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Jesus and Foes, Fans & Followers

Notes: Sunday 17/03/2024

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Jesus comforts the discouraged. Jesus disrupts the comfortable.

Two weeks out from Easter - one of the dangers is familiarity. Liturgy helps turn our hearts' attention toward Jesus so that it's more than another long weekend. In the Catholic tradition, the two weeks leading up to Easter were called Passiontide (suffering-tide). While we are not saying let's follow every tradition, there is an invitation to be intentional about this time - to see in new ways the significance of this, to get lost in the wonder of the easter story, with new eyes, and to allow this to form and shape something in you. Over the next few weeks, we will follow the timeline to Easter.

As best as we know, John Chapter 11 captures the events a few weeks out from the Passover.


a/ Jewish people, under Roman occupation, were waiting for a promised Messiah,

b/ Deeply entrenched Education system, where only the top of the class moved to the next level:

- Bet Sefer House of the Book (6yrs old -12 years old - learning the Torah)

- Bet Talmud House of Learning (learning the Old Testament)

- Bet Rabban House of the Teacher (learning a Rabbi's interpretation of the scriptures)

- Invitation from a Rabbi - "Come follow me." (apprenticeship to become like the Rabbi)

c/ Pharisees (scholars, keepers of the written and oral law, the religious police.

John, so far has recorded 7 miracles that Jesus has done

- Ch2 turned water into wine

- Ch4 heals an official son, remotely

- Ch5 healed a lame man at the pool after 38 years

- Ch 6 feeds 5000 people

- Ch 6 walks on water

- Ch 9 restores the sight of a man born blind

- Ch 11 raises Lazarus from the dead

John 11:45-57

45 Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him. 46 But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. 47 Then the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin.

“What are we accomplishing?” they asked. “Here is this man performing many signs. 48 If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our temple and our nation.”

49 Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, “You know nothing at all! 50 You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.”

51 He did not say this on his own, but as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation, 52 and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one. 53 So from that day on they plotted to take his life. 54 Therefore Jesus no longer moved about publicly among the people of Judea. Instead, he withdrew to a region near the wilderness, to a village called Ephraim, where he stayed with his disciples.55 When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, many went up from the country to Jerusalem for their ceremonial cleansing before the Passover. 56 They kept looking for Jesus, and as they stood in the temple courts they asked one another, “What do you think? Isn’t he coming to the festival at all?” 57 But the chief priests and the Pharisees had given orders that anyone who found out where Jesus was should report it so that they might arrest him.

In this text, there are some foes, fans and followers of Jesus.


Pharisees and their plot…

The self-righteous heart is threatened by what Jesus will disrupt

In which areas of life is Jesus not welcome? Where do you shut down the voice of the Holy Spirit?


What do you think? Is he coming to the Passover? What is going to happen? Fans cheer from the sidelines but are quick to disappear into the crowd.


"Follower" is not the best word because of social media: you can "follow" by clicking a button and remain far removed. Believer is also not a great word. And many believed in him - means so much more than "I believe in Jesus" (so do the devils - James 2:19)

Apprentice, disciple is better. It is faith, trust, believing into, and accepting the "Come and follow me, and become like me" invitation from the rabbi. It is a radical reorganization, taking the yoke of the rabbi on you, becoming like him, for the sake of others.

  • Fans choose churches on preferences, followers recognize God plants them in churches

  • Fans say "peace-out" when offenses come, while followers pursue peace-making

  • Fans see Gospel freedom as liberty to pursue happiness, followers see Gospel freedom as liberty to pursue holiness and righteous living (not for approval, but because of approval).

  • Fans tip, followers tithe

No guilt trip intended but could it be that so many of us "believe in Jesus" but our actions resemble fans more than followers, disciples, or apprentices?

I want to be a (better) follower, and there are parts of my life where I resemble a fan and parts where I resemble a foe.

Are you a FAN or a FOLLOWER of Jesus?

If you are a FAN, what needs to change to become a FOLLOWER?

All of us, start as FOES. Through Jesus' work on the cross, the door is thrown open wide, he offers forgiveness of sin, silencing condemnation, and disarming the enemy.

Romans 5:10

For if, while we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved.

To be a follower then, means to be formed into the likeness of the Rabbi, Jesus, for the sake of others. That means taking up his invitation to "Come, follow me"

 Philippians 1:6  being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

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