"Master, to whom shall we go?"

In the Gospel reading for the Third Saturday of Easter, the Lord asks his disciples a painful question: "Do you also want to leave?" The answer, I think, is telling...both for disciples and for us:

"Jesus then said to the Twelve, 'Do you also want to leave?' Simon Peter answered him, 'Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.'"
(John 6:67-69)

In context, this passage comes at the end of Jesus' Bread of Life discourse in chapter six of John's Gospel. When the crowds are scandalized by his teaching that "unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you" (John 6:53), Jesus doesn't attempt to minimize his statements or back-pedal. He doubles down on the reality of what he is saying.

And most of them leave.

The Lord is now turning to his closest friends and asking them if they are also ready to go. I can almost hear the sorrow in the Lord's voice. These are hard sayings. It would be so much easier if he could tell them it was all some parable or metaphor.

But it isn't. And he can't force them to stay.

Peter's response demonstrates how difficult this moment was for him and the other apostles. "Master, to whom shall we go?" He has clearly already considered the difficulty of his situation. Part of him wants to get up and leave. Yet another part couldn't bear to leave the one that he loves and trusts so deeply.

Thankfully, for Peter, the better part wins out.

This dilemma that Peter faces is something that is all too real in the spiritual life. You may have encountered it already. If not, you will eventually. At some point, you will be faced with the choice of trusting Jesus and embracing things that you don't understand or even like, or walking away.

The choice is simple, but it isn't easy.

Just like lifting a 500 pound barbell. Its simple...just grab and lift. Anyone can understand. But it sure isn't easy (go ahead, give it a try!) There are moments in our walk with God that can feel just like that barbell.

In those moments, our choice is clear. We know God's will in a particular situation, but we don't like it, don't want it and don't even understand it. Like Peter, we are stuck between the proverbial rock and hard place.

The answer is trust. We are called to trust Jesus. Not just his ideas, his teachings or facts about him, but Jesus himself and his love for us. We are asked to trust him as a child trust his mother or as a husband trusts his wife.

Our faith is not in theological propositions, but in the Lord himself.

At some point, you are going to find that faith tested even to its breaking point. When you reach that point, hang on. Hang on to Jesus with all your strength: "You have the words of eternal life"

It won't be easy. But then, very few truly valuable things ever are. What you find on the other side will be more than worth it.

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