Not everyone likes Starbucks. I once read about a lady who was thrown out of Starbucks for arguing (full story here). She didn't like it when she ordered a bagel and had to answer an additional question, "Would you like butter or jelly with that?". Life can be hard, believe me. Another customer complained about the residue at the bottom of her cup. The employee told her it was from the whip cream & caramel syrup and asked if the customer didn't want those items in her next coffee order. The customer replied, "NO I want those, just not the reside." Welcome to life where we can't always get what we want.
How often do we try to order life like Starbucks coffee?
- Let me get a grande life, extra hot, with a double shot of good health
- Can I have a pleasure mocha with extra stirrings of indulgence. Make sure it is consequence free
Then we are surprised when we don't get what we ordered. Imagine the shock of tasting an espresso when you ordered decaf. Imagine the shock of ordering a house in the suburbs only to end up in a studio apartment in the city. I wanted my eduction and then kids, not triplets during my junior year. We pay life for our order and then beg that they keep the change.
The disciples encountered a time when they received something completely different from what they ordered. It was the night Jesus was going to be betrayed and he drops a bombshell on them. But before we can get to his statement we must look at the context. Jesus had attracted many crowds but the last year of his ministry saw a plummet in the polls of his popularity.
- John 6:4--Passover--April--1 year before his crucifixion. He feeds the multitudes and they try to take him by force to be their king (6:15). Jesus, not wanting to be an earthly king, begins to teach them that He is the bread of life. The result is that many quit following him (6:66)
- John 7:1-2--Feast of Booths--Sept/Oct--6 months before crucifixion. He couldn't go to the feast openly because the Jews were seeking to hurt/kill him (7:6-8) so he went up in secret (7:9-10). At this time the lines are being drawn and the crowds, who once followed him, are being sharply divided (7:10-13; 43).
- John 10:22-23--Feast of Dedication--Late December--4 months before crucifixion. The Jews have put a bounty of Jesus. He has a death sentence (10:24-31). So he retreats from Jerusalem to live in the secluded hill country (10:40; 11:53-55).
This is the atmosphere in Jerusalem during John 13 at Jesus' last Passover. It is past the evening and becoming late at night. Jesus has sent the disciples into the city to prepare a place to eat the supper. He secretly joins them so that he could prepare them, undisturbed, for what is to come. Put yourself in their place. They have cast their lot with Jesus. It was great when he was feeding the multitudes, casting out demons, healing people, and his popularity was skyrocketing. But now hope seems all but lost. Maybe they are holding out hope that Jesus can resurrect his popularity once again, enthrone himself, and they will finally get to sit on his right & left hand in the Kingdom.
Then Jesus says, "Little children, I am with you a little while longer. You will seek Me; and as I said to the Jews, now I also say to you, 'Where I am going, you cannot come.'" (John 13:33). He has been with them this whole time, they are guilty by association, and now he is leaving them?!?! Ouch!!! He just destroyed their Security.
Jesus handed them a cup of major transition and they pushed it back screaming, "This is not what I ordered!" (14:3-5). What they failed to see is that this was all part of God's Strategy. Life comes in seasons (Ecclesiastes 3:18) and their season of being discipled by Jesus has come to an end. We see this throughout the Bible
- Gideon went from Farmer to General
- David went from Shepherd to King
- Mary went from peasant girl to Mother of Christ
- Paul went from a Rabbi to World Evangelist
- You went from _______________ to ___________________
During the time of transition we must keep the main thing the main thing (14:15). Many churches have split over the color of the carpet, that someone painted a Sunday School classroom and took down the picture they donated 25 years ago, etc... We can choose to bicker or focus on the goal.
When God changes what you ordered take heart that he will always send help to balance us out. He promised the disciples to send the Spirit to fill in the gap Jesus would leave. It is Thursday night; by Sunrise they will abandon Jesus. At 9am Jesus is on the cross. 24 hours from now Jesus will be dead and buried, their hopes buried alongside him. But Jesus reminds them that it is to their advantage he goes away (16:7)
- The Spirit is called "Another" (14:16). Jesus was the first, the Spirit is now going to fill this hole.
- They were worried who would tell them what to teach/preach or where to go. The Spirit would give them a perfect memory (14:26) and guide them into further truth (16:13)
- Jesus reminds them that he is not leaving them as orphans (14:18)
We often focus on the ordering process when God wants us to focus on the goal; Salvation. The Church has to constantly change their methods in approaching the culture. That means we will always change the style of music, the way we present our message, our communications, our technology, our building aesthetics, etc... There is a balance, usually financially, in approaching this change but we can never forget the end goal which is salvation.
Bad reasons to change:
- For the sake of change
- To outdo the church down the road
- To be like the culture
- To grow numerically
- To get more money
The only sufficient reason to change as a church is to win more souls for Christ. Jesus had to leave the disciples or we would have all died in our sins. Thank God for giving us what we did not order. When has God done this in your life?