Simon Peter answered him,“Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.
When Jesus preached about unheard of ideas like eating the flesh of the Son of Man and drinking his blood to gain eternal life, one disciple remarked, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?” [John 6:60] – and indeed, many disciples deserted Jesus [John 6:66]. It’s not that hard to comprehend, is it? Most of us would probably have stayed away from Him if we were from that era and heard those things, too. When Jesus questioned if his twelve most intimate disciples were going to leave him as well, Peter, the face and the voice of the disciples – outspoken and a daredevil, whom with his pure and simple faith said and did many things that stood out from the rest of the disciples – answered ‘to whom shall we go?’. Who else can we go to? In this study we will ask ourselves this question and reflect upon the possible answers.
Simon Peter answered him – we don’t know if the other disciples made any remarks or gave any answers, but Peter, as usual was the one who was recorded to have answered. It matches well with the impression we get of him from the authors of the Gospel books. He’s vocal, brave, and full of faith. When one of the disciples answer a question of Jesus, we generally see him as a representative of the disciples, a voice of the disciples, but sometimes I wonder if it was a collaborative or mutual answer. How many of the other disciples truly felt as strongly as Peter did?
“Lord, to whom shall we go? – Peter could have just answered, “no, we are not leaving.” That would be sufficient. That would have been a sufficient reflection of his faith. But no, he asked a rhetorical question, in which the full quality and simplicity of his faith was revealed. “Lord, to whom shall we go?” Have you ever found yourself in a circumstance where you’re up against the wall and you feel helpless because you do not know what to do or where to go? Perhaps in times of suffering and trial – like Job, whom despite all his pain and his moaning and for all his grievances against the Lord, he knew that there is no-one else to turn to except God. The context in which Jesus and the disciples were in was not one of suffering, however. It was a pursuit of eternal life. It was a pursuit of the true teaching.
You have the words of eternal life – Peter believed. Peter accepted the teaching that was hard. Peter truly believed that by eating his flesh and drinking his blood, eternal life will be bestowed upon him. Peter knew that only with Jesus would he hear the teaching of eternal life. Indeed, it was that simple. Nowhere else, no-one else at that time would have preached about eternal life. No Pharisee or rabbi would have taught about that. No teacher of the past ever taught about that. But Jesus, and only Jesus, did. It was hard to understand, but at the same time it was simple. Peter just needed to believe in Jesus.
And he did.
It gets more complicated for us today, as the word gets corrupted in some places and diluted in others, and as churches begin to preach a gospel of convenience. Believing like how Peter did gets harder because of the complications. When we seek knowledge, many open doors out there in the world beckon us. When we seek help, many people out there are waiting to prey upon us. We often wonder, to whom shall we go? But we often fail to see or acknowledge that he who is great is right before us. We go to church, but we don’t go to the Lord. We read the Bible, but we are not reading the word of God. Often we know, but we refuse to accept that the Lord is the only one, the only place, the only shelter to our issues, our questions, our thirst. We seek the easy way out like the disciples who deserted Christ, or we become unable to comprehend the works of the Lord when trials come our way. But if we would just ask “to whom shall we go?” to the Lord and not to others, our answer is clear. We can go to no-one else except the Lord. There is no reason for us the desert the Lord, because seriously, he never deserts us.