“Simon Peter replied, ‘Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words that give eternal life.’ (John 6:68 – NLT). This was Peter’s reply after many had left from following Jesus. Were they offended by Jesus’ statements about eating his flesh and drinking his blood for “life” or were they offended because Jesus had just said that only the ones the Father gives to him will come to him?
But let’s move beyond the question of the motivation for so many deserting Jesus at that moment, I want to deal with Peter’s reply to Jesus query of his immediate disciples, “Are you also going to leave?” Peter replies that they have nowhere else to go. He states that Jesus has “the words that give eternal life.” But is this the end of his reply? No! In fact, it would be entirely insufficient for Peter to only believe that the words of Jesus give eternal life. No, in fact it is Christ Himself who is life. The rest of Peter’s answer “and we believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.” This is where the key rests.
The disciples who deserted Jesus may have believed his words could give life (after all he multiplied the fishes and loves by a seeming blessing of God). The key is not that Jesus’ words alone give life, but that Jesus is THE life (John 11:25 — concerning the death and resurrection of Lazarus where Mary and Martha’s belief in his word as life needed to be redirected to Jesus as THE life; and John 14:6 where Jesus reminds his disciples that he is the way, the truth and the life and therefore no one comes to the Father except through him). This is not to downplay the words, but to emphasize the one whose words they are. The words point clearly to the Word (John 1:1). May we not only believe the words of Jesus, but let us place our faith in Jesus Himself as THE LIFE. It is the difference between believing something about someone, and actually believing in that someone. May my faith move beyond God’s words and to God’s Word — the Lord Jesus Christ…where else can we go???