Words of Life
Jesus had just said something amazing to people of his time. Believers must eat and drink his body and blood. His disciples were put off by the idea and were complaining that it was difficult to accept. Jesus, with his insight into human behavior and thought, called the question: “Does this offend you?… It is the Spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless” (John 6:61-63). In other words, his coming both God and human (incarnation) holds spirit and flesh together.
Then, as he often did, he named the truth. Some of you don’t believe, and none will come to me except by God’s leading, he said. Because of that, some of them let him. He turned to his disciples and asked them whether they also wished to leave him. Simon Peter then spoke the words that we often use in worship to welcome the gospel: “Lord to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life” (John 6:68).
Often we read the Bible in search of answers. At times we isolate statements in the Bible to proof-text an idea that we had before we began reading. It’s a risky business because we might fall into a trap of taking a few thoughts out of context or misinterpret what Jesus what is saying. We rely on both knowledgeable scholars and the Holy Spirit to help us understand the scriptures. It’s part of why Lutherans are committed to teaching and learning about the Bible as part of our spiritual journey. The word guides us.
Today, Peter affirms that in Jesus’ words, we receive eternal life. We find these words in the Bible, but we do not worship the Bible. We worship and follow the Jesus who is revealed in the Bible. In these words we discover that Jesus is the Word of life, even when his teachings are hard to accept.