By: Robert C. Oliver Contributing columnist
September 27, 2013
As Jesus taught in the synagogue in Capernaum, he taught some things concerning eating His flesh and drinking His blood. He told them, “He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him” (John 6:56). “Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is a hard saying; who can hear it?” (John 6:60). The Bible says that, “From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him” (John 6:66). Jesus then asked His apostles, “Will ye also go away? Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life” (John 6:67-68). There are two extremely important lessons for us in this text, the first of which we will be brief and the second will be our main subject.
The first lesson has to do with obeying the Lord, even when it is hard. The verse said, “this is a hard saying.” Jesus has said, “Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest, Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matt. 11:28-30). However, there is a burden to bear. It is not always easy to be a Christian. Temptations will come (I Cor. 10:13). Paul wrote, “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (II Tim. 3:12). One may have to give up some things that they really hold dear. One may lose some of their closest family and friends Matt. 10:35-38). It is easy to be a Christian when there is no opposition, but often opposition will come.
The lesson we wish to emphasize is found in the question that Peter asked in response to the Lord’s question concerning whether they too would leave Him. Peter asked, “to whom shall we go?” (John 6:68). The un-stated answer to Peter’s question is, no one, for no one can bring about the salvation of one’s soul but Jesus. Later, this same Peter, after having spent the night in a prison, stood before the high priest, the rulers and scribes along with others and boldly preached Jesus to them (Acts 4:1-11). He then stated, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). Jesus was born to be the savior of the world (Matt. 1:21). John the Baptist, upon seeing Jesus coming said, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). In order to take advantage of the salvation that is found in Christ Jesus, one must turn to the word of God found in the New Testament and diligently follow it. Yet, many turn to the wrong source, thus not following the Savior sent from God.
One cannot follow the doctrines of man and enjoy eternal life after this life is over. The prophet Jeremiah said, “O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps” (Jer. 10:23). And, the wise man, Solomon said, “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Proverbs 14:12). Man’s way and God’s way is simply not the same (Isa. 55:8-9).
Neither can we turn to the traditions of man to find eternal life. It matters not what our ancestors believed and practiced, but what we believe and practice. Had tradition been a legitimate means of determining right from wrong, Saul of Tarsus would never had been Paul the apostle, for he was born a Jew and had followed the law of Moses from his youth. Jesus pointed to some who were following tradition and said, “Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition” (Matt. 15:6).
Our feelings or our conscience is not a reliable source for the hope of eternal life. Solomon the wise said, “He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool” (Proverbs 28:26). After having actively persecuted the church, having Christians arrested and giving testimony for their execution, the apostle Paul said, “I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day” (Acts 23:1). What one feels is not necessarily what is right. After having been presented with false evidence, Jacob “rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his loins and mourned for his son many days,” believing with all his heart that his son Joseph was dead. But Joseph was alive in Egypt. Feelings are no guide to eternal life.
Majority rule is not the way to go to find eternal life either. God said, “Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil” (Exo. 23:2). Christianity is not a democracy! It is a monarchy. The one and only king to whom we must go, Jesus Christ, is the absolute ruler. He said, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth” (Matt. 28:18). God said of Him, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him” (Matt. 17:5). The Hebrew writer said that in these last days, God has “spoken unto us by his Son” (Heb. 1:2). Peter said, “to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life” (John 6:68). It matters not if the whole world believes something, if it is not from the “words of life” that is from Jesus, it is wrong and there is no salvation therein. To whom shall we go? Go to the gospel of Christ!
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