After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. So Jesus said to the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”
Jesus has just finished giving the people a hard teaching. He told them that He was the bread from Heaven, and if they hoped to be part of God’s Kingdom and live forever they had to eat of His body. This was a teaching that the people did not understand, and they left grumbling. They had pursued Jesus with the hope of making Him king, and now they left His presence confused.
I think we can learn a very important lesson from the verses leading up to John 6:66. Here is the lesson we need to remember: we should never be afraid to tell people the truth. In terms of contemporary evaluation Jesus has just preached His worst sermon. He started with thousands of followers, and ends up with just a handful. This sermon drove off thousands of people, and Jesus let them go. Jesus demonstrates to us that faith is more important than numbers. We often get this the other way around. In our churches we will sacrifice faith for numbers. I have been part of church families where you have to walk on egg shells around certain people because they might get mad and leave the church, and so the rest of the people are left unchallenged by the truth. Sometimes the best thing that can happen to a church is the loss of certain people. It is not always a bad thing when people choose to walk way from Jesus.
As we begin to look at John 6:66-69, we notice that Jesus seems to invite His twelve disciples to leave as well. I would suggest that this question Jesus offers is an opportunity for the Twelve to evaluate why they remain with Jesus. These men had to come to grips with why they followed this Man who made such outrageous claims about Himself.
I think life often throws at us circumstances that provide us with opportunities to examine why we continue to follow Jesus. It could be when your husband/wife is diagnosed with cancer or when you have been unemployed for 6 months and God hasn’t answered your prayers for a new job. I would bet that you have had more than one crisis of belief that forced you to examine your faith. I know I have.
That is why Peter’s words ring through the centuries. The reason we remain faithful to Jesus is because we have discovered that He alone has the words of life. We have come to know that Jesus is indeed the Son of God, who has come to save us from sin and death.
One of the thoughts that I had which helped me through my last crisis of belief 3 years ago was: Jesus brings meaning and understanding to life. In other words, it wasn’t about evidences and arguments, but it was the difference that Jesus had already made in my life that convinced me that faith in Jesus was worth it. Isn’t that what Peter was saying? What they had already heard, seen, and experienced had caused them to put their faith in Jesus. They realized that only Jesus had the words of life that they needed. I pray that we all come to that realization.
Point to Ponder: Only Jesus has the words of life that we need.
Passage to Remember: John 6:66-69
Prayer to Pray: Heavenly Father, Open my ears so I may hear the words of Jesus and soften my heart so I will apply those words to my life...