stay or go

John 6:61ff:

But Jesus, being aware that his disciples were complaining about it, said to them, “Does this offend you? Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But among you there are some who do not believe.”

For Jesus knew from the first who were the ones that did not believe, and who was the one that would betray him. And he said, “For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted by the Father.” Because of this many of his disciples turned back and no longer went about with him. So Jesus asked the twelve, “Do you also wish to go away?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.”

As long as we can answer the question “to whom can we go?” we are not in a position to leap fully into the river of faith. Those who walked away had other places in mind, other paths, other pursuits, other avenues of satisfaction. Those who stayed knew in their depths there was no other place to go, and so would follow Jesus even through death itself to arrive on the other side.

This teaching is very hard. Where will we go? Onwards or away?

Many disciples walked away. Peter did not, for he had already committed himself past the point of return. If he did not go forward he was nothing. If he did not have faith, he would no longer stand (Is. 7:9).

Jesus lets us make this choice, in this moment and in every moment. Only those who know there is no where else will find ease in the decision, if not always joy. The joy comes later if not sooner, and it is fuller than anything we can presently imagine. The trick is being willing to commit ourselves past the point of no return, letting go anything that binds, taking away the net, and burning the ships behind us.

If there is anything else we will not embrace the Everything else. Because, unlike the seeker sensitive message, the teaching of Jesus is too difficult to pursue otherwise.

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