To Whom Shall We Go?
I knew what she was trying to do—and it would never work. As she sat across from me in the little restaurant where we had met for dinner, she spoke of the hard circumstances in which she now found herself. Wrong choice after wrong choice had led her to where she was—and it was a mess. She went on to talk of what she called religion, and church attendance, of trying harder and “doing the right things.” Surely that would make things easier for her, or so she thought. It was obvious to me—though not to her—she didn’t really want Jesus. She wanted an easier life. She wanted a work-around from the consequences of her own choices. And my friend is not the only one.
I love the sixth chapter of the book of John. It’s a story that captivates my imagination. It begins with Jesus feeding the 5,000 with one little boy’s lunch. As a child, I heard the story told of the magnificent miracle wrought by Jesus with one boy’s small, seemingly unimportant, gift. But that’s where the lesson stopped. It wasn’t until I became an adult that I began to understand and cling to the truth in the rest of the chapter.
By verse 24 we read that a day has passed since the miraculous feeding, and the crowd is anxiously pursuing Jesus. But when they finally catch up to Him, it is surprising how Jesus responds.
“Jesus answered them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you…” (vv. 26-27)
In grace, Jesus confronted them with the true motives of their hearts. They were seeking Him, not for who He was, but what they thought He could give them. I wonder, how many of us do the same? Jesus went on to say,
(v.35) “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to Me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in Me shall never thirst.”
(v.51) “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, He will live forever. And the bread that I give for the life of the world is My flesh.”
You see, Jesus knew these people had a far greater need than food in their bellies—that wasn’t their true problem. Just as my friend’s problem wasn’t really the circumstances around her. Her problem was her heart. She needed a Savior. She could change her location, job, schedule, friends—but she couldn’t change her heart. Only Jesus could do that. She needed Jesus, not to make her life easier, but to save her soul from death. What the crowd in John 6 needed, what my friend needed—in truth what each of us needs—is to understand what the disciple Peter said in verse 68. Jesus turned to His disciples and asked if they too would leave Him as so many others had. Peter’s answer should be the cry of each of our hearts:
“Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life…”