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John 6:67-69

"Then Jesus turned to the Twelve and asked, 'Are you also going to leave?' Simon Peter replied, 'Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words that give eternal life. We believe, and we know you are the Holy One of God.'"

Person pulling a suitcase out of a tunnel onto a green path.

In the last part of John chapter 6, Jesus irritated the crowd. They wanted him to perform a miraculous sign, but more specifically they wanted him to provide them with another free lunch. Jesus wouldn't do that and he challenged them with some hard words. In verse 66 we read, "At this point many of his disciples turned away and deserted him." Seeing them leave, Jesus asked if his disciples would abandon him as well.

Peter, always ready with a response, answered Jesus in verse 68. He said, "Lord, to whom would we go?" This is a great question, and one which I think every Christian should ask themself. If you decided that Jesus was just a moral teacher and that the Bible's stories about God and history were more myth than truth, would you follow another religion? Or would you shun religion altogether? What is your alternative to Christianity? If there isn't one for you, what does that mean?

Asking yourself where you would go if you didn't follow Jesus Christ is an important question. Thinking about this helps to reveal the reasons why you are a follower of Jesus in the first place. Do you know why you are a believer? Did you become a Christian because you grew up in a Christian household and were socialized into accepting it? Are you a Christian because you like the underlying ethics it teaches? What does Christianity provide you, and are there any competitors that can do something similar?

When I'm honest with myself, I realize that if I wasn't a follower of Jesus, I would be a follower of Richard. In other words, rather than trying to live in a way that pleases God, I would live entirely to please myself. The only thing that holds me back from living a completely selfish life is the recognition that Peter is right. Jesus is the Holy One of God and because of that I owe him my complete devotion. In the end, I can either follow Jesus, or I can wander on my own.

(New Living Translation; photo credit: Mantas Hesthaven via Unsplash)

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