April 28th, 2022
Peter was a pillar of the early church. Strong, bold, zealous, devoted, courageous, generous, a gifted leader, loyal, and full of warmth of heart. He was also rash, impulsive, at times disrespectful, and selfish. George H. Morrison says of Peter, “One recognizes the slumbering greatness of him, but one also feels the boundless possibilities of evil. But Jesus handles him and plays upon him as a master musician might play on his loved instrument, till the chords are wakened into such a glorious music that the centuries are ringing with it still.”
Peter’s life with Christ and his faith gives hope to all. It can be summed up in John 6:68. The scene follows the feeding of the 5,000, such a great a miracle the people practically demanded Jesus set up His kingdom right then and there. But the Lord’s time had not come yet. Instead, He taught on a suffering Messiah rather than a conquering Messiah and the discourse on the “bread of life” which was truth the people were not willing to receive. So the crowd of some 10-15,000 (including women and children) turned away from Christ. Jesus turned to Peter, James, Andrew, Phillip, and the rest of the disciples and asks, “Will you go away as well?” In our verse for today, Peter’s soaring testimony of faith cries out, “Lord, to whom would we go? You alone have the words that give eternal life.”
Hope and comfort in this life are not found in places or world kingdoms and ways, but in the One who gave us the Word of eternal life. It is easy to say one follows Christ when times are good, when there is plenty of fish and bread and merriment. However, real faith is on display when one runs to Christ when the going is tough.
When we lose a job or struggle to make ends meet. When a marriage is falling apart, or we are in despair over a prodigal child. When facing unexpected illness or death of a loved one. To whom shall you go? To whom shall we go when the Word of God challenges our hearts as we struggle with pride or self? To whom shall we go when persecution and spiritual warfare is unrelenting?
The only answer is Jesus. Only Jesus has the true words that provide hope and comfort that God designed us to receive. Peter’s profound yet simple declaration reminds us that nothing in the world has the true answers. Nothing of the world can help us in our divine process of faith. Nothing in this world provides the answers to eternity. Jesus is the Word who was with God from the beginning of it all. He is God, and all things were created through Him. In Him is life, and the Word became life and dwelt among us (John 1:1-4, 14). Jesus is the way, the truth, the life, and no one comes to the Father except through Him (John 14:6). Only Jesus is the true answer.
Peter is one who is so fabulous in his faith as well as his flaws. He would make many missteps in his walk with the Lord, including denying Jesus three times before the rooster crowed (John 18:25-27). Peter ran away in shame in that moment, but he never turned his heart away from Jesus. And the Word of eternal life was always there for Peter. The angel at the tomb said to the women, “Now go and tell his disciples, including Peter, that Jesus is going ahead of you to Galilee” (Mark 16:7). Paul tells us it was Peter whom Jesus first appeared to after the resurrection. And in John 21, our Lord’s words restored Peter and his ministry as a fisher of souls.
Jesus was Peter’s Savior, his mentor, and his friend. Peter’s faith forged and tempered by the eternal words of love and grace he would faithfully share to his end. Church tradition tells us Peter was forced to watch his wife be crucified but shouting, Church tradition tells us Peter was forced to watch his wife be crucified. Historians say he shouted as she died, encouraging her to remember the Lord. When it came time for his death, church tradition says Peter asked his persecutors to crucify him upside down, as he didn’t feel worthy to die as did his Lord.
To whom shall you go friend? Peter represents the hope and comfort we all can have in Jesus Christ, no matter our circumstance. Run to the loving arms of Jesus who alone has words of eternal life and you shall have victory! He and He alone is the Shepard and Overseer of our souls (1 Peter 2:25).
By Pastor David Massie, Bible League International Staff, California, U.S.
Inspirational Image of the Day