is they’re gonna take Jesus and make him king by force. Literally, in the original Greek, it’s they’re gonna seize him. They’re gonna grab him. They’re gonna kidnap him and make him king. Wait, can we just all agree that’s a weird way to get a king? Like, can you imagine if we did that with the president? We’ll find some poor guy and go with a gun, and be like, “You’re the president.” “I don’t wanna be the president.” “It doesn’t matter.” I mean, that’s what they’re doing. They’re kidnapping a guy, they wanna make him king. But what we need to understand is that it’s driven by the way that they see Jesus. Okay? They see him as the Prophet. And from their perspective, the Prophet, you know, he has access to God.

So he’s got insight from God, but maybe more importantly, he has power from God, right? He has God’s power at his disposal, and they’re like, “We want that power at our disposal. So, let’s grab him and take him over here. We want him to use that power here. And while this is going on, we wanna him to use the power over there. And right over here, we want him to use the power there.” And so, there’s a sense in which basically they’re looking to force Jesus into their agenda. “He’s got the power of God so, let’s take him and make him king by force.” But it has to do with the fact that they saw him as the Prophet. And notice how Jesus responds to that. He withdrew by himself to a mountain. He left. That’s significant. And it reminds me of a truth that I’ve seen over and over again in my own life.

And this is the truth. It’s that when I push my agenda on Jesus, the more I push my agenda, the less I experience his presence. Does that make sense, church? The more I’m trying to make Jesus do my thing, the less I’m actually experiencing the presence of Jesus himself in my life. I remember several years ago, back in the mid-2000s, I was kind of making a living by doing a bunch of part-time things. And one part of my income was, I was on the road as an itinerant speaker. And somewhere around 2008, the economy crashed. And once the economy crashed, people stopped hiring speakers. And it dried up. And that was a big part of my income. And so, financially, we were in some difficult places.

And I pushed in and then I was like, “Okay. Well, I’ve gotta figure this out. And so, I’ll figure out search engine optimization. And then I’ll improve my website and we’ll do some cold calling, and maybe we’ll go to some pastors’ conferences, and have a booth,” and those kinds of things. And it just wasn’t working. Speaking wasn’t coming and our financial situation was difficult. And the worst part of it was, honestly, I sensed the distance between me and Jesus in that season. As I was pushing my agenda, I was experiencing his presence less. And looking back, I’m like, “How did I miss that that’s what was going on? Because at the time I didn’t know, I was just like, “Hey, you know, financially, I don’t know where this is heading and I don’t understand what’s going on with my relationship with Jesus. I’m struggling.” And I just didn’t see it.

And then I was actually on C-470, and for those of you who are watching online, C-470 is the bypass around Denver, and I was on it, actually not far from where Mission Hills ultimately built the Littleton campus that I’m preaching from right now. I wasn’t there at the time, but I don’t know if that’s significant or not, but I think it’s interesting. I was on C-470 and I just had this moment where I was kind of like, “God, you know, I don’t understand what’s going on. Things are not going well and I just feel like we’re distant.” And I kind of felt that God kind of came back at me with this sort of like, “Well, you’re pushing your agenda pretty hard there. How’s that working out for you?”

And I was like… And I pulled off the side of the road, 470, cars were whipping past and I just had this come to Jesus moment where I went, “I’m sorry. I can’t believe I missed that. But yeah, I’ve been pushing my agenda. You know what? I’m not gonna do that anymore. If you wanna send speaking my way, that’s great. If you wanna bring income in some other way, like, I don’t wanna keep pushing my agenda. Whatever you do, Lord, but I need to be near you.” And something changed. And I’m not gonna say, like, a glow lit up the car or anything like that. It wasn’t that. But there was something that changed in the spiritual realm. I sensed a renewed closeness of the presence of Jesus in that moment. And listen, I can’t promise you this way it’s gonna work out. It hasn’t always worked this way in my life. But that day, I had three separate phone calls to come and speak.

Coincidence? I think not. But way more important than those phone calls was the restoration of a sense of God’s nearness, of Jesus’s presence. Because here’s the thing, the more we push our agenda, the less we experience his presence. And that’s what they’re experiencing here. They’ve got an agenda. They’re gonna try force Jesus into it. He’s like, “No, it’s not gonna work that way.” And so, they’ve lost not only his power, but they’ve even lost his presence. He’s withdrawn. Now, it says that, “When evening came, his disciples went down to the lake where they got into a boat and set off across the lake to Capernaum.” That’s the Jewish side of the lake.

