Sunday, December 16, 2012

where else would we go?

This morning at church, I was reminded just how big a fan I am of Peter.

Pastor Don was talking about how we have two natures, the physical and the spiritual, and how mixed up it is that we spend the majority of our time and attention focusing on the physical nature.

In Genesis we are told that God formed man from the dust of the ground (our physical side) and then breathed into him the breath of life (our spiritual side). Our physical side is temporary--we came from the dirt and one day we will all return to it.

Our spiritual side, though, is eternal. God's breathed His Spirit into each of us at birth, and that spirit is the part of us that cannot be destroyed. How mixed up are we that we spend our time, energy, and money trying to satisfy the desires of our physical nature, so often at the expense of our spiritual nature?

In John, Jesus is preaching to a huge crowd of approximately 5,000 men. That's not even starting to take into consideration all the women and kids that were there, so it's probably safe to say we can double that number. This is the story lots of people refer to as the story of the first boyscout, the little boy who gave Jesus his lunch of 5 small barley loaves and 2 small fish. Jesus went on to bless the boy's lunch and then used it to feed the entire crowd--and there were even leftovers!

We're told that the next day the people went to Capernaum in search of Jesus. When they found Him, Jesus told them basically that they were searching for Him because they had had their bellies filled.

He then went on to talk about one of those weird sticking points for some people: He told the people that they were worrying about the wrong food, and that they wouldn't be satisfied until they realized that He is the bread of life. He even went so far as to say, "I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day." (John 6:53 & 54)

Needless to say, this idea was a bit hard to swallow for some of Jesus's followers (see what I did there--"hard to swallow"? Okay, maybe I'm a bit cheesy...or just easily amused) and they started grumbling.

Verse 66 says that many of His followers turned away then.
I mean, come on--here's this guy who's telling them they need to eat His flesh and drink His blood. Wouldn't that have creeped you out a little bit?

Other people were abandoning Him, so Jesus turned to the Twelve and asked them, basically, "Don't you all want to run away, too?"

So, here's where my first statement comes into the story: I'm a big fan of Peter. In Matthew we get to see him jump out of the boat and walk on the water to Jesus...and then we see him start sinking when he takes his eyes off Jesus. He comes across as fiercely loyal, stubborn, brash, outspoken, quick-tempered...and here in John he is the one who speaks up to answer Jesus and say what everyone else was probably thinking but didn't want to say:

"Where would we go?"

Peter doesn't say he's not thinking what everybody else is thinking. He simply says, "You may be a bit out there, but You tell the truth. Where else would we go?"

Sometimes, I have no idea what God is wanting me to do. He confuses me and He doesn't give me the nice, neat, straight answers I so often want.

The thing is, though, like Peter I know that He is Truth.
Where else would I go?

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