"Simon Peter answered Him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life."
Following Jesus has never been easy. Obedience demands denying self and living for God's glory invites the rejection of the world. While salvation is a free gift, following after the Lord means taking up your cross on a daily basis.
Many who temporarily appear to be Christians are nothing more than unconverted people seeking the perks. Everyone desires peace, but most will not call on the name of the Lord. All people want joy, but most will never submit to the Lordship of Christ. So, many will play the part of a believer for a season, then when they discover that a life of obedience is an exercise in daily seeking first His Kingdom, they will depart (1 John 2:19).
It is hard to watch when it happens in our day and it was just as upsetting when it happened two thousand years ago. In Jesus's day, many were grumbling and running away from Him. The crowds that loved to witness a miracle did not stick around when the message turned to repentance.
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.”
"To whom shall we go?" Peter's reply reveals the truth that no matter how difficult the life of following Jesus may be, He is the only One who can save. There is no other way to find forgiveness except through Christ. No matter the cost, regardless of what others may say about you, true believers persevere and stay connected to the Lord.
To whom will YOU go?
- You could live instead for wealth, but the treasures of this world are fleeting and besides when you die you cannot take it with you.
-You could live for fame and popularity, but the applause of this world will never satisfy and the same crowd that cheers you on today, will soon enough find someone else they prefer.
-You could live for yourself, but your heart will never find true rest and peace because deep down you know that you need something greater than yourself to give your life ultimate meaning.
Peter had it right. There is nowhere else to go. Walking with Jesus may not always be easy, but it is always best. Obedience may not always bring measurable success, but it does bring eternal rewards. So others may fall away, but you must continue to trust. Keep hoping in the goodness of the Lord and keep trusting in the One who has the words of eternal life.
And if all others around you grumble and walk away? Well, remember these words:
"If you have the smile of God, what does it matter if you have the frown of men?"
The old hymn says, "Though none go with me, still I will follow. No turning back, no turning back." May theme of that song be the testimony of our lives!
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