Jesus is teaching about who He is in the synagogue. He makes the statement that “He is the bread of life. Whoever comes to Me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in Me will never be thirsty.” (vs. 35) He later says, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws them, and I will raise them up on the last day.” (vs.43) Then Jesus says, I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” (vs.51) Then he challenges them with this truth, “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you.” (vs.53)
This was hard for many of his disciples to understand. I think they were thinking of eating his flesh and drinking his blood in the literal sense instead of the spiritual. Then Jesus went on to say, “The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you– they are full of the Spirit and life.” (vs.63) After this it tells us that many of his disciples didn’t follow him any longer. This was too radical for them. Jesus turns to his twelve disciples and asks if they want to leave also. We then get to our verse, “Simon Peter answered Him, Lord to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life! We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.” (vs.68)
There were many people who followed Jesus besides the core twelve. Can you imagine what is was like for Jesus to see so many of his disciples turn away from him? They had seen him perform miracles, heard his teachings in the synagogue, walked and talked with him. Yet they turned from him.
I love Peter’s response, “Lord to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” Peter got it. These men who had given up everything to follow Jesus, knew there was no other place to go to find eternal life!
The words eternal life are found 42 times in the New Testament. One of the most familiar verses in the Bible talks about eternal life and is found in John 3:16. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have ETERNAL LIFE.” Over and over, scripture portrays Jesus as the source of eternal life and that eternal life is a gift freely given to those who desire it.
Have you come to Jesus, the giver of eternal life? Have you received the free gift he offers you and I? Have you heard him calling you to come to him? I pray today you would make the decision to follow him for the rest of your life and the life to come. He worthy of our trust, our time, and our full dedication.