Jonathan Edwards, the eighteenth-century
theologian and preacher, stated: “Resolved: To follow Christ with all
my heart. Resolved also: Whether others do or not, I will.” Here was
a man who knew Christ, loved Christ, and was willing to follow Christ
wherever he led.
Why are there so few people like that today? It
seems that people are willing to involved themselves with Christ but
unwilling to meet his complete demands. There is a difference, you
know? For example, did you hear about the Kamikaze pilot that flew
twenty-five missions? He was involved but not committed. If you ate
ham and eggs for breakfast this morning you understand that the chicken
was involved in the meal, but the pig was totally committed.
Some people will say, “Now let’s not get carried
away. There’s got to be a happy medium. Someplace in the middle. A
place where I can have a little dose of Jesus and a little pleasure
in the world.” But with Jesus there is no middle ground. When it
comes to following Christ one either is or isn’t. That’s why Jesus
asked his disciples as they were pondering whether they were in or
out, “Does this offend you?” (v. 61).
As John 6 comes to a close, having begun with a
great crowd (v. 2), a small group is gathered around Jesus. The
crowds have disbanded because of Jesus’ radical demands (v. 60) and
their unwillingness to follow his teachings (v. 66). Now, it is Jesus
and the Twelve (v. 67). Jesus asks the pivotal question: “You do not
want to leave too, do you?” (v. 67). Can you imagine the silence that
ensued? I bet you could have heard a pin bounce on the hard dirt
Peter, always speaking first, breaks the silence.
Often Peter says the wrong things. Here, he finally gets it. He says
the right words: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of
eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God”
(v. 69). Peter’s statement is marked by four important confessions:
1. A volitional confession. “Lord, to whom shall
we go?” Peter’s will had settled the issue. Jesus was his Lord. And
as Lord, Peter no longer had a choice. He had come under Jesus’ rule
and authority. He was a slave, bought and paid for. He no longer had
a say in the matter.
2. An intellectual confession. “You have the words
of eternal life.” Peter had made up his mind. This man Jesus was no
mere man. His teachings were life-inspired and life-giving. Any other
teacher would never measure up. Jesus was the Word made flesh,
dwelling among them (see John 1:14).
3. A theological confession. “We believe . . .
that you are the Holy One of God.” Deep in his soul, Peter knew that
Jesus was the long awaited Messiah, The Christ, God’s anointed. He
had studied about the Messiah coming; he had been taught that he
would come; now he was standing before him in flesh and blood.
4. A relational confession. “We . . . know that
you are the Holy One of God.” In his heart Peter knew that Jesus was
God. He knew because of the personal interaction and day-to-day
experience of walking with him and talking with him. And, nothing
could take that relationship away.
I’m sure there were many things Peter did not
understand; he was just as bewildered and puzzled as anyone else was
by the miracles and teachings of Jesus, but this man Jesus, the bread
of life, was the giver of life – present and future – and nothing
would take it away from Peter. He confessed, nailing his thesis to the
door of his heart like Martin Luther at the Wittenburg Chapel door,
then proclaiming, “Here I stand. I can do no other.”
In the final analysis Christianity is not a
philosophy that we accept or a theory to which we give allegiance. It
is a confession of the will, the mind, the soul, and the heart to
Jesus Christ. And, yes, it is offensive; but it is life giving.
Sermon brief provided
by: Rick Ezell, a pastor and writer in Naperville, IL.