66 From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. 67 “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve. 68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.” (John 6:66-69 NIV)
Jesus was in Capernaum when He gave one of His most difficult to understand teachings. He was contrasting the bread that the Jew’s forefathers ate in the wilderness, the manna from heaven, with Himself, the Bread of God. He said,
57 Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this bread will live forever.” (John 6:57-58 NIV)
Jesus made it clear that physical bread, even the manna from heaven, cannot preserve life. He also said that whoever feasts on Him will live forever. I’m sure the people were confused. John tells us that many of His followers said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?” (John 6:60 NIV) Some were so confused that they simply turned around and left.
As Jesus watched those who had followed Him leave, He turned to the Twelve and asked them if they wanted to leave also? Simon Peter didn’t hesitate. He said, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.” That kind of faith stops me dead in my tracks. That kind of faith is so appealing to me. Simon Peter doesn’t understand what Jesus has just said any more than those who left, but he chose to stay. Not because he understood everything that Jesus said or everything that Jesus taught, but because he knew that Jesus was who He claimed to be.
I read a book called, The Prisoner in the Third Cell, that left a lasting impression on me. John the Baptist believed that Jesus was the Messiah, that He had come to do the work of God, yet he was stuck in a dark, dingy prison cell. It just didn’t make sense, but John didn’t join the crowd that turned away from Jesus, John died clinging to his profession, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.”