10 Dec Trust The Lord to Believe His Words – Words of Grace Blog – December 10, 2021
We are four weeks into our time together in John 6. As we come to the final message from this chapter on Sunday, the focus will be on the reaction of the people to Jesus’ words, and their response to him as a person.
The reality is that most of the people who heard Jesus say that he is the bread of life, and that people must partake of him by faith to have eternal life, reacted negatively and turned away from him.
But a small band of disciples, represented by Simon Peter, responded to Jesus in faith. When Jesus asked them if they, too, wanted to turn away from him, Simon answered, “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 6:68-69).
That response is a spot-on statement of faith. If we look closely, we can learn something helpful to our faith.
Throughout John 6 the people grumble and stumble over the words of Jesus. He says outrageous things about eating his flesh and drinking his blood to have true life. We know that he was speaking metaphorically about having faith in him and his death on the cross. But these people are hearing these words for the first time, and from someone they understood to be just another rabbi teaching in the synagogue. The words were offensive to their ears, so they turned away from Jesus.
But not Simon Peter. He stays with Jesus. He receives the words of Jesus even if they are somewhat mysterious to him at that point.
Simon Peter says that he and his fellow disciples have come to believe that Jesus is the Holy One of God. They have come to see who Jesus is. They believe him to be more than a rabbi or a miracle worker. They know him to be the One sent by God to bring salvation to the world. Based on their knowledge of who Jesus is they can receive his words, even if they are “hard sayings”, difficult to hear. In fact, knowing Jesus as the Holy One of God is what enabled them to hear the “hard sayings” as words of eternal life.
I find the response of Simon Peter to be helpful in my own faith. Often, I read in the Bible something that remains a mystery to me. There are things in the Bible that seem harsh, or counter-intuitive, or even too good to be true. When I struggle to understand and accept these strange teachings and hard sayings, I remind myself of the nature of God. I remember, like the psalmist did, that the Lord is good and he does good (Psalm 119:68). Then, I return to his word and believe that whatever it says and whatever it means is good because it is from and about a good God.
Simon Peter was able to receive the words of Jesus as true and good because he had come to see Jesus as the Holy One of God. When you and I see and believe that the Lord is good, we will receive every word that comes from him.
Think on these things this weekend. I look forward to seeing you Sunday.