Tens of thousands are following Jesus after being the recipients of an incredible miracle. All fed in abundance – with leftovers even – from only five loaves of bread and several fish. THIS is who they want to follow. They will never go without as long as they put their hope in Him.
But Jesus has something to say about that. The bread – even miraculous bread; even the manna their ancestors received daily from God – will not ultimately satisfy. The bread will digest. The day will pass. They will be hungry yet again.
He wants them to be crystal clear about who and what they are following. Jesus – His body; His being – is the bread of life.
Confused still, they ask what they must do to work the works of God. In essence saying, “show us the formula so that we may follow it and never be hungry.”
Jesus again seeks to clarify... It is not in the doing; it is in the believing. In His flesh, sent from heaven, is the bread of life. Upon this, they must eat.
“This is a hard saying,” the chorus, once passionately chasing after Him, echoes. “Who can listen to it,” they continue as one by one they walk away.
Thousands reduced to handfuls. Jesus isn’t about numbers; He is about truth and followers who know what they are getting into.
“Do you want to go away as well?” Jesus asks the Twelve remaining.
Speaking for the group, Peter responds, “Lord, to whom shall we go?”
There is an underlying implication that this is something he has given prior consideration to.
“You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God,” Peter continues.
Life is hard. Some things in the Bible are hard. Things are difficult to understand. Some of the words feel uncomfortable, demanding, convicting, confusing. Many want what Jesus offers, but not on His terms. The idea of taking up our cross and following Him is not what they had in mind. The idea of surrendering to Him rubs their ego the wrong way. The idea of Him as the only way to eternal life goes against their reason.
But to whom else would we go?
We might think we want to have some control over saving ourselves…but do we really? It is impossible!
We might think we want a God who never punishes or expects hard things from us…but do we really? We crave a just God who can make all wrongs right.
We might think we want a God who looks the other way on sin – after all, it is a personal decision; no one else’s problem or business….but do we really? That only leads to suffering and bondage, not freedom.
We might wonder if God really exists; if it is all just a big cosmic accident…but do we really? Our souls desire purpose and order.
John Piper says, “Peter said implicitly, Lord, wherever we look for another Lord, another way, another friend, another philosophy, another view of God, another salvation, another meaning, they all come up short. We can’t walk away. You have the words of life.”
On this side of heaven, we will never have all the answers or understand the fullness of a big God, but to whom else would we go? Truth is truth, and truth is life. Where else would we go?
“…choose this day whom you will serve…But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15
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