“When many of His disciples heard it, they said, ‘This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?’ … After this many of His disciples turned back and no longer walked with Him. So Jesus said to the twelve, ‘Do you want to go away as well?'” – John 6:60,66-67
How often do we soften who Jesus is to coerce others into following Him? How much weight do we place on how much Jesus can do for us, how much pressure He can take from us, and how much peace He can give us while at the same time we so gingerly dance around that following Jesus costs everything? We must daily take up our cross and live a life of difficult choices all to the glory of Christ.
And yet we can so easily be proud of ourselves when we guide someone to say the sinner’s prayer, while all that’s going through their mind is an easier life where Jesus takes all of their problems away. Who wouldn’t want more peace? Truly many “disciple makers” of today create seeds thrown on rocks without much soil, who quickly spring up but are scorched by the sun. With no root, they wither away. (Matthew 13:5-6)
Jesus did not sell Himself, nor did He panic when the vast majority of disciples walked away from His difficult message in Luke. To take it a step further, He asked the remaining twelve disciples if they wanted to leave as well.
For a root to grow, for the true beauty of Christ to be seen, and for believers to stay firm in Jesus through all of the new trials that come with following Him, we must eagerly search the Scriptures to know God better. The Bible is the big love letter that God has given us to know Him. This is the primary method through which God speaks! We find numerous benefits to studying Scripture in the very beginning of the Psalms:
“… but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on His law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.” – Psalm 1:2-3
Notice the same language being used; the seed scattered on the rock has little soil, no root, and is scorched. But when we meditate on the law of God (that is, the Bible) we may be like trees planted by the water, with leaves that don’t wither and even producing the fruits that come from internalizing and acting on Scripture.
And so we find what we must communicate to make real, solid, growing disciples – Scripture. We are not “selling” Jesus, that is, watering down the Gospel, sharing only what He can offer us and how He can better our lives, but we must also share tough biblical truths about how we can’t save ourselves, and He is the only way to Heaven. When we encounter someone who rejects Jesus is when the urge to soften our message to appease them arises. Do not be mean or nasty, but hold to Biblical truth, not people. “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.” – Colossians 4:6
In the end of verse 3 of the Psalm, we find, “In all that he does, he prospers.” The man who meditates on scripture prospers in what he does… could this include making disciples of Jesus? Of course! When we are more biblically-saturated we are more prepared in and out of season to preach the Word, reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. (2 Timothy 4:2) We are also able to “walk in wisdom toward outsiders.” (Colossians 4:5a)
Saturate yourselves in the Word, and teach the Word. It is God speaking.