To Whom Shall We Go?

Yeshua’s claims challenged His disciples. Many turned away from following Him. Two thousand years later, His words are no less difficult, and they still demand a decision.

Each disciple must ask of himself as he comes face to face with the Master and His super-rational claims, which way to go. (Image © Bigstock)

The previous day, Yeshua spoke to a crowd of more than five thousand. Earlier that morning, His followers filled the crowded synagogue in Capernaum to capacity. By the end of the day, however, almost all of them were gone. What happened?

When Yeshua claimed to have descended from heaven, many of his disciples turned away from following after Him. They said, “This is a difficult statement. Who can listen to it?’” (John 6:60). The crowded synagogue in Capernaum cleared out quickly. The spiritual mumbo-jumbo about Him being the bread from heaven, about ingesting His flesh and blood, and about His descent from above was too much for the pragmatic Galileans. “As a result of this many of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore” (John 6:66).

By the end of His discourse that day, only the twelve and a few other diehards remained. The Master said to the twelve, “You do not want to go away also, do you?”

Simon Peter spoke up. As in the story of his confession at Caesarea-Philippi, Simon Peter spoke on behalf of the twelve and answered, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” Peter confessed, “We have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God” (John 6:68-69).

Simon Peter posed a question that each disciple must ask of himself as he comes face to face with the Master and His super-rational claims. When all else is set aside, the disciple must take Him at His word or turn away and leave the synagogue with the others who abandoned Him. If we should choose this latter option though, we must each answer the question, “To whom then shall we go?”

The fidelity of the twelve and their confession of confidence affirmed the Master’s selection of His disciples. He chose the right men. Nevertheless, He knew that one of them would one day betray Him. He said, “Yet one of you is a devil.” This is a Hebrew idiom: “One of you is a satan.” The Hebrew satan (שטן) means “adversary.” The Master did not mean that one of His disciples was a literal devil (although perhaps under the literal devil’s sway). Rather, Judas Iscariot already hardened His heart in opposition to the Master.

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