Peter Misselbrook's Blog
May 11 2013 - John 6:41-71 – You have the words of eternal life

People did not always find Jesus’ teaching easy: it was not always easy to understand; it was not always easy to accept. In John 6 we read that Jesus had been speaking of himself as the bread of life. He then goes on to say that he will give his flesh for the life of the world and that those who eat his flesh will live. As if that were not enough, he then goes on to speak of the necessity of drinking his blood – this to a people who were scrupulous about avoiding blood. Jesus’ words were not easy to understand. They often caused offence.

As the crowds began to drift away Jesus challenged the twelve by asking, “Do you also want to leave?” Peter immediately replies, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God” (John 6:68-69). Peter and the other disciples may also have been perplexed by many of the things that Jesus was saying and doing, but they knew that they could not leave him; he alone was the source of life.

These same words have often sustained me in times of perplexity. There are times when I find it hard to understand the things that Jesus is teaching me through his word or through the way in which he leads me. There are even times when an inner voice seems to say, “Is it all worth it? Why don’t you just turn back?” But at such times, my response echoes Peter’s words, “Where else can I turn? Jesus alone has the words of eternal life.” There is no one else like him, and even though I may not always understand what he is teaching me, I can trust him – trust him absolutely. He is the source of life and there is no one else to whom I can turn.

In the preface to his helpful book, The God I Don’t Understand, Chris Wright says;

Some of my friends raised their eyebrows when I told them I was writing a book entitled The God I Don’t Understand… This may have had something to do with the fact that they know I have written three books with titles beginning Knowing God. Was this a sudden collapse into apostasy or backsliding? I told them it was a sign of a healthy balance…

I live daily with the grateful joy of knowing and trusting God. But knowing and trusting does not necessarily add up to understanding… To know God, to love and trust him with all one’s heart and soul and strength, is not the same as to understand God in all his ways. For as God himself reminds us, “‘My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts’.”

We have come to believe and to know that Jesus is the Holy One of God. Many things that he said may still confuse us. The way he leads us may sometimes perplex us. But we love him and trust him and cannot turn away from him.

Father God, there are many things I do not understand, many things that perplex and even trouble me. But there is one thing above all that I do not understand – that you should have sent your Son into the world to redeem me and bring me to glory. I love you because you have first loved me. Lord Jesus, I trust you with my life, for you have given your life for me. By your Spirit, help me to grow in understanding of your ways and in likeness to your character.

Peter Misselbrook