And when they found him across the sea they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you get here?” John 6:25
The question exposes Jesus’ Lordship.
They searched for him, they looked for him. Maybe looking for miracles, more miracles. Maybe wanting for more wisdom. Thirsting for more healing. More demons to be driven away. He just fed these five thousand and they were looking for him. Across the sea, they found him. He got in there first. He was ahead of his people. He was there before them. He leads his people.
God never leaves you, in fact, he leads you. He never shows you a way he will never tread. When he tells you to go to a certain direction, he goes ahead of you. Before you blaze the trail, he already has. Before you step on an unfamiliar territory, he goes to test it for you. So you’ll know you can walk that way. So, you’ll know you can make it to the other side. So you’ll know you can cross the sea.
Do you have a sea to cross? A cancer to struggle. An employment to maintain. A marriage on the rocks. Family problems too much to bear. A Christian life, one trial less before to slide. A friendship in opposition of your faith. A dependence on false gods. A natural disaster to survive.
Look ahead. Jesus is there.
He goes ahead of you.
And he came down with them and stood on a stretch of level ground. A great crowd of his disciples and a large number of the people from all Judea and Jerusalem and the coastal region of Tyre and Sidon came to hear him and to be healed of their diseases… Luke 6:17-18a
The verses above signify three levels of followers of Jesus.
The first level of following Him may be illustrated by the members of the large number of people. Maybe these are the people who want something from Him yet do not want what He wants for them. People who come to Him during time of their needs. They come when they are sick. They come to Him when they are hungry. They follow Him for their benefits. They look for Him when they needed someone to look after them. And when they are satisfied, they stop following.
The next level, unnamed disciples who may have followed Jesus closely but not close enough to be named. They were described as part of a great crowd of disciples. Luke has not identified them maybe for lack of space in the manuscript or maybe you may not remember their names since they are part of a great crowd. A person who works with you but you don’t know he is a Christian- he considers himself as a silent operator. A friend who says as long she is fulfilling all church obligations and is not doing any harm to anybody then she is OK. They take the safe route when opposition to the faith sets in the discussion.
Third, the twelve disciples, these men followed Him closely and were named in the preceding verses. So, what is the big fuss about Luke’s enumeration of their name? They were exposed as Disciples of Christ. Men who stood where Jesus stood (v. 17). These followers spent their day and nights with Him. They ate with Him. They walk with Him. They rested with Him or on Him. They were witnesses in everything He did. As Jesus exposed Himself to be the Savior, they exposed themselves as His followers.
Our direction is to ascend to the levels. May we not remain being part of the people for the rest of our lives. May we desire to be named and be exposed in following Him. May we follow Him close enough, enough to be like Him. May we step from one level to another.
Nicodemus, one of their members who had come to him earlier, said to them, Does our law condemn a person before it first hears him and finds out what he is doing? John 7:50-51
He was only one of the members. He was only one voice among many echoes. One experience with Jesus might have change the way he looks at things. The Pharisees are making a judgment on Jesus yet they have not heard from Jesus or have not seen what Jesus was doing. And at this point, Nicodemus reminded them about the law, “Does our law condemn a person before it first hears him and finds out what he is doing?” No matter how the situation places Nicodemus’ reminder as out place, he made up his mind to remind them. When the crowd and the Pharisees were going nowhere, Nicodemus gave them a reminder about the right way. When his troops were clogging in a dead end, Nicodemus reminded them of what takes away the clogging.
We should be like Nicodemus. We should remind people the right way when our friends are taking a wrong path. We should bring light to their clouded hearts and minds by being a reminder. We should take God’s laws into heart as we help people remember His directions to fullness of life. Even when the reminder will be unpopular, speak like Nicodemus. Even when the reminder will be shunned, stand up like Nicodemus.
We should listen to Nicodemus. If a brother or a sister reminds you of God’s ways, embrace the reminder. Give your full attention to your pastor, to your priest, or to your leader when they remind you when you are out of your mind. Carefully digest that Lucado book you are holding, as it reminds you of His love and His mercy. Turn your ears one-hundred percent to your wife and daughters who reminds you of God’s fatherly love. Welcome a reminder in your midst. Welcome a Nicodemus in your life.
Be reminded and be a reminder.