Lord, to whom shall we go? – John 6:66-69

66 After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. 67 So Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” 68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, 69 and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”

If you have walked with Jesus long enough, you are familiar with this problem.  People hear things, experience things, do things, or maybe someone does something to them.  The end result is just as in John 6:66.  

After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. 

Whatever the reason, this is a sad outcome.  At its root it is an expression of unbelief, of a lack of trust.  There is a way in which it belittles Jesus, his identity as God and his work on the cross for us.  It is saying that you, Jesus, are not big enough, nor is your cross effective enough to resolve this issue.  It is saying that my inability to understand why you work the way you do gets the final say.  There is nothing you, Jesus, can say or do to persuade me otherwise.

If we could see the big, eternal picture, we would know that this response would border on insanity.  However big our problem is, however difficult to understand, however wicked the forces that have raged against us, however cruel the attack, Jesus is bigger still and his cross provides the ultimate victory. 

Through faith in him we will eventually rise above the battle just as he rose from the grave and conquered death.  In eternity we will hear remarkable stories of incredible evil experienced by weak but trusting saints.  And the end of each and every one of them will be along the lines of, “But that is over now, and we have found everlasting joy in the presence of our Savior.  The cruelty of the battle that almost ended in utter defeat only makes the victory sweeter.  He rose, and he reigns forever and I am one of his.”

May our response to Christ when we don’t understand what he is saying or doing ever be,

“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 5 – Verse by Verse

John Pic

Jesus heals a man at the pool of Bethesda in Jerusalem – “an invalid for thirty-eight years.”  The day happens to be a Sabbath, which leads to a serious conflict over Christ’s authority.

John 05.mp3   (Jake Medlong)

Here is a link to the livestream video:

John 4 – Verse by Verse

John Pic

Jesus meets a Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well and reveals himself to her as the Messiah.  He also heals an official’s son in the second of his miraculous signs.

John 04.pdf

John 04.mp3

Here is a link to the livestream video:

And he had to pass through Samaria – John 4:4

Jesus was heading from Judea back to Galilee.  Samaria was on the way, sort of.  It might look that way with a quick glance at a map.  When I personally have been in that region, however, that is not the way we have gone.  When travelling between Judea and Galilee, we’ve always gone via the Jordan Valley, using the Jericho Road, which connects that valley with Jerusalem. 

It is not too far out of the way, and I suspect for the Jewish drivers that I have been with it is also helpful not to have to go through the middle of the Palestinian areas of the West Bank.  It seems that back in Jesus’s day they did the same thing for about the same reason.  Just replace the word “Palestinian” in the previous sentence with “Samaritan.”  We might think of it as choosing street that goes through our preferred neighborhood if one way is not that much farther than the other. 

But Jesus “had to pass through Samaria.”  The chapter tells us why as we read the story.  He needed to have a conversation with a certain woman.  Before it ends, he introduces himself to her as the Messiah (4:25-26).  Speaking to his disciples, Jesus adds the somewhat cryptic remark, “Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work” (4:34).  That is why he had to pass through Samaria.

Doing the will of God is not always the most convenient thing.  There may be other options.  But Jesus knew how important it was to do the Father’s will.  When planning our day, efficiency is not the only thing we should consider.  We should wonder who we might get to talk to or what we might accomplish if we remain open to the Holy Spirit’s leading – that is, open to the Father’s will.  It might not be obvious at first.

In Christ’s case, we can assume this is what he always did.  In our case, it might be something we need to start.  We might need to change our routine a little on a certain day.  There might be a woman waiting for us at a well who needs to hear about living water.