It may surprise some when I say being a "Fan" of Jesus is not a good thing. Let me explain.
Websters Dictionary defines a Fan like this:
: an enthusiastic devotee (as of a sport or a performing art) usually as a spectator.
A fan buys the tickets goes to the games sits on the sidelines and cheers the team on. As a rule as long as the team is winning the fan is there to support it. But when the team has a losing season the fans thin out. Fans come and go and so do the teams they support.
Jesus on the other hand is looking for followers not fans
If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
Matt 16:24 (KJV)
Being a Christian is not a spectator sport, it is a lifestyle.
In an event that is very familiar to many of us, Jesus feeds over 5000 people on a hillside beside the Sea of Galilee with Five loaves of bread and two fish. You will find this story in John chapter 6:1-15
Jesus is addressing a crowd that has now grown to over 5000 people. Jesus has never been more popular. Word is spreading about the miracles, the healings and His teaching. The crowd has come together to cheer Jesus on. teaching all day and He knows these people are getting hungry. So He turns to His disciples and ask how they are going to feed all these people. Phillip said we only have 200 penny worth of bread and that is not enough. That would have been about 8 months wages. Andrew tells Jesus that there is a lad in the crowd that has 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish. Jesus says well make them sit down . Jesus took the young boy's bag lunch blessed it and fed the entire crowd. Then after everybody has eaten and were full they gathered up the extra that was left over.
After dinner the crowd decided to stay over night so thy could see Jesus the next day. These really must have been some big time fans of Jesus! So the next morning they wake up and guess what they are hungry. So they began looking for Jesus after all he has the meal ticket, but Jesus is not there. Much to their surprise in the middle of the night Jesus and the disciples got in a boat and went to Capernaum. So they too when they had realized where Jesus had gone took ships and went to Capernaum. John 6:24.
By the time they find Him they are starving, they had missed the breakfast buffet, and they were ready to find out what was on the lunch menu. But Jesus had decided to shut down the all you can eat buffet. He is not handing out any more free samples.
Here is what He says to them:
26 Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled.
John 6:26 (KJV)
Jesus knows that these people are not going to all this trouble because they are following Him, but because they want some more free food. Was it Jesus they really wanted, or were they interested in what He could do for them? Jesus offers himself to them, but would that be enough?
35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.
John 6:35 (KJV)
Suddenly Jesus is the only thing on the menu. The crowd will have to decide if He is enough or do they need something else.
Here is the outcome: From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.
John 6:66 (KJV)
This is not referring to the 12 chosen by Jesus this was the people in the crowd. A disciple was a pupil or a learner a student. Many of Jesus' "Fans" turned and went home.
Jesus had many fans during His ministry. They followed Him to see the miracles, to hear this strange teaching that they had never heard before. This crowd was following Him looking for another free meal. What He did not have was many followers. Jesus said "Many will seek Me but few will find Me"
This is still true today. Jesus has many fans who sit on the sidelines and cheer Him on. They go to church, their grandma and grandpa were Christians. They even came to the altar one night after a 12 minute version of Just As I Am. Their name is on a church roll somewhere. The ringtone on their phone is a worship song. On Face Book under religious views it says Christ Follower. But a fan is a fan and a fan is all they are! Because see these are the first ones to leave church when things don't go their way. These are the ones who come to church until their crisis is over and they go back home. These are the ones who cause all the division in the church because it is all about them and what they want and not about Jesus.
One of the most chilling passages of scripture in the Bible talks about a day when many who consider themselves a follower of Jesus are stunned when they find out He don't even recognize them.
21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
Matt 7:21-23 (KJV)
Notice what Jesus does when all these people leave and go home. He does 'Nothing" He does not soften His message to make it more appealing. He don't send a detail of disciples after them with a creative handout inviting them to come back for a "build your own sundae" ice cream social. he seems perfectly OK with the fact that His popularity has plummeted.
Jesus was not concerned with the size of the crowd, He was more concerned with their level of commitment. As a pastor I had rather pastor a church with 10 committed individuals than to pastor a church with a thousand fans.
If your church is full of fans somebody will have to keep them entertained to get them to stay. But if your church is filled with followers of Jesus they will come because they love Jesus. You will have to remind a fan from time to time that you have church on Sunday. But a follower knows where they are supposed to be on Sunday.
Are you a "Follower of Jesus" or are you a "Fan of Jesus" It does make a difference!