“Simon Peter answered, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. And we have learned to believe and trust, and we have come to know surely that You are the Holy One of God, the Christ, the Son of the living God.’” (John 6:68-69)
This end-of-chapter passage follows several of Jesus’ miraculous events: feeding the crowd with five loaves and two fishes, walking on water to join the disciples as they crossed the sea to Capernaum, and then the boat quickly arriving at the destination they had been struggling to reach (v. 21). A large crowd followed Him throughout the region and seemed to be “miracle addicted”, looking for the next unbelievable event.
Jesus then teaches that He is the “Bread of Life” (v. 35), and that God’s will is that “everyone who sees the Son and believes in and cleaves to and trusts in and relies on Him should have eternal life…” (v. 40).
This was difficult for the audience to comprehend. Without the accompanying miracles, many of the disciples “drew back (returned to their old associations) and no longer followed Him” (v. 66). Jesus turned to the Twelve disciples and asked them if they were leaving too. Peter responds with words of complete devotion.
This reminds me of an old church song: “Hallelujah, Lord to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Hallelujah! Hallelujah!” With the availability of books, blogs, videos, podcasts and even church services in society, I can access a wide variety of “truths.” Yet Peter’s response is the right one, even for today…only Jesus has the words of eternal life. I should compare today’s inputs to what Jesus has said in the Bible to determine truth and the path to take.
While these verbs may seem synonymous, they build upon each other. Peter’s experience in responding to, watching, hearing, and learning from Jesus initiated and strengthened his faith. Peter could see Jesus in person, but I can see Him through the words of the Bible.
In my life journey, I have learned to believe, cleave to, trust, and know that Jesus is “the Holy One of God, the Christ (the Anointed One), the Son of the living God.” He has the words of eternal life. Learning from pastors, authors and speakers is often beneficial and inspirational. I will remember to compare their words to what the Bible says and apply only those things that agree or align with the Bible to my life.
Get to a place where you can focus and read the daily Scripture passage several times. From the passage of Scripture you read, highlight one or two verses that stick out. Write them down, and even consider rewriting the verse(s) in your own words.
Make some basic observations about the scripture you just read by asking these questions:
- Why was this written?
- To whom was it originally written?
- What is the author trying to communicate?
- What does the Scripture passage teach me about God and humanity?
After taking some time explaining the highlighted scriptures, begin to think about how they apply to your life. Ask yourself these questions and spend some time writing down your thoughts:
- What do these verses mean today?
- What does this verse(s) mean for my life?
- How does this verse challenge my thinking and actions?
- What changes do I need to make in my life as a result of this passage of Scripture?
Your response to the passage may take on many forms. You may write a call to action. You may describe how you will be different because of what God has said to you through the Bible verses. You may indicate what you are going to do because of what you learned. You may respond by writing out a prayer to God. For example, you may ask God to help you to be more loving, or to give you a desire to be more generous in your giving. Keep in mind that this is your response to what you have just read.