For the past couple months, a verse has continuously come up in my thoughts. It’s Peter’s question to Jesus “Lord, to whom shall I go? You alone hold the words of life.” So I want to focus on this in my next two posts.
Meditating on the context gives so much depth to this passage. This is the sixth chapter of John, very soon after Jesus has fed the 5000, walked on water, and transported a boat across the sea. He has a large group of loyal followers, but this group is clinging to the dust as David would say (Psalm 119). Jesus has had to speak truth, although offensive. But it was necessary, this crowd was thinking fleshly, worldly thoughts. He had to introduce to them the eternal mindset that would be necessary. Jesus had to test their hearts with the fire of His truth. He knew what would happen, but he did what most of us would not: he spoke the truth for their sakes rather than preserving his own comfort.
One of the last things he says to them is that his words are spirit and life; they are not flesh (Jn 6:63). These words have the power to create, sustain, and redeem. Flesh simply dies, but these words are eternal. They want manna…they want signs…what they can taste, what they can see. He calls them to the difficult place of walking by faith. And they, as most of us do, refuse. (See Song of Songs 2:10, 3:1). He has been rejected by his peers, friends, travelling companions because of this truth. Now here he is, fully human, bearing the pain of rejection and loss. Left alone with the disciples, he turns and asks, “Do you also want to go away?” (Will you leave me too?)” Imagine the vulnerability of our God! After all, each of those disciples also had free will to respond at that moment–“yes. Your truth is too hard”. But Peter speaks for the group a response filled with understanding.
“Lord, to whom shall we go? You alone hold the words of eternal life.”
How proud and strengthened he must have been in that moment. He even says, “Did I not choose you?” Imagine the smile and the loving look in his eyes as he looked at them–filled with the joy and pride of a father, the heartfelt love of a brother. Probably tears of relief brimmed his eyes.
Peter was saying so much in this moment. He was declaring who Jesus was, the perfection of his leadership, his faithfulness. Peter was also confessing the power of His word. It was a confession of the fear of the lord in Peter and the disciples. It’s an amazing confession. I have truly loved studying it out. I’ll post more on this tomorrow.