“After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. So Jesus said to the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” John 6:66-69
Jesus has fed 5,000 in miraculous fashion. He has declared that he is the provision of God for the people and that all they need to do is believe in him. Then it got weird. Jesus told the people they had to eat his flesh and drink his blood. As this, they turned away from him.
Now Jesus didn’t mean that they literally had to eat him and drink his blood, but that he would have to be a final, one-for-all sacrifice for them and they would have to believe in him. But they don’t see that and “no longer walked with him.” All that is left is the faithful twelve.
Jesus questions them to see if they too will leave him and Peter responds with a profound truth. “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” Jesus taught many things. He gave clear instruction on how to live and accept the good news he was proclaiming and the gift of grace only he would make available. But key in all of his teaching and miraculous ministry was that he had the words of life.
What Jesus taught, what he proclaimed and what he died for was life, life for his people, new, refreshed and in him.
As we set out to encourage those around us – even the youngest in the church – we must be reminded that these words of life are what make the difference. We teach our children how to live, as Jesus did. We teach them that Jesus desires for them to believe he is real and God himself, just as Jesus did. And we give them the words of life, just as Jesus did.
The words of life are these: Jesus made himself a sacrifice to make us right with God. He took our punishment that we might enjoy relationship with God. No matter how we behave or what we think of ourselves, it is what Jesus has done for us and what he says about us that matters.
Let these words of life sink into your heart and make it these words you determine to share with those around you!