“Now, by now, it was dark, and Jesus had not yet joined them. A strong wind was blowing and the waters grew rough. And when they had rowed about three or four miles…” And the picture we’re supposed to understand is that this is rough rowing, right? They’re kind of confused. Jesus has withdrawn, but the disciples are still there. And the people’s like, “Do you know where he is?” And there’s some tense stuff going on. And night has come and Jesus hasn’t come back. And so, they get into the boat and they start across, but the wind is whipping and the waves are getting rough, and they’re rowing hard, but they’re not making much progress or probably getting a little bit off course, and probably beginning to wonder, at this point, “Are we even gonna make it to the other side? Are we gonna get to our destination?”

Their destination is kind of in doubt, at this point. And then all of a sudden, after they’d rowed for three or four miles, they saw Jesus approaching the boat, walking on the water. I love the way John does these miracles. They’re just these, like, super low-key announcements to ridiculous things. Right? And Jesus was coming, yeah, walking on the water. Wait, what? And they were frightened. Well, duh. But he said to them, “It is I. Don’t be afraid.” Yeah, that’s gonna work. Right? It’s interesting. There’s a little bit of a debate here and we’ve gotta push into it just a bit. Jesus came walking on the water and they saw him, and some of the other gospels say that they weren’t sure if it was a ghost or what. They were terrified. And Jesus said, “It is I.” And there’s a couple of ways to take that. It’s possible that what he said there could just mean, “Hey guys, it’s me. It’s Jesus. It’s not a ghost. It’s not a demon. It’s not some spirits. It’s me.” It could be that. But the way he says it is a little strange. What he says, and some of you are gonna love this and some of you just sit it out for a second. What he says in Greek is “Ego eimi.” Ego, ego is where we get I from. It’s the I, the sense of self. He says, “I…” Eimi, it’s the verb for to be. But he uses the present tense. So, literally what he says is, “I Am” and you’re like, “You are what?”

Like, “I am Jesus,” or, “I’m your friend,” or, you know, “I’m he” or any of… But he doesn’t do anything. It’s just I Am and he stops. He says, “I Am. Fear not.” And the reason that some scholars, and I include myself among them, think that that might be really significant is because remember, we’re thinking a lot about Moses in these stories, right? John has made sure we see the parallels. Well, back when Moses first met God, God spoke to Moses first through a burning bush. Some of you may know that story, right? And when God spoke to Moses, he said, “Here’s what you’re gonna do. You’re gonna go down to Egypt, you’re gonna tell Pharaoh and tell the Israelites that God has told you to let my people go.” And Moses is like, “Can I ask a follow-up question?” “Yeah.” “Who should I say sent me? Because I gotta be honest, the bush isn’t gonna work, right? So, who should I say you are? What’s your name?” Names are really important in the ancient Near East. And this is what God said. This is Exodus 3:14. And God said to Moses, “Oh, you want my name? I Am who I Am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites, ‘I Am has sent me to you.'”

Now, we can say amen, but if I were Moses, I’d have been like, “Yeah, that doesn’t help.” Right? “I Am. You are what? Oh, just I Am. Okay.” But what’s interesting is because that’s written in Hebrew, but when you translate that phrase “I Am” from Hebrew into Greek, the phrase is “Ego eimi,” exactly the same phrase that Jesus spoke as he came across the water. He said, “I Am. Fear not.” And what a lot of scholars think, and I include myself among them, is that Jesus is doing a little bit more than just saying, “Hey guys, it’s me.” What he’s saying is, “Hey, the people thought I was the Prophet. I’m not the Prophet, I am God.” In other words, what he’s saying is, “Hey, I’m not the prophet who speaks on God’s behalf, I’m God speaking for myself.” I think that’s what he was saying. And it’s interesting. He said, “I Am. Don’t be afraid.”

And then verse 21, “And then they were willing to take him into the boat.” I love that. And they were willing… And actually, it’s probably a little bit stronger term in Greek than just willing. It’s not like they were like, “Okay, fine. If you’re God and all, fine.” No, no, no, no. It’s a longing word. And they were longing, they were wishing, they were desiring. There was a passion that began to stir in them to take him into the boat. And that’s a perfectly good way to translate it. And we know what it means. It just means, “Yeah, come on…” They’re kind of welcoming him in, but I don’t like the word take because it kind of sounds like they grabbed him by the robes and hauled him in, you know? And that’s not the word.

