The Series - Jesus, Unique & Unequaled Teacher (41/TBD)
Focus Text: John 6.66-69
Note to our readers: This is the final edition of TODAY’S LITTLE LIFT prior to the coming of the New Year. I want to take this time to thank you for letting me be a part of your daily routine and for giving the me Joy of knowing that every day someone, somewhere has the opportunity to reflect on the scriptures and perhaps draw a little closer to God through these efforts.
“From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. Then Jesus said to the twelve, ‘Do you also want to go away? But Simon Peter answered Him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’” (John 6.66-69).
From a human viewpoint, the reaction of Christ to the departure of many of His disciples is remarkable! How could He be so poised and so clear-headed at such a critical time? When to most of us it would seem that our worlds were caving in, He just looked at the situation, assessed it, and continued steadfastly with His mission. This phenomenon is just one of the facets of His life and work that made Him the Unique and Unequaled Teacher that He was. Beyond this, however, the response of Simon Peter to Jesus’ question is worthy of comment.
Peter responded, “To whom shall we go?” If the words which Jesus had just spoken to the multitudes were correct (and certainly they were), there was no one to whom Peter or the others could turn for eternal life. When Jesus claimed to be the Bread of Life, He clearly set forth the case that any and all persons who approach the Father must do so through Him; there was no other way to eternal life! Either His words were right, or they were wrong! There was no middle ground; they could not be half right and somewhat wrong! Jesus was either who He claimed to be or He was an impostor of the rankest and vilest sort. Peter, along with every other disciple, had the responsibility of weighing the evidence and making their choices. Many went away, but that was not Jesus' point of emphasis; His emphasis was on the few who stayed and the condition of their hearts.
“You have the words of eternal life!” Isolate that statement and consider its implications. The Man who claimed to be the Son of Man, according to Peter, had the words of eternal life! This confession is on par with any other confession that anyone could make at any time or at any place. Peter recognized that if he was to have eternal life, he had to listen to and follow Jesus. There can be no question as to Peter’s sincerity or his desire to please God; he feel short at times, but not for lack of trying! Like all good men, Peter seemingly always meant well, but even when the results weren’t good, he was always ready to repent and turn over a new leaf. That is the heart of a true disciple of Jesus Christ.
Jesus did not and does not seek perfect disciples; He seeks disciples who want to be made perfect! There is all the difference in the world in these two classes of people. Peter was one who sought to be made perfect and realized that without the Christ he had no hope! That model of humility and persistent dependence is the model that will work in every generation. Trust Him explicitly!
1. What possible reasons could Jesus have had for asking the other disciples if they were also going away?
2. What are the implications of Peter’s confession? If Jesus was really the Son of God, what demands did that place on Peter? On us?
3. What is implied by the phrase “words of eternal life”? Why are there words of eternal life?
4. How can we become perfect? Is that possible apart from Jesus?
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