The disciples had forgotten to bring any bread, and they had only one loaf with them in the boat. 15 Jesus warned them, “Watch out! Guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and of Herod.” The disciples talked this over and said to each other, “He must be saying this because we don’t have any bread.”
Jesus knew what they were thinking and asked, “Why are you talking about not having any bread? Don’t you understand? Are your minds still closed? Are your eyes blind and your ears deaf? Don’t you remember how many baskets of leftovers you picked up when I fed those five thousand people with only five small loaves of bread?”
“Yes,” the disciples answered. “There were twelve baskets.”
Jesus then asked, “And how many baskets of leftovers did you pick up when I broke seven small loaves of bread for those four thousand people?”
“Seven,” they answered.
“Don’t you know what I am talking about by now?” Jesus asked.
“Do you get it?” my 7 year old asks as he tells me yet another original joke. In truth, I don’t get it at all, but I’m thinking that 7 is a little young to burst the “I’m really funny” bubble. So I smile and say, “Yes, I get it. That was a good one.”
Recently, my husband attended a multi-denominational church service in which the speaker was admonishing the listeners because they just “didn’t get it”. The speaker kept throwing out words like “truth” and “salvation” and “sin” and “wickedness”. “Do you know why young people don’t go to church anymore?” the speaker asked. “Because they can’t handle the ‘truth’!”
My husband, being the realist he is, thought to himself: “No, the reason young people don’t go to church anymore is because they’re tired of hearing perverted theology.”
As Christians, I think we miss the point of the Gospel message a lot. And, if you look at the Scripture passage above, we’re in pretty good company! Instead of practicing love, we practice condemnation. Instead of practicing grace, we practice exclusion. We set up barriers around God’s salvation and, effectively, attempt to put God the Creator into our own human created box. In many ways, “Christians” have become today what the Pharisees were in Jesus’ time. Our rules and regulations, our requirements for “salvation”, our petty arguments over what a family looks like or who can and can’t take communion not only alienate others, they alienate us from truly experiencing the abundant love of God!
We are missing the point, just like the disciples did thousands of years ago. Look again at the Scripture passage above.
The disciples were traveling with Jesus across the Sea of Galilee. They had just (and I mean literally just) witnessed Jesus use seven loaves of bread and a couple of fish to feed a crowd of over 4,000 people. Jesus, as always, had had an altercation with the Pharisees who were constantly trying to test and question his authority. His warning to the disciples was about the perverted theology the religious leaders were spreading. But look at the disciples’ response. They’re worried about bread! They’re literally arguing with each other over who forgot to bring the bread!!
I love Jesus’ response to this argument: “Why are you talking about bread!? Don’t you get it?”
When we look at the Gospel message, I mean really look at it, Jesus’ message is pretty clear. Love God. Love others. Don’t judge. Don’t condemn. Don’t spew hate-filled messages. Don’t politicize your faith. Love others, especially those whom religious organizations have deemed “unworthy”. Love God. Love others.
When my husband and I attended the Storyline Conference this past February, author Donald Miller kept referring to people of Christian faith as “Jesus people”. I decided that’s a moniker I would like to adopt. I think being a “Jesus Girl” gets me closer to living the Gospel message than being a “Christian” does. Because being a “Jesus Girl” is about practicing love, and that’s really the legacy I want to leave.
Don’t get me wrong, I have a lot of growing to do. Being a “Jesus Girl” is a lot of work in our narcissistic competitive culture. There’s a lot of internal shifting that has to go on. I have to stop thinking about “bread” and remember the point of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. Jesus came to save, and his salvation came from a place of love. And that love is the same for you as it is for me.
So, I’m a Jesus Girl. And I have to say, I really like the sound of that name! 🙂
Blessings and Peace,