Yesterday Pastor Jay introduced us to the Art of Facilitating. We saw that the Art of Facilitating comes from the belief that people learn best when they discover truths for themselves through a well-facilitated process so they are more fully invested in the outcomes.
To a certain extent, the Art of Facilitating involves exercising the Arts of listening, asking questions, and serving together. But at its core, it is helping to make the faith engaging and interactive for people so they see themselves, not as mere receptacles for information, but as being invited into a dynamic relationship with Jesus.
In our text today we have an example of Jesus practicing facilitating in taking His disciple’s faith to a deeper level.
The chapter presents for us a day in the life in Jesus’ ministry. The day began with a crowd looking for Jesus. It ended with the crowd rejecting Jesus. The chapter begins with Jesus feeding 5000 people and walking on the water. It ends with Jesus wondering if even His twelve disciples would remain with Him as so many others had left.
The crowd loved Jesus as long as He was giving them bread and filling their stomachs. But once Jesus turned the tables and let it be known that access to God was on His terms not theirs, they were no longer interested in Jesus. The Bible says that “As a result of this [teaching] many of His disciples withdrew, and were not walking with Him anymore.” (John 6:66).
And then Jesus turned to the twelve to give them a gut-check. He didn’t resort to telling them what they had to believe or manipulating them to stay with Him. But He put a question to them to see where they were at. “You do not want to go away also, do you?” (Verse 67). I do not think Jesus was stoic when He asked the question. I think He was very somber. Nevertheless, He put the question in their laps for them to consider their ownership of their answer.
This made the disciples look deep inside to assess their devotion to Jesus. Were they in it for personal gain or because they believed Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life? I don’t know how long it took for Peter to come up with the answer he did, but I do know that it wasn’t something he read off the wall chart in Sunday School. It came from personal experience. I’ll paraphrase, but only slightly. “Lord, we have no place else to go. We have given up everything because we have believed in your words of eternal life.” The process of growing in discipleship is constant. But I have no doubt that after this facilitated encounter the disciples were not the same.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, may my pursuit of others in the Great Commission be not merely be for their heads but their hearts.