The Characters of Easter (Day 5)
Following Jesus took Peter across Galilee and Judea and to places he could have never imagined. Lepers healed. Lame walking. The blind receiving sight. He saw Jesus raise a servant girl from the dead. Peter was there, twice, when the Lord of Creation scooped up a little boy’s lunch and stretched it to feed thousands of hungry, desperate people, with food left over. And there was the time Jesus, awoke from a nap and saved the disciples from shipwreck by speaking, yes speaking, to the water and turning a choppy sea smooth as glass in an instant.
Perhaps nothing encapsulates what this three-year journey was like for this fisherman-turned-follower than the words he spoke in response to a haunting question. After thousands of fair-weather followers peeled away from their movement in response to some hard teaching, Jesus offered a most human question: “You don’t want to go away too, do you?” (John 6:67). Jesus, Son of God, knew His mission and journeyed toward the cross, but Jesus, Man of Sorrows, was hurt as people rejected Him. In this moment, Peter spoke up:
Simon Peter answered, “Lord, to whom will we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.” (John 6:68–69)
To whom will we go? This is why we pause every spring and gaze at a bloody cross and an empty tomb; why we drag ourselves out of bed on cold Sunday mornings, week after week; why, weary and sorrowful and not sure about anything, we come to Jesus in jumbled prayer. We have nowhere else to go, no one else to turn to. Jesus has the words of eternal life.
What Peter had was a tiny seed of faith, implanted in him by the Spirit of God. We know this because we read his bold words of affirmation of Jesus as the Christ, the anointed one spoken of by the Old Testament prophets.
Jesus’ response was that upon this rock—yes, Peter the impulsive, impatient, imperfect disciple—Christ would build His church. Peter and the other disciples would become Apostles, ushering in a new age of salvation history.