Today’s Reading John 6:1 – John 15:17
Not one of them. Not Best Smile, Cutest Couple, nor Most Likely To Succeed. Definitely not Most Popular. Not one. I wanted one, any of them. High School was not exactly a crowning achievement of mine. So I wasn’t surprised when the Year Book came out in my Senior Year and I did not receive any of the superlatives. I wasn’t surprised but I know I felt it would have been nice to get just one.
Popularity is something we all don’t get to experience. It is something that many of us wanted when we were younger though. Sometimes perhaps we may feel the desire even as we mature. At the very least we want to be liked and that seems reasonable.
It has always fascinated me when I re-read this section of the Gospel of John. We start today’s reading finding out Jesus’ had never been more popular. People were flocking from all over to see him and to hear him. They came to see miraculous signs and wonders. They came to experience his power. They were going to make him king.
It fascinates me that it was this moment Jesus chose to deliver one of his toughest teachings. I am the Bread of Life, Jesus said., Eat my flesh and live. Drink my blood and have everlasting life. These were not throw-away lines like they can become in a communion liturgy. Jesus was challenging them to understand what it meant that he was there. Jesus wanted them to understand what it meant to follow him.
How many of us would be willing to speak truth THAT bold when we are at our most popular at school, work, or at home? How many of us would try to find a different way to say what needed to be said? Too often it seems, I find myself focused in on the wrong thing, the wrong kind of numbers.
Jesus gives us what we need. Jesus gives us Truth. He is not worried about popularity. Jesus is worried about people. Jesus is committed to God the Father.
Am I ?