In Greek, the word, it’s a warm welcome word. In fact, here’s probably how I would say it. I would say that they were willing to receive him into the boat. Does that make sense? That would be the more natural way to translate it. In fact, check this out. At the very beginning of the Gospel of John, when he’s setting his agenda for his Gospel, he says this, chapter 1 verse 12, “And yet, to all who did receive him…” And it’s the exact same Greek word that they took him into the boat. They received him into the boat. “And yet, to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” So, it’s interesting he uses that exact same word to say, “Once they realized who it was, they longed to receive him into the boat.” Very, very significant. But of course, why were they willing? Why were they interested? Why were they longing? Because they recognized him for who he was.

See, they were only willing to receive him because they recognized him. Does that make sense? They were only willing to receive him because they recognized him for who he was. So they received him in the boat and then check this out. John says, “And immediately the boat reached the shore where they were heading. They received him in the boat and immediately the boat reached the shore where they were heading.” Now, some scholars think this is actually another miracle. And I don’t know how that would’ve played out. Like, you know, once Jesus has been received into the boat, the boat, just like, you know, like a “Star Trek” transporter like goes up and comes back down, and they’re like, “Whoa, we’re here.” That’s awesome or maybe I don’t know…

Maybe they’re still rowing, but suddenly they’re, like, picking up speed and they’re hydroplaning across the waves. I don’t know, but I’m not even sure that it’s supposed to be a miracle. Some of the other gospels, when they’re telling the story, they tell about some other details, some other things that happen. This is when Peter walked on the water for a bit and this is when Jesus got in, and he calmed the wind and the waves. But it’s interesting, John doesn’t mention that. It’s not because he disagrees. He’s not saying it didn’t happen, but it’s not what he’s focusing on. What he’s focusing on is basically that as soon as Jesus was in the boat, check this out, once Jesus was in the boat, their destination was no longer in doubt. Understand what I’m saying? Right? They were rowing and the wind was coming and the waves, and they were getting off course, and they weren’t sure if they were gonna get there, and there’s a fear there. But once they receive Jesus into the boat, suddenly what he wants to emphasize is, their destination was no longer in doubt. Whether it was an immediate thing or took a little bit of time, the point is, there was no question. But only once Jesus was in the boat. Once Jesus was in the boat, the destination was no longer in doubt, which prompts me to ask this question, what boat do you need to receive Jesus into? And here’s how you think about it. Where in your life is your destination in doubt? Where in your life are you going, “I’m not sure where this thing’s headed, but it doesn’t look like it’s headed anywhere good?”

Maybe that’s your marriage, maybe you’re rowing hard, and you’re trying to salvage this thing. But honestly, you’re not sure where your marriage is going, but it’s not looking like it’s going anywhere good. Maybe it’s your financial situation. Maybe you’re not sure where this thing’s headed, but it doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere good. Maybe it’s your struggle with addiction, whether that’s maybe alcohol or painkillers or pornography, but something’s got its hooks in you and it’s hauling you off the path, and it’s taken you somewhere, you’re like, “I don’t know where I’m going, but it’s not what I wanted. I wanted to go here, but I doubt that I’m getting there. My destination is in doubt. I’m not sure where I’m headed.” Maybe it’s in your dating life, maybe it’s in your sexuality, maybe it’s in your work situation.

But here’s the thing. I think we all have these places, these boats where our destination’s in doubt or maybe honestly, maybe it’s your life. You know, maybe we put all those other things aside for a second. Reckon some of you listening to this, your eternal destiny is in doubt because there’s a reality we have to all understand, and that is that, you know, every one of us has a story, but every story has an ending. We all die. But every ending has a sequel. Jesus is clear there’s only two possible sequels to our story. It’s either life spent forever in a relationship with God and peace and joy or it’s a life spent apart from God in misery. That’s what Jesus saw. Maybe you’re one of those people… “I think Jesus is a good teacher.” That’s great. That’s a good start. But you need to understand that that’s what Jesus taught.

There’s only two sequels. It’s heaven or it’s hell. And he’s the key to heaven. And maybe that’s you. Maybe your eternal destiny is in doubt. And maybe that’s the boat or maybe it is your marriage, or your addiction, or your finances, whatever. But what’s the boat? What’s the boat? Because here’s I think what we’re being told in the story, what John is emphasizing. To get where we need to go. We got to get Jesus in the boat. You with me, church? To get where we need to go, in all of those areas, we got to get Jesus in the boat. Now, why is that? Verse 22 says, “Well, the next day, the crowd that had stayed on the opposite shore of the lake realized that only one boat had been there and that Jesus had not entered it with his disciples, but that they had gone away alone. And then some of the boats from Tiberias,” a city there, “they landed near the place where the people had eaten the bread after the Lord had given thanks.”

