Jesus said a lot of provocative stuff that makes it hard to follow him. Almost half of the book of John takes place in the last week of his life, a time when he was extremely focused. Everything he said laid the groundwork for his death. Read from chapter 12 on sometime and see if it doesn’t challenge you. For those who want to make Jesus “seeker friendly,” his words don’t sound particularly inviting. For example, there’s John 14:6, : “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except by me.”
Seeker friendly that. Any way you slice it, Jesus doesn’t water down his tough-as-nails gospel.
Among other things, Jesus told his disciples that they would be hated and persecuted. And he told them to remain in him, connected like a branch to a vine. In other words, we’re to be in a very close relationship with him.
Because we in America are often so focused on getting things done, we can struggle with the balance between being in relationship and actually doing something. I often hear Christians talk about the importance of being rather than doing. We make much of the story of Mary and Martha where Jesus gives Martha a mild rebuke for being busy doing stuff while Mary hangs out.
But Jesus is all about maintaining the tension between doing and being as he prepares to go to his death. Listen to his words in chapters 14 and 15:
” Anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these.”
“If you love me, you will obey what I command.”
“Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me.”
“If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching.”
“If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love.”
“Go and bear fruit – fruit that will last.”
If we feel a tension between doing and being, then Jesus seems to want us to live in it.