Twelfth Sunday After
In the Liturgical Churches that use the Common Lectionary this is the twelfth Sunday after Pentecost. The Gospel text is John 6:56-69.
This ends a group of texts that spoke of Jesus as the Bread of life, and of eating and drinking his body and blood.
Week by week we have seen people who wwere ready to follow Jesus put off by these statements. We have watched multitudes leave.
By the time we reach today’s text only a core of one hundred or so followers are left.
They have walked with Him for some time. They want to believe. They try to hold on.
But now Jesus tells them that not only is He the Bread of life but he has come down from Heaven.
This upsets them enough that they begin to talk among themselves about what kind of man are they following.
Jesus hearing them tells them that if this offends them how will they feel when they see Him ascending back to Heaven.
That statement seems to be the straw that breaks the camels back and one by one they leave for good.
Eventually only the twelve are left.
Jesus says to them “ Do you also wish to go away?”
This is a rough time for Jesus. He loved the people who left. He cared about each one of them. For some time He had been their teacher. But now they were gone.
It had to hurt. Jesus was , after all, fully human.
I just love Peter’s answer.
“ Lord where will we go? You have the words of eternal life.”
This was it. Their commitment was absolute. They would go with Him because they knew that he was the One.
Over the centuries Jesus has asked that question of his followers.
He asked it of St. Augustine and C.S. Lewis.
He asked it of Martin Luther and Dietrich Bonhoeffer .
He asked it of Saint Gregory and John Calvin.
He asks it of me and all modern Christians.
The world says all that stuff you believe is nonsense.
Look at what science has discovered.
Soon we will know where the solar system came from.
The world says .
Look at the poor. Look at wars. Look at babies that die.
How can you believe in a loving God?
Look at the terrible things people have done in the name of Jesus over the years.
You don’t want to be part of such a group.
Jesus says “ Will you also go away?”
I find myself standing with Peter and saying.
“Lord where can I go? You have the words of eternal life”.
The Good News is He does.