And I want you to notice what does John call Jesus here? He calls him the what? The Lord. That’s the first time this title has been used for Jesus in the Gospel of John. Early on, a man named John the Baptist came and said, “We need to get the thing ready for the arrival of the Lord. We need to make straight paths for the Lord. This is the first time that that title has been applied to Jesus. John is recognizing Jesus as a whole lot more than a prophet because here we need to understand is a prophet should be listened to, but a Lord should be bowed to. Right? This is after the Lord had given thanks.

“Now, once the crowd realized that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they got into the boats and they went to Capernaum in search of Jesus. Now, when they found him on the other side of the lake, they asked him, “Rabbi, when did you get here?” You notice what they call him? Rabbi, which means teacher, which is not disrespectful, but it’s a demotion. Can you see that? I mean, it’s definitely a demotion from the Lord to teacher. Again, prophets and teachers should be listened to, but Lords need to be bowed to. It’s a demotion from Lord, but honestly, it’s a demotion even from the prophet. And it’s kind of an interesting thing happening. It’s like, there’s two different trajectories here. And they both go in very different directions and it has to do with how they respond. See, the people thought of Jesus as a prophet, and they responded by trying to make him do their own thing. And now, there’s a growing distance. They’re getting farther and farther from the truth. Now, he’s just teacher. Whereas the disciples, they were given a glimpse of who Jesus is. He’s the great I Am and how did they respond? They received him into the boat and now what’s happening? Not only have they gotten to their destination, but they’re seeing Jesus different.

Now, he’s the Lord and there’s an increasing understanding of who he is. There’s an increasing closeness, all because of what they recognize and how they responded. They said, “Rabbi, when did you get here?” And Jesus answered, “Very truly, I tell you, you’re looking for me not because you saw the signs I performed, but because you ate the loaves and you had your fill. You’re not interested in me. You’re interested in what I can do for you.” Hey, listen, do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man, that’s another very exalted title from the Book of Daniel… Daniel saw this one who was ascending on the clouds in glory and he says, “He was like a Son of Man,” meaning he’s human, but there’s a whole lot more going on. That was Jesus’s favorite title for himself. He said, “Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you, which I will give you. For on him, God, the Father, has placed his seal of approval.” So they asked him, “Well, then what must we do to do the works God requires? He said, “Don’t work for this, this food that’s gonna fade.” So what work do we have to do to get this food to eternal life?” And Jesus answered, “The work of God is this, it’s to believe in the one he has sent.”

That’s it. Which is amazing because remember, you know, this is a works-oriented culture. They had over 600 Old Testament Laws they worked hard at and the Jewish religious leaders added on hundreds of more rules and regulations, and they worked hard at all that. And Jesus has just kinda thrown all that out and goes there is really only one thing that matters. Here’s the work you have to do. You just got to believe in the one that God has sent to you, which is to say, believe in me. Now, understand this, it’s very important. Believe in Jesus. Teaching doesn’t just mean in your head. It’s not just an intellectual thing. See, before I came to Jesus, I believed he was the Son of God. I believed he did die on the cross. I believed he rose from the dead. But because of the way I thought of him, I was still kind of keeping him at an arm’s distance. I had the right belief, but I hadn’t responded right.

When Jesus talks about believe, it’s both to recognize and to receive. That’s what he means by it. To believe is to recognize Jesus for who he is and to receive him into our lives. Jesus says, “That’s what you gotta do. It’s the only thing that matters.” And so, they asked him, “Well, what sign then will you give us that we may see it and believe in you? You want us to believe in you, well, give us a sign. What will you do? What’s the next one, Jesus? Come on, give us another one. You want an idea? Can we stir the pot? Here’s an idea. Here’s what you could do. Hey, our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness.” As it is written, “He gave them bread from heaven to eat.” And the irony, of course, is that’s exactly what Jesus has just done.

They were in the wilderness and he gave them miraculous bread. They’re like, “Why don’t you do that?” Completely missing that he’d already done it. And so, Jesus said to them, “Good night, what’s wrong with you people?” It’s somewhere in the Greek. No, Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, because it’s not Moses who’s given you the bread from heaven. Moses didn’t do that. It’s my Father who gives you true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” “Well, sir,” they responded, “always give us this bread.” And Jesus declared, “I am the bread. I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. But as I told you, you’ve seen me. You still do not believe.

