“After this Jesus went away to the other side of the Sea of Galilee… And a large crowd was following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing on the sick.” John 6
Ask yourself this, why as a modern church do we love big gatherings, loud and flashy concerts, coffee shops in the lobby, or nice locations for our buildings? Why do we love to do those things when we are trying to evangelize ? To be honest, my first thought is, “Well, to draw unbelievers in to the church so we can teach them about the Lord!” Maybe you have a similar thought.
In this story of Jesus feeding the 5,000, Jesus attracts a crowd; they have no chairs, no building, no bathrooms, or air conditioning, yet they still gather to hear the Teacher. There was nothing comfortable or nice about sitting on the grass listening to Him speak. It is key to note that, the crowd didn’t come to see the apostles, they didn’t come because it was a nice location, or because there was a flashy concert afterwards, they simply came because of Christ. You see, Jesus is the one who draws people in. The hope that He contains, His peace, His loving embrace, and the fact that He knows us and love us. People come, crowds come, because of Jesus. He draws them in.
Obviously, it is not sinful or wrong for the modern day church to have a building, chairs for everyone, or an air conditioner, but the point is that we cannot substitute flashy concerts, a coffee bar, or shiny offers to people to draw them in to hear about Jesus. Those are not and should not be our main priorities in order to convince them to come and hear about Christ. He can do that all on His own. He is a sufficient enough “advertisement” and reason for people to come and gather. While I doubt Jesus would condemn us for having things like bookstores, coffee bars, or concerts as a part of the church; I do believe, however, that He desperately wants us to understand that He is enough, there is no other thing that we could offer besides Him that is more satisfying or worthy of our time, it’s just Him. If there was nothing else, no building, no flashy events, no bands to prepare people for the message, if it was just the Word, and just Jesus it would be enough. And I believe that is what God wants us to understand and what this passage shows, as well.
What the world needs is the love, hope, and peace that Christ brings. The Lord desires to take the weight off of our shoulders and carry it. He wants to provide the people that come, the message that is given, and all the other necessities that come up. The most important thing that we can offer anyone is simply the words and love of our Savior. And how can we offer Him? By talking and living out His Word, and by sharing His love with everyone we meet. He will draw the crowd; we do not have to worry about that!
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