Where Else Can We Turn?
When many of his disciples heard it, they said, "This teaching is difficult; who can accept it?"
But Jesus, being aware that his disciples were complaining about it, said to them, "Does this offend you? Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But among you there are some who do not believe." For Jesus knew from the first who were the ones that did not believe, and who was the one that would betray him.
And he said, "For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted by the Father." Jesus answered them, ‘Did I not choose you, the twelve? Yet one of you is a devil.’ He was speaking of Judas son of Simon Iscariot, for he, though one of the twelve, was going to betray him. Because of this many of his disciples turned back and no longer went about with him.
So Jesus asked the twelve, ‘Do you also wish to go away?’
Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.’
Where Else Can We Turn?
“This teaching is difficult; who can accept it?” So-called disciples of Christ spoke these words just before they turned away and chose not to follow Jesus anymore.
How many times in our lives are we faced with a similar dilemma – choose to live as Jesus has called us to live, or to essentially turn our backs on Him by choosing to follow our own sinful desires? How often have we “taken the easy road,” tolerating sin under the pretense of maintaining harmony, or by not taking an unpopular stance in defense of our convictions and beliefs? How often have we said, “This is too hard; who can live by that set of rules?”
When we rely on our own strength or our own wisdom, inevitably, we fail. We find that we can’t measure up, or that we continually stumble. However, Peter had the solution, saying, “Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life” (John 6:68). It is when we finally come to this realization – that we are weak, and the only place to turn is to God – that we can become truly alive, a force that can reach out to a lost and dying world. The Holy Spirit – that sweet gift of God – gives us life and strength, allowing us to be used of God to help bring about His will and His kingdom.
The world needs us to be true disciples of Christ; not those who would turn away when serving God seems difficult, but those who will persevere, striving to be faithful no matter the situation. A crown of life awaits those who fulfill that calling and remain “On the Journey with Jesus” until the end.
Dear God, I am humbled by your love and grace. I know that I don’t deserve it, yet you give it freely each day. During this Lenten season and beyond, help me to embrace the life that is required by my promise to serve you. Send your Holy Spirit with the words of eternal life, to speak strength and wisdom to my weak and weary flesh. Help me to turn to you each day, that I might stand against temptation and fully dedicate my life to you. Use me, however you see fit, to do your good and perfect will. Amen.
Kyle Bailey is the Lay Leader at Oblong Evangelical UMC. Kyle has been a Lay Speaker in The United Methodist Church for more than 15 years.