I've read the New Testament many times and never seen this part, really. John 6 tells of the words of Jesus in the aftermath of feeding the five thousand. People start to question him and what it means to follow him and he begins to tell them this crazy stuff about being the bread and the life and how hard it will be to follow him. I mean crazy stuff that only Jesus could think up but that is true, cause it's Jesus, but it's still sort of crazy, about eating his flesh and drinking his blood and they don't understand. Don't understand this blind, naked faith that Jesus is calling them to that says even if things seem crazy and don't make sense and will cost you dear, it is the way to forever life. The only way to forever life. This is how they respond:
vs 66 "From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him."
They up and left. Got scared and left.
All except the twelve.
They still sat there and so Jesus says to them, "You do not want to leave too, do you?"
And here's the best part. The. Best. Part.
"Simon Peter answered him, 'Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Son of God.'"
Lord, to whom shall we go? Like, are you serious? Without you, we've got nothing. You are everything that is good and pure and we are nothing without you. We don't care what it costs, how much we have to suffer, what we have to give up. We are nothing without you.
I've spent lots of time in the desert. Times when it hurt to love Jesus (and lots of time when I didn't love him well), when I was terrified and anxious and stuck in this deep dark mire of my own making. I've spent lots of time thinking God didn't make sense, that he asked too much and gave too little, that I'd never figure this faith stuff out. And then at some point, if you're the most blessed person in the world (and you're all invited to be) you just totally let go and fall. And when you don't hit bottom, when it's soft and warm instead of hard and full of hurt, you realize you've just fallen off the edge of yourself and smack dab into the arms of the only savior who offers everything for nothing more than letting go. That this bread-of-life-only-way-to-forever-alive Jesus has saved you.
So, this is the challenge that the teacher this morning asked and I'm passing it on to you because it's marrow and you're starving, if you'll only admit it. I am. Starving and admitting it. Will you leave because you don't fully understand and it seems like it might cost too much to stay? Or will you stand up and join Simon Peter in saying, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Son of God." Please say you'll stand.