“Lord to who can we go? You have the words of eternal life.” (John 6:68)
Some of us may hear an echo in Peter’s question from our liturgical tradition that includes this verse in the “Alleluia” we sing as we stand to hear the Gospel proclaimed in worship. It is an amazing witness of longing and hope as we look not to ourselves but to Jesus for good news. The external Word brings life.
In the context of John 6, Peter’s question comes after an even more pertinent question to Jesus’ teaching as the Bread of Life: “This is difficult teaching, who can accept it?” (John 6:60). Indeed.
We have been taught in our culture the importance of self-reliance and self-preservation. In our quest for knowledge and discovery of our world we have tools like the scientific method that tests hypotheses and analyzes data for understanding. Both are powerful assets today as we plan for the future and work on the challenges set before us in our emotionally charged political climate more concerned about winning and and shaming opponents than facts or the common good.
What faith teaches us – and what Jesus has been pointing to throughout the Bread of Life series – is that answers (or even our deepest questions) cannot ultimately come from within; but from without (outside ourselves). Martin Luther wrote in his Large Catechism, “to have a god is nothing else than to trust and believe in that one wotyour whole heart”* and 21st century life offers plenty of gods in which our hearts could cling to instead of the Triune God.
Which other gods vie for your attention?
Our witness (alongside Peter) calls us to confess – we don’t have all the answers, we might not be asking the right questions, but ultimately this cosmos in which we live is not about us at all. “Lord to who can we go? You have the words of eternal life.”
Jesus feed us by your Word and fill us by your Bread of Life.
“What does ‘to have a god’ mean, or what is God?
Answer: A ‘god’ is the term for that to which we are to look for all good and in which we are to find refuge in all need. Therefore to have a god is nothing else than to trust and believe in that one with all your heart. As I have often said, it is the trust and faith of the heart alone that make both God and idol. If your faith and trust are right, then your God is the true one. Conversely, where your trust is false and wrong, there you do not have the true God. For these things belong together, faith and God. Anything on which your heart relies and depends, I say, that is really your God.” (Martin Luther, “The Large Catechism ,” The Book of Concord: The Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. ed. Robert Kolb and Timothy J. Wengert. [Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2000], 386).