Cross Sculpture on Campus



To Whom Shall We Go?

Lent 2022

Read John 6:60-71

60 When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” 61 But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples were grumbling about this, said to them, “Do you take offense at this? 62 Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? 63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. 64 But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) 65 And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”

66 After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. 67 So Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” 68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, 69 and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” 70 Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the twelve? And yet one of you is a devil.” 71 He spoke of Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the twelve, was going to betray him.

It is hard to understand the crowds of disciples who left Jesus after seeing his miracles, but this reveals how difficult his message can seem to sinners. At times, Jesus’ words might be hard to understand but, most often, we find them difficult simply because they are contrary to our expectations. They are contrary to the world, contrary to our sinful flesh, contrary to our will, and contrary to human reason.

Jesus has a reason for saying that the way to life is narrow and hard (Matthew 7:13-14). His teaching reveals our sins, our helplessness, and our need for someone else to intervene. Everything in our fallen human nature wants to prove our own worthiness or fix our own wrongs. Everything in the world expects every exchange to come at a cost, and expects God to work the same way, and by our standards.

“Do you want to leave me as well?” Faith only has one response: “Where would we go? What would become of us? You have the words of eternal life.” It wasn’t because the disciples had it all figured out. We don’t either. His ways are still, in many ways, a mystery and contrary to our expectations. However, led by the Spirit who works faith in us, our response is similar to the disciples. “Where would we go? No Lord, there is no one else. You have life. We will sit at your feet. We will seek your counsel. We will hear your word. Though your way can be a mystery to us, you are the source of grace. We will not leave, but run to you, more eager and attentive to your words of eternal life.

Prayer: Holy Spirit, strengthen and sustain my faith that each day my response may be, “Lord, you have the words of eternal life.” Amen.

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