2007-09-20 - Where Will We Go?
John 6:66-68 As a result of this many of His disciples withdrew, and were not walking with Him anymore. 67 Jesus said therefore to the twelve, "You do not want to go away also, do you?" 68 Simon Peter answered Him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life. (NASB)
Jesus has just dropped a bomb on the crowd that was following Him. "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves." On the face of this statement, Jesus is requiring cannibalism. Many in the crowd backed away at this point and went home. They were unable to accept this as realistic. Those that remained were probably sitting on pins and needles hoping that Jesus would clarify His remarks.
The Lord turns to his traveling companions and asks them if they are planning to leave Him as well. It is not outside my realm of thinking that Jesus may have been disappointed at the number of people who had left. This is a hard thing for us to get our heads around. The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are all individual beings and part of the Trinity at the same time. Another hard thing for us is that, even though they each know all things from the beginning to the end, and so are never surprised, they have feelings. Jesus wept at the tomb of Lazarus. He wept over the city of Jerusalem. He blessed the children who were brought to Him and scolded His Disciples for trying to keep them away. Jesus was livid with the Pharisees as He pronounced the seven woes (Matt 23:13-36) on them.
Jesus asks very plainly - are any of you planning to leave too? These twelve men may have been quietly been trying to make sense of Jesus' pronouncement. Peter steps up and replies that they have no real place to go. No one else has given them the sure hope of eternity and eternal life. They are bound by the witness of the Spirit within their hearts that the words Jesus speaks are undeniable truth.
We who call ourselves Christians have this same witness and hope in our hearts today. It may feel funny to say, "I met God." It may be hard to articulate. But it is no less true that we have done exactly that. We do not hear His audible voice today, but we read His words and they ring as truth in our hearts and lives. They are not just true, like 2+2=4 is true. They are from the source of Truth that created the framework in which all mathematics and science exist.
I'm sure it was a sobering moment for at least a few of the Disciples. It was a life moment where the question shifts a life from one direction to another. Just as there was no one and nowhere else to go for Peter and his friends, it is the same for us who nod our heads with Peter. We may not understand everything, and we don't clearly, but our hearts and minds have been touched by the presence of God. We know that we know that we know beyond doubting that Jesus is Who He claims to be. We know that He is still alive today sitting at the right hand of the Father. Is there any logic or evidence that we can present that creates an iron-clad argument? There are compelling points. But without the witness we have inside us, even the compelling points are interesting, but not iron-clad in most cases.
In times of joy or in very, very difficult times, the witness of the Holy Spirit of God lives within us. There are times when we will be overwhelmed by our defeats and our sorrows. We may be knocked down, but we will never be knocked out if we lean on Him and trust Him to lead us through the darkness. Where else can we go to find that kind of assurance? Find strength in that assurance. It will pour out of your life and your actions.
John 7:38 "He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, 'From his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.'" (NASB)