So Jesus asked the twelve, “Do you also wish to go away?”
Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom can we go?
You have the words of eternal life.” (John 6:67-68, NRSV)
Jesus had just finished speaking to a large group of “would-be” followers about discipleship. Some found his words difficult to accept or believe, while still others were downright offended. “Because of this, many of his disciples turned back and no longer went about with him” (John 6:66). Regrettably, I think I know a little about how some of those people thought and felt. How about you?
So often we want Jesus to fit into our plans, to do what he does on our terms, to give what he gives for what we are willing to give up. If only Jesus would do it our way. Problem is, our way just doesn’t work. But thank God (and I mean that literally) that Jesus gives those/us who pursue him a chance to clear our heads, to sort things out, to ultimately get a handle on the bottom line … like he did with Peter.
We know that Peter did not fully understand all that Jesus was trying to teach, and we certainly know that Peter struggled at coming to terms with what real discipleship is. But amidst all Peter’s confusion, he could still grasp the foundational essence of what Jesus was offering, and he knew there was no better place in all the world for him to be than with Christ Jesus.
I think we are much like Peter. We hear what Jesus asks of us—as individuals, as a church congregation, as disciples—and we sometimes find it difficult … we may even sometimes take offense. But to whom else can we go? For his are the words of eternal life; Christ’s promise has no equal.
This month we will be entering into the 40 days of Lent leading up to Easter, and in so doing, exploring just how important to us Jesus’ way is that we may find the true life we all long for, both temporally and eternally. In our journey, we will do our best to walk with Jesus, learning about and embracing his walk to the cross … the cross that he used to secure our salvation, and true life. I hope you make joining this journey to Easter Sunday a priority. As well, prayerfully consider inviting someone you know to come and join you on that walk.
For, when Jesus asks us the question, “Do you also wish to go away?” … may we reply, “No way, Lord, we are going to stay right here with you.”
May you always have awareness of God’s blessing in your life … Pastor Bob