Oh yeah, you believe that I got power. You believe that I might be speaking for God, but I didn’t do your thing. And so, now, it’s downgraded to teacher and maybe you believe that I have some wisdom but, you have not recognized and you haven’t responded.” And he goes on to unpack what it means to be the bread of life. And the gist of it is essentially, he isn’t interested in giving you what you need from a distance. He’s interested in a relationship with us. And that it’s only in that relationship that we have access to life as God intended it because he isn’t giving us the stuff of life. He is life itself. And it’s only in that relationship we experience. He unpacks that and it’s rich, and I really encourage you to read it this afternoon. For the sake of our time, I wanna skim over the rich and get to the response.

And in John 6:66 says this, “And from this time, many of his disciples turned back and they no longer followed him.” That was the trajectory. Then he looked at his closest. He looked at the 12 and he said this, he said, “You do not want to leave me too, do you?” And Simon Peter answered him, he said, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We’ve come to believe, to recognize and receive, and to know that you are the Holy One of God. You’re not a prophet. You’re not a priest. You’re not a teacher. You don’t give bread. You are the bread of life. You are the Holy One of God. You are the great I Am. You’re God. We recognize and we’ve seen.” That’s it. They got it, right? They recognized and they received Jesus for who he is, but so many of the crowd didn’t. How we respond to Jesus is literally the most important thing about us. They recognized, they received him for who he is, and so, I say again, this is why we can say it. This is why it’s true. To get where you need to go, you got to get Jesus in the boat. It’s because of who he is.

So, let me ask you this question again. Where is my destination in doubt? Where’s your destination in doubt? As we said, maybe it’s your life. Maybe it’s your eternal destiny. We can get rid of that doubt today. We can give you confidence about where you’re gonna spend your time. I’m gonna give you a chance to do that today. But if that’s you, all you need to think about right now is, like, “What’s stopping me from inviting Jesus into the boat, from receiving him into the boat?” But maybe it’s not that. Maybe it’s your marriage, maybe it’s finances, maybe it’s an addiction, maybe it’s just relationships you’re struggling with, maybe it’s emotional places that you’re really in kind of rough places, but wherever it is you’re going, like, “I don’t know where this thing’s headed.”

Why is your destination in doubt? And then here’s the second question, so important. What step do I need to take to get Jesus into that boat? You know, if it’s your marriage, maybe what you need to do to get Jesus in the boat is to go to the Intentionally Married conferences coming up here at Mission Hills or maybe get plugged in with the Re-Engage Ministry. Those are both ministries that are all about bringing Jesus into the boat of our marriages. Maybe that’s your step. If it’s finances and you’re going, “I don’t know where this thing’s headed, but it’s nowhere good.” How do you get Jesus into the boat of your finances? We do something called Financial Peace University designed to help you bring Jesus into the boat of your finances.

If you’re struggling with addiction or some kind of other issues in your emotions and those kinds of things, we have an incredible counseling team here at Mission Hills that you can get connected to and they’ll help you figure out, how do I bring Jesus into this particular struggle, whether it’s an addiction or depression or whatever it is I’m wrestling through? There’s just so many of these opportunities. Maybe you’re just feeling alone and maybe you need to join a Life Group, get people around you who will love you and help you become like Jesus and join him on our mission. But maybe that’s how you get Jesus into the boat of your loneliness right now, or your aimlessness, or your drifting aroundedness. But what step will you take? And listen, if it’s your life, if it’s your eternal destiny that’s in doubt, are you ready to take that step to get Jesus in the boat?

Here’s how you do it. I’m gonna ask everybody, just close your eyes and bow your heads. If you’re a follower of Jesus, would you please, please, please, right now, would you just start praying for the people at our Littleton campus, people in our Spanish campus, all the people watching on our Online Campus everywhere? Because I believe that there are many of you listening to this right now, that your eternal destiny is in doubt. And maybe honestly, you believe what you need to believe about Jesus. You believe he died on the cross to pay for your sins. You believe he rose from the dead. You’ve recognized him for who is, but you haven’t responded, and you haven’t received him onto the boat, into your life. And if that’s you, now’s the time. And here’s how you do it. Wherever you are, if you’re ready to say yes to a relationship with Jesus, to bring him into your life, here’s how you do it. Please, please, please do it right now. In your heart, just say this to God. Say:

God, I’ve done wrong. I’ve sinned, and I know that separates me from you. I’m sorry. Jesus, thank you for dying on the cross to pay for my sin. Thank you for dying on the cross to rescue me. I believe that you rose from the dead. And I understand that you’re offering me forgiveness, new life, a relationship with you. I get it. I recognize you for who you are. Right here, right now. I receive you into my life. I’m putting my trust in you. I’m yours for now and forever, Amen.

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