You do not want to leave too, do you?Jesus asked the Twelve. Simon Peter answered him,Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.John 6:67-69
Here is the mark of the true believer: He cannot quit! When Jesus said to them,
Will you go away also? it is clear that he would have let them go if they had wanted to. He does not hold anybody against his will. Responding to our Lord's words, Peter says three wonderful things:
First, he says, in effect,
Lord, we have been thinking about it. We have investigated the alternatives. You're not easy to live with. You embarrass us. You frighten us. We don't understand you at times. We see and hear you do things that simply blow our minds. You offend people who we think are important. We have looked at some alternatives, but I want to tell you this, Lord: we have never found anyone who can do what you can do.
To whom shall we go? You have two things that hold us, two things we cannot deny, and the first is your words. What you say to us has met our deepest need, has delivered us from our sins and freed us from our fears. Your words, Lord, are the most remarkable words we have ever heard. They explain us and they explain life to us. They satisfy us. Nobody speaks like you do, nobody understands life like you do. That holds us.
Secondly, Lord, we have seen your character. Notice how Peter puts it:
We have believed, and have come to know. That implies a process which has perhaps gone on over the course of months and years. Peter is saying,
We have watched you, and we have come to see that there is nothing wrong in you.
You are the Holy One of God, you are the Sinless One. You fit the prophecies; you fulfill the predictions. You have drawn us and compelled us. You are the incomparable Christ, thus there is no place to go.
I have found this to be true of real Christians. Those who steadfastly continue on always feel this way about Jesus. They know their own failures, their own weaknesses. They know that despite the many times they do not understand what is happening to them, yet they cannot leave. This is the testimony of those who walk faithfully with him and follow him. I have often said that the best definition of a Christian is
someone who cannot quit. I had a phone call once from a young man, a relatively new Christian who said to me,
I can't make it. I can't continue to be a Christian. It's too hard. I blow it all the time. I'm going to hang it up. I had heard that kind of thing before, so I said to him,
That's a good idea. Why don't you do that? I think you're right. Hang it up. There was a pause on the line, and then he said to me,
You know I can't do that. I said,
I know it. Of course you can't. You can't quit. Who can you go to? Where can you find answers and resources such as you have drawn on? This is what Peter is saying to Jesus.
Lord, there is nowhere else to go because only you have the words of eternal life. Help me to cling to your words, to search them out and understand them and obey them and believe that they alone are the words that give life.
Do you find being a Christian just too hard sometimes? Are you ready to throw in the towel and walk away from